Unabridged speech delivered at the Conference for the Future of South Africa
Makhosi B. Khoza
18 / 07 / 2017
(Please note the speech delivered at the conference was shortened. See the video below for the shorter speech)
The 18 July marks the birth of a man who deeds defined him as the father of South Africa's and the Global moral conscience, Dr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, one of my African National Congress (ANC) former Presidents.
As a woman, I celebrate Noqaphi Nosekeni, whose womb cushioned this best soul, Africa ever offered to the world.
The small village, Mvezo in Qunu (Transkei) in the Eastern Cape cannot be left out in the equation for it played a critical role in moulding the moral compass of this son of the soil.
He was truthful, virtuous, exemplary, honest and most importantly he stood with the people and not against them. Though Rolihlahla means pulling the branch of a tree, I developed my own extended interpretation of its meaning and that is 'pulling out a branch of the tree that does not produce good fruit but the one with rot and cancerous worms. The reason for isolating this branch is simple, 'it would spoil the entire tree and ultimately cause decay to its roots. The end is obvious, extinction.
Some may be wondering what is a Member of Parliament (MP) and member of the ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) doing in this gathering to map South Africa's future? How could she associate herself with such a gathering when by virtue of being a Member of the ruling party, she has been part of defeating seven (7) motions of the vote of no confidence on President Zuma tabled by the opposition Parties in Parliament?
I've been associated with the ANC since I was twelve (12) years old. I was taught to respect leadership directives. I was also socialised to view anything that comes from one's opponents with suspicion. I was also taught to be compassionate and respect the will of the people.
During the liberation struggle the only system that made sense to us as the oppressed, exploited, disenfranchised and marginalized social and economic group was communism. This was because colonialism and capitalism assumed a racial character. It is therefore not surprising that we embraced and adopted the concept of democratic centralism, which is essentially Leninist organizational system in which decisions taken by a democratically elected structure are binding to all members. I'm a disciplined and loyal member of the ANC who takes its constitution to heart as my political moral signature. However, I have reached a point where circumstances dictate that I question the relevance of the principle of democratic centralism.
This is the dilemma, internal dialogue, debate and conversation I have with myself:
What if such leadership directives are morally and ethically bankrupt?
What if such directives are directionless?
What if such directives reflect arrogance, dishonesty, denialism and injudiciousness of that very democratically elected leadership collective?
What if such directives betray the organizational mission of people's parliament from which the ANC was founded?
What if that very directive of the leadership collective is at war with my political organizational moral conscience, the ANC Constitution as amended in 2012 states?
My ANC Constitution reads: "...The African national Congress has emerged to lead the struggle of all democratic and patriotic forces to destroy apartheid state and replace it with a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa in which the people as a whole shall govern...The African National Congress has come to be recognized as the central organizer and inspirer of a vast popular upsurge against apartheid, involving a great array of social, cultural, religious, trade union, professional and political organisations" (Preamble, ANC Constitution as amended in 2012)
Fellow South Africans the reaction I witnessed from my leadership collective on the 7th April 2017 is consistent with these provisions of the African National Congress Constitution.
The 7th April 2017 is a historic day in the history of democracy in this country. It is a day when South Africans civil and civic formations, religious groups, trade unions, professionals, workers, the unemployed, different language groups with different skin pigmentations and texture of hair and styles, men and women, young and old people took to the South African streets in most major towns and cities united behind one purpose, "Zuma must go!".
I began to question the concept of democratic centralism. I found leadership pronouncements that chose to see white monopoly agents instead of genuine concerns of the people as inconsistent with the very ANC Constitution that has always moulded my political moral consciousness. It is still in effect to this day as it was last amended in 2012.
When joining the African National Congress (ANC) in terms of Rule 4:17, I committed myself to the following: "I am joining the African National Congress voluntarily and without motives of material advantage or personal gain." I am still upholding this commitment? Can this be the same with my leadership collective specifically my President?
Consistent with this ANC Constitution, I also committed to place my energies and skills at the disposal of the organization and carry out tasks given to me , that I will work towards making the ANC an even effective instrument of liberation in the hands of the people.'
When my ANC leadership collective says, "ignore the citizens" call. Ignore the South African Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Ignore the citizens' call for the removal of an amoral President." What do I do as a Member of Parliament who is a product of a Proportional Representation System, but who took oath individually to respect and uphold the RSA Constitution 1996?
When my leadership collective, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) portrays the very citizens I ought to be representing as counter revolutionaries alternatively racists reactionaries, what must I do? What happens to my oath of office and allegiance to the South African Constitution, 1996.
I also pledged my loyalty to the people as a public representative. These are contradictions of these extra-ordinary times when one has to decide to follow the people or leadership collective directive by protecting a man who has defaced and scarred the ANC image, none of its founders and departed leaders would recognise. The leadership collective tells us to pretend about a man we know too well that actions have done more harm to the reputation of my ANC than good. Worse, he has brought not only the ANC into disrepute but entire country. What kind of country would tolerate such a leader who only respects his laughter and giggle but appears to have no comprehension of the excruciating pain he is causing to those he is meant to lead and protect?
This simple internal dialogue with myself explains why I am here today.
I am here because South Africans are speaking. As a servant of the people, I have to listen attentively so that my ANC could be an effective instrument of liberation.
Can the ANC be an effective instrument of non-racialism when it tolerates and cushions a President who has at every opportunity blamed others and never himself for his own immoral and unethical conduct. I am talking about a man who has lost legitimacy, credibility, integrity and honourableness?
I am here to defend the ANC mission and not a dishonourable and disgraceful leader. I am here to fulfill my duty as a Public Representative. I am here to be with the people as they map the future of South Africa. I am here because I love the ANC but I worship my country and the African continent. The intensity of my love for the ANC should be viewed within the wholeness of my love of the country. My country and continent come first. I joined the ANC as a vehicle to make my country and continent better and not vice versa. The only reason why I joined the ANC was to make my country a better place to live, work, play, grow and prosper.
I am here to rescue the little that is left if any in my organisation's moral conscience. I am here in defiance against arrogant leadership that takes the voices of the people for granted.
I am here because I am a servant of the people and not the operative of the Guptas and anyone who are ruled by their selfish interests.
I am here because Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph, Harry Gwala, Chief Albert Luthuli, Maya Angelo, Martin Luther King, John Langalibalele Dube, Jabu Ndlovu a NUMSA trade unionist murdered together with her family in pursuit for a prosperous life for all South Africans and Mkabayi KaJama and Ingcugce want me to side with the people.
I am here because Imhotep (pharaoh of Egpyt) and chief adviser to King Zoster, an astronomer rchitect, a physicist, philosopher, and poet. I am here because the Nubian Queen of the first civilization of Africa, Kushe speak to me in dreams on a daily basis. I am here because of Sekhukhune, Shaka KaSenzangakhona, King Moshoeshoe, Bhambatha kaMancinza, Ibn Kaldun and all great Kings of the African continent.
I am here because the voices of ANC stalwards matter in my conscience and is all I have right now representing the memory of my ANC institution.
I am here because the ANC 103 year history and mission remains unfulfilled. We have only set up the systems to make it work.
I am here to defend my people from a leader who portrays us as a people who share collective stupidity. I am here because the Mapungubwe, Ruins of Zimbabwe, Kushe and Egypt pyramids require extra care and upgrade.
I am here because as an African feminist grounded in UBUNTU Philosophy I find a patriarchal system oppressive. I'm also here because I find being led by a man who harvests women extremely intolerable.
I'm here because democratic centralism is now robbing me my voice and divorces me from my own moral conscience. I'm here because my leadership collective want to silence me so that my people could think we all do not care. I care for I can never betray my ancestors. I am their loyal messenger.
I'm here because I have for too long feared being viewed as ill-discipline and subjected myself to my leadership collective decisions and directives rendering me a docile object who possess no reasoning prowess. Submitting to their authority made me feel equally responsible for crafting a twisted reality and perfidious narrative. I am told trivialize COSATU rejection of this President's address on 1 May 2017 in the Free State. I'm told to see white monopoly capital in the Gupta leaked e-mails implicating a significant number of my ANC led executive members. I am told to ignore the fruitless and wasteful expenditure on PRASA procurement of locomotives that unsuited for our local rain lines. I'm told to ignore workers who may face disciplinary action for late coming because they are failed by our public transport system. I am told to ignore the abuse of public servants who want to make this country work. These servants are undermined everyday as they see incompetent appointments implementing unlawful instructions.
I have been living with this pain for way too long. My President promised to serve only one term, but he never did. I have been a slave of my President's lies for way too long.
I am tired of attempts to capture National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank because the million dependent on social grants would one day not get their lifeline support if I keep quiet.
Thank you South African civil society for letting me know that it is not just my pain but the pain of all South Africans. You have helped me to find my feet, locate their position stand up and speak out.
This is a President who appears to promote tribalism. He is guilty of breaking and negating Prixley kaIsaka Seme and Albert Luthuli who worked hard at shaping the non-tribal character of the ANC make-up in government. "Right from its inception the ANC realized the importance of awakening the African people and uniting them in a common loyalty which would cut across all lesser loyalities." (Luthuli, Let My People Go, 2006, Page 81). He has made some amaZulu to feel as though they are more special than other language groups. I am an umuntu (person), who communicates in isiNtu who believes in Uluntu (humankind) peaceful coexistence and a student of UBUNTU philosophy of interdependence, inter-relatedness and inter-connectedness of the human race.
Therefore, Mr. President, tribalism has no place in my ANC mission and the world view. Today I'm told not to criticize my leadership in public when the violation of my people is done publically.
Not only are we divided along tribal lines because of my President would settle on nothing but his ex-wife as his successor. Notwithstanding, Nkosazane-Dlamini Zuma talent, experience and leadership skills, her Presidency would undermine social cohesion. Most South Africans would feel cheated because her ex-husband seems to be the champion of her Presidential campaign. South Africans honestly need a break from a Zuma Presidency. There is nothing wrong with the Zuma surname, it is just that President J. G. Zuma has betrayed this name. Therefore, the Zumas must help us remove him from office so that they could reclaim their identity. MaNxamalala! Bo-Msholozi please advise your son to step down and save the entire African nation.
The ANC demise is at President Zuma's hands. For leadership can never be a synonym of victimhood. None of us want to be led by a President whose main phrase is "Angazi" (I do not know). All challenges are blamed to somebody else and never himself.
When the President's citizens peacefully march to plead with him to step down in order to give South Africa a breathing space so we may implement the National Development Plan (NDP) and root out corruption, Mr. President calls them racist. Mr. President has mastered the art of destroying institutions and has institutionalized corruption.
This is a President when black intellectuals express their views he does not agree with them, he sarcastically labels them "clever blacks". I am black, I am clever, I am smart and I am educated. There is therefore absolutely nothing wrong with being a clever black. Mr. President this is more racist than Verwoed's assumption that as black Africans mathematics is not for us. We speak mathematics, Mr. President. This is a President who has made us feel awkward for being black and smart. We want to restore the dignity of black people and Africans in particular. However, Mr. President everything you do negates this pursuit. You have become a curse to our children and nation. A President must inspire confidence but you violently beget it, my President.
This is a President, who seems to yearn to be a King. Otherwise how do we explain his kingly habits and tendencies? How do we explain his defiance of the voices of the people? His Nkandla homestead gives us a glimpse of the President's royalty mental frame. Mr. President, you are in that position as an elected official and not because of your genealogy or bloodline.
In case I do not make it on the 8th of August 2017, Mr. President know that your stay as the President is haunting South Africans. The attempt to silence me has made me value the few days left. Hence, I am addressing you, Mr. President.
What kind of President would inflict so much pain consistently with increased intensity on a daily basis to his own people?
Please Mr. President step down and respect those who elected you. Eleven million South Africans voted for the ANC and inadvertently voted you Mr. President in power and not just 1 million ANC members. You may wish to contest the ANC Presidency in December 2017 but South Africa no longer needs you Mr. President. Please save South Africa! Save jobs Mr. President! Save the economy Mr. President! Save the future of our children Mr. President. Save the ANC Members of Parliament from having to vote against their leader on the 8th August 2017. Mr. President as a widow with two children and hundreds of relatives who depend on me for their survival, I am paying the ultimate price for questioning your moral and ethical reflective capacity. If I don't make it on the 8th August 2017 Mr. President, please remember I'm voting against you because you no longer share the same mission and values of the ANC that I was taught.
Mr. President it is extremely difficult to root out corruption when you are there. Admittedly, we have removed the problem. All we need right now is for you to step aside so that we could assess the damage in your rail-path and enable us to clean up the mess. Mr. President I have witnessed the intensification of violence against women, your reputation with women is not good. Please Mr. President we need a President who sees women as intellectuals, revolutionaries and human being who have so much to offer this world not just to fulfill men's sexual desires.
The whole Africa expects the honourable thing from you, at least honour those who suffered for peace and freedom. Honour! Your people Mr. President, just resign and save the ANC MPs from having to follow the leadership collective decision to defend you at all cost or to follow the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and vote against you. I love my country. I love life. I love all South Africans. I treasure my African continent and I'm committed and loyal to the mission of my ANC.
Amandla! Power to the people.