The South Africa I see today looks nothing like the vision of the South Africa I saw in 1994. It looks nothing like the dream we all shared. Not even close.
And I know I am not the only one to see this. Every single day in our cities and our towns across all our provinces, people voice their anger at being sold empty promises.
Crime is rising everywhere, and particularly the violent crimes like murder, rape and robbery.
People feel scared and alone. They feel like their government has abandoned them – left them at the mercy of gangs and drug dealers. They are angry about this.
Jobs are scarce, and the few jobs that are available are given to those with connections, those who pay bribes, even those who are forced to sleep with someone out of desperation. People are angry about this.
Corruption has become the new normal in government. It is an oppressive evil for which no one is ever punished. Even when all the facts come out, they still keep their jobs.
In fact, they not only keep their jobs, they get promotions. Ace Magashule is now the ANC Secretary-General. David Mabuza is now the Deputy President. People are angry about this.
All the progress that was made in bringing services to communities is slowly being reversed. These days, taps run dry and sewage flows down the streets. Municipalities can’t keep the lights on or the streets clean. And people are angry about this.
All of this anger has started boiling over in towns and cities across South Africa. Our country is on a knife’s edge all the time.
Every protest action throughout this country is a reminder of just how far we missed the target we set for ourselves in 1994.
But here’s the thing: We didn’t just happen to lose our way by accident. This wasn’t simply our bad luck.
We lost our way the moment this government realised it could become rich off the money of the people.
When it became clear just how easy it was to take the money meant for the people and put it in the pockets of politicians and their friends, that’s when we left the path.
And since then we have been drifting further and further away from the bright future we once imagined.
Instead of one nation pursuing one common goal, we were two separate South Africas living in one country.
One of these South Africas was the people with jobs; those with opportunities and connections. The economic insiders.
The other South Africa was made up of all those stuck on the outside – people without access to jobs and without the right connections.
It is this second group that is becoming bigger and bigger every year. This growing unemployment, poverty and hopelessness is the single biggest threat we face as a nation.
If we don’t find a way to bridge the gap between these two South Africas and become one nation again, then our dream of a safe and prosperous country will fade away completely.