20/02/2017 10:00 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 12:34 SAST

The 5 Most Poignant Quotes From Mathews Phosa's ANC 'Damascus Moment'

"Silence is connivance. Therefore i speak."


Former African National Congress (ANC) treasurer Mathews Phosa wrote in a column in the Sunday Independent about the moment he realised the extent of the ANC's demise, moving him to urge President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Phosa explained that for him, there was the series of events that unfolded during Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) over a week ago. In particular, it was the moment at the opening of Parliament when speaker Baleka Mbete "callously, coldly and clinically" refused the Democratic Alliance's (DA) John Steenhuisen's call for Parliament to observe a moment of silence for the 94 (now more than 100) Life Esidimeni patients who died "because the government looked the other way" that struck chords for him.

Here are the five most striking things he said:

1. "I realised, deeply and painfully, in watching this [Sona 2017] that I have come to a point where I refuse to be part of the intellectual funeral of the ANC, that I refuse to be associated with so-called leaders who trample on the people who voted them into office, who disrespect the constitution, whose only predictable response to all challenges is "racism" and who are willing to sacrifice the future of our children before the throne of a man who knows no shame and shows no character".

2. "I refuse, as a disciplined cadre of this movement, to have my coffin buried in the same graveyard as such leaders who have made the choice to place their own corrupt interests above that of those that we swore, yes swore, to serve".

3. "During the Struggle heroes died so that we can govern; now innocent people die in Marikana and psychiatric wards because we govern... Is this the South Africa that we struggled for, died for, and for which Madiba, our beloved leader, spent 27 years in jail? Would he have condoned the fact that a massive amount of our resources are being spent to ensure that one man's rape of our principles, our resources and our constitution remains unpunished? The answer is No."

4. "We are perilously close to a situation where we have become irrevocably intellectually and emotionally fat and lazy, and where we will revert to military and security interventions to hide our glaring inability" .

5. "Now we have a president, when we plead with him to go, he stays. My plea remains: Please, for once, serve your people, and go. Go now. If you don't, history will judge you to be the chief architect of the destruction of the ANC".

Phosa is now the second member of the ANC's top six who has called for Zuma to step down, following a similar plea from former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in 2015.