POLITICS

Mathews Phosa Criticises The 'Mess' In South Africa

This is not what he and other cadres fought for, said the struggle activist and presidential hopeful

12/05/2017 07:25 SAST | Updated 12/05/2017 07:25 SAST
Tsheko Kabasia / Sunday World / Gallo Images via Getty Images
Mathews Phosa (L) and Reverend Johannes Seoka visiting the home of the late Nelson Mandela on December 7, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Presidential hopeful and struggle activist Mathews Phosa last night criticised the "mess" in the country at the moment, saying the political atmosphere now is not what he and other cadres fought for decades ago.

Phosa was the keynote speaker at Thursday's opening of the photo exhibition "Promises and Lies: The ANC, Exile and the Project of Freedom", at the University of Johannesburg.

"To be free is not merely to cast off ones' chains, but to lead in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

In his speech, he recalled personal encounters while fighting for the abolition of apartheid in the 1990s and made it clear that his calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down still stand.

Here are some of the highlights of Phosa's speech:

"You will appreciate my concern and outrage at the current mess that we find ourselves in. It is for this reason you will have to see my determination to speak and to speak out frankly. I cannot and will not allow my hard commitment and sacrifice, and the lives and commitments of all the comrades' sacrifice, being put to waste."

"We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced. Someone said you will be shot, you will be killed for saying the president must step down. I said let me be shot but the idea is never going to die."

"The current divisiveness is not what we fought for, I repeat, the current divisiveness is not what we fought for. I continue to believe that South Africans will do the right thing. We are not stupid. We are not even junk. We know what to do and what choices to make when the crunch comes."

"The truth is that we are not yet free. We have merely achieved the freedom to be free and the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the furthest step of our journey. To be free is not merely to cast off ones' chains, but to lead in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning."

"It is not our diversity that divides us. It is not our ethnicity or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can be only one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not. There is dignity in difference."