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Mathews Phosa: This Is The Leadership That The ANC Needs To Elect To Restore Trust With The People

Restoring the people’s hope in the party once again will take a long time. The clean-up in the ANC must be from top to bottom.

19/05/2017 03:59 SAST
Gallo Images
Mathews Phosa outside the North Gauteng High Court during the hearing of a civil claim case between him and David Mabuza on May 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Theana Breugem)

The current leadership in the African National Congress has not fostered a climate of free and frank engagement. The party has lost its intellectual 'elasticity' which is the ability to find solutions when the situation looks dark and difficult.

If you look back to the days we were part of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), the party was always able to find solutions to any problem. That is how we arrived at the Constitution that we have in the country today.

This high level of intolerance to different ideas is not good for intellectual exchanges.

After the Constitutional Court ruled on the Nkandla matter, I was the first to say that President Jacob Zuma must step down. I was alone. Today, that is no longer so. I am not alone in the ANC.

The resistance to Zuma is slowly beginning to build up. I must give credit to those who are now finally standing up to him. Politics is not a "switch on, switch off" mechanism. It grows organically, and we are seeing that growth starting to happen now. The mere fact that in October last year ANC members launched an assault on Zuma is a positive development, as far as I'm concerned. The fact that there is even a possibility that our ANC members may vote against him in the upcoming motion of no confidence vote in parliament shows you where we are.

The only way to get our party out of its denial mode is if there is a crescendo of members speaking out. More and more people within the ANC need to speak out.

It has taken 105 years to build up the reputation and good standing of the ANC. It has not taken that long to break it down. In fact, it's been a very short time, when the trust of our people in the ANC has been eroded. If you look at the key issues, what you see is a long list of self-inflicted wounds from the ANC's side: Nkandla, the Waterkloof landing, the social grants issue, the infighting in Cabinet and amongst the law enforcement agencies, and the crisis in Parliament right now.

The people of South Africa feel that there is too much greed and self-enrichment in the party, which has betrayed their aspirations. The expectation was that the party would grow the economy for everyone, and not just the friends of the president. This is how the aspirations of our people have been betrayed. This is what we need to be stop.

Restoring the people's hope in our party once again will take a long time. The clean-up in the ANC must be from top to bottom. Clean up the branches, and the national executive committee itself.

Let us stand together to fight corruption, create a democracy we believe in, and create a non-racial society.

The only way to get our party out of its denial mode is if there is a crescendo of members speaking out. More and more people within the ANC need to speak out. We need to acknowledge the mistakes that have been made in the party and in government, and we need to get rid of the corrupt.

The ANC has published a document called Through The Eye Of The Needle. At the next elections, the party must elect leaders who are willing to abide by this document. These are people who live the values of the Freedom Charter, and most importantly, the values that are in our Constitution. Not just in words, but in deed as well. We must lead the people and the ANC by example.

You see, our Constitution is a social contract between the people of South Africa as a whole, and those who keep trampling on it cannot lead the ANC. They won't be able to lead the government, and they will divide the nation, and they will divide all the races in South Africa.

As leaders, we must give hope, and give our people a reason to stay here, and not want to go somewhere else.