Prof Habib gives open lecture at UFS


Thandi Xaba

The University of the Free State (UFS) in association with Wits University Press and The Southern African Trust hosted an open lecture by one of South Africa’s leading political commentators, Professor Adam Habib, over his new book.
The book is titled South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects and during the talk Prof Habib emphasised things are way better in the country presently than over the past 29 years. "In the debate we often forget that in 2014 South Africa is in a far better state than it was in 1985 or 1994. In 1985,
100 000 people were in jail and that does not exist anymore. The president might not like what Zapiro does in his cartoons, but he (Zapiro) isn’t in jail," he said.
Though he was quick to say the biggest challenge the country is facing is inequality. "I do think we have significant challenges and the single biggest challenge is inequality. Some think it’s the difference between rich and poor or something you have to live with, yet the danger with that is that inequality affects society, creating all sorts of social pathology like violent crime, women and child abuse and the kind of violent service delivery protests that have become common in the Free State," he added.
The theme for the riveting book launch, Did the ANC betray the ideals of the Struggle? Is there an alternative for South Africa’s future? had a lot of the gathered students and general public engaging profoundly over some of the dire issues our country is facing.
"We have lots of rich CEOs in the country. We can’t get growth going in the economy unless we moderate wage difference. We can’t ask poor people to make sacrifices when rich people don’t. You can’t be president and ask people to be patient, yet you spend R248million on Nkandla," stressed Habib.
The open lecture gave Prof Habib, newly appointed chairperson of the board for Higher Education in South Africa, the opportunity to share his in-focus opinions about the way forward for the country, which is marred by tremendous challenges like poverty, poor education and inequality.