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I heard someone lament recently that we have become a people without a cause. Since the dismantling of Apartheid we are no longer galvanized by a common purpose, a common direction, a concerted effort.

The expectation was that post-Apartheid was simply going to deliver.

This rather bleak view set me thinking about the post-Apartheid vision. After twenty years of democracy, why should it be necessary for our State President to invoke the name of Mandela to get the citizenry to band together and clean our country?

And yes, ours has become a really dirty country. But then surely no one should have to tell us the value of a clean city or street. Have we really lost our way so badly that a simple thing like cleanliness is expected to be someone else's problem. And if we have to put together a cleanliness campaign, when will we find time to concentrate on the really big issues?

Yes, this is the time to reclaim the promise of democracy and it includes fighting for the greater cause of education.

Quality education, quality provisioning, and equity - not in its simplistic form, but including the often forgotten special needs education child. This is our fight today. Democracy doesn't deliver this but facilitates its delivery. We as NAPTOSA must be in the driver seat of all things that affect us and shoulder the responsibilities that come with this.

We must also take a much closer look at the increasing trend in privatisation of education which is taking on cannibalistic proportions in our country. Why is this such fertile ground for these opportunists?
The future of our country does not lie in the promotion of private education, or even greater attention to our former Model C system, it lies in our non-fee schools becoming schools of excellence.

Let us embrace the challenge to create the country we all want. Let us reclaim the promise.

Basil Manuel
NAPTOSA President