Dr Mamphela Ramphela honours heroes past and present

Biko: “He dreamed dangerous dreams and did something about them. His leadership inspires us as we fight to restore the promise of freedom for every South African”.

AgangSA Leader calls for zero tolerance to corruption in the Eastern Cape as new report confirms shocking stories of healthcare failures.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Leader of AgangSA, on Thursday 12 September visited Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to meet community members suffering from the impacts of corruption in the healthcare system and to address a townhall meeting on Heroes Day.

On the 36th Anniversary of the murder of Steve Bantu Biko in police custody, Dr Ramphele returned to Biko’s home province deliver a speech in honour of the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and other leaders past and present.

A crowd of over a thousand supporters and representatives came from all over the Mthatha region to hear Dr Ramphele speak, giving the AgangSA leader a rousing reception.

Dr Ramphele said: “Today we honour the sacrifices of the heroes of our struggle, especially those who died fighting to free us from the chains of oppression, for us to live a life of freedom.

“We honour the visionary leadership of Steve Bantu Biko, who died in prison on this day in 1977. Nearly 20 years after our freedom millions of our fellow citizens still face each day hungry, without dignified homes and quality education and healthcare. It is to his leadership we can turn for inspiration as we continue the fight to restore the promises of our freedom: human dignity, equality and freedom.

“He dreamed dangerous dreams and did something about them. He took selfless actions to free Black South Africans which made him an enemy of the state and for which he paid the ultimate price.

“He dreamed of an alternative society, a society in which all people were equal, one in which millions of Black people were not treated as inferior or sub-human. Milllions are still waiting for their right to a life of dignity, equality and freedom. What, indeed, is the meaning of freedom if you can’t get lifesaving HIV medication because of someone else’s negligence and incompetence? That is why we must all uphold his legacy”.

Earlier in the day Dr Ramphele visited Joe Slovo Township one of the poorest communities in the Eastern Cape. Community members are still living in mud buildings without access to running water and healthcare facilities.

Dr Ramphele commented: “I am appalled at the lack of healthcare provision the people of Joe Slovo Township. On the day after the Truth Action Campaign published a damning report into the failures of the Eastern Cape healthcare system, I saw for myself the real impact of the corruption of healthcare officials in the Eastern Cape.

“8000 officials have been doing business with government, stealing same medicines and nurses and clinics from the people of Mthatha. They are stealing lives. Enough is Enough.

“That is why AgangSA is waging a war on corruption. AgangSA will be a clean government, with transparent and accountable leaders. That is why I published my finances for South Africans to scrutinize. That is why I have called on the President to do the same. How can he afford to pay the bond for a R270 million Nkalndla palace on a government salary?
“What is there to hide? People cannot trust their leaders if they refuse to show they have not stolen public money”.

Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action says there is a chronic shortage of doctors and nurses, inadequate medicines, poor equipment and shortages of pharmacists.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says they have formed the coalition to ensure that government takes care of the crumbling health system in the province, which puts HIV and TB patients at risk. The TAC blames the crisis on lack of leadership in the provincial government.

Agang SAWhat would Steve Biko think of this betrayal of the ideals that he and many other heroes of the struggle died for? Why, indeed, do our people still have to suffer and live like forgotten people, almost 20 years since liberation?

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