UP to host ‘South Africa at 30’, latest in LeadUP Conversations series

Posted on July 05, 2024

The University of Pretoria (UP) is inviting interested members of the public to join the latest in its LeadUP Alumni Thought Leadership Conversations series of debates. The next Conversation is set to take place online on Wednesday 17 July 2024, and promises a robust dialogue centred around the topic ‘South Africa at 30: What we’ve learned, and what must happen next’.

Journalist Sebenzile Nkambule, host of The Weekend View on SAfm, will be joined by David Kabwa, PhD student and former UP SRC President; Prof Themba Maseko, Board Member, Nelson Mandela Foundation; Dr Sithembile Mbete, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Political Sciences, UP; Dr Siona O’Connell, African Studies scholar, School of the Arts, UP; and LJ Van Zyl, UP lecturer and former Olympic athlete. 

Since 2020 the LeadUP Alumni Thought Leadership Conversation series has gathered some of South Africa and Africa’s top thought leaders – including University of Pretoria alumni, staff, and friends of UP – to debate pressing issues facing South Africa, Africa and the world. 

One of the topics that’s sure to come up during the live online discussion on 17 July is the recent formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU), with a Cabinet announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa that comprises members of 11 political parties. 

“The GNU should chart a path forward for better outcomes for all South Africans, and specifically for those who feel as though they are yet to fully experience the promise of democracy,” LeadUP Conversations moderator Nkambule says. “The GNU must understand the challenges faced by many South Africans and work diligently and with speed to address them.”

Kabwa, a former UP SRC President who is now a member of Rise Mzansi’s National Leadership Collective, says coalitions are the future of South African politics.

“Among the advantages are that it allows for a greater level of scrutiny in the decision-making processes of the country, as the decision will not solely be made by one party unilaterally,” he says. “Moreover, South African citizens now have the ability to lobby their public representatives to greater effect, as opposed to having to focus their attention on a singular party that has no motivation to follow through with the requests of ordinary citizens. Among the disadvantages are the potential for protracted discussions around decisions, due to the volume of political parties represented in government. This may delay the action of actual governance.”

Nkambule says the first 30 years of democracy have shown that repairing a country that is divided, unequal and unhealed is hard work. “Morally degenerate people at the helm make the work even harder. South Africa is a great country that carries the hope of the region and continent; it cannot afford to fail.”

Hear more from our expert panel of UP alumni and friends of UP on Wednesday, 17 July 2024 from 18:00 to 19:30. Register at http://bit.ly/LeadUPSA30 or watch live on UP’s LinkedIn page on the day.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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