Hold leaders accountable

THE right of a people to hold government accountable for its actions is the well acknowledged foundation of any democracy and so it will be with great interest that we await the outcome of tomorrow's elections. It will indeed afford us all the opportunity to appreciate just how far our democracy has matured, or indeed not, and how capable are we really of saying no to corruption, greed and self-enrichment?

I think we can accept school children, even those at primary school level, if asked to vote for a class captain would be unlikely to choose someone who was a bully on the playground, cheated at spelling tests and stole classmates' sandwiches. And what members of a board would vote for a chairperson who did not at all times have the interests of the board and its wider concerns at heart, but chose rather to do as he/she wished with the allotted board funds?

Under the leadership of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki we were all proud to be South Africans. I certainly was.

While we still had a long way to go to realising the dream of a truly unified nation, we could sense that the symbolic "pot of gold" at the heart of this beautiful rainbow nation was truly an achievable goal following the long, hard struggle for equitable opportunities and leadership.

This goal can however never be achieved unless the leadership of this country is held accountable at all times to the "demos" – the people of South Africa – for that is what democracy is all about.

Failing this any idea of a unified nation will, like a rainbow, remain a mere illusion.

Bev de Lange, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth