Among the current ANC presidential candidates, there are some "who should be in a retirement village somewhere", instead of feeling "entitled" to lead the country, Save SA's Sipho Pityana said on Thursday at the Daily Maverick's "The Gathering".
In conversation with EWN editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis, Pityana said South Africans need to rediscover confidence in younger leaders with "fresh thinking", in order to emerge from the country's crisis.
"The reason we are in a rut is because we have all these people who think they are entitled to this job, but they don't have a clue what to do with the country," Pityana said.
He also lambasted leaders who forget they are "our servants, not our bosses".
"People are sick of politicians, but the moment has come to put politicians in their place. The problem is that we [are expected to] all move out the way when the blue light brigade comes. We treat [these politicians] like our masters. We need to change that relationship," said Pityana.
'Time for arrests'
Pityana added that the ANC at large has "failed to accept that it is corrupt and bankrupt –– and sold to the core", and said that the election of a new leader of the party won't bring South Africans to the "land of milk and honey".
"If you take a rotten cake and put icing sugar on it, it doesn't stop being a rotten cake," he said.
"So the December conference, for all intents and purposes, is about putting icing sugar on a rotten cake. The corruption is systemic".
Researcher and commentator Nomboniso Gasa echoed a similar sentiment, saying the "rot" in government reaches way beyond the president and senior leaders, and through to institutions "running on autopilot" at multiple levels of governance in the country.
- Sipho Pityana says that we have a Constitutional mandate to deliver an equitable society. Government must have a bias in favour of the poor. The state today is an enemy of the poor. #NandosDMGathering@_SaveSA— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) November 23, 2017
Gasa said she believes, nevertheless, that it is time for those implicated in the "rot" to go to jail –– including President Jacob Zuma.
"Zuma has to wear an orange overall and serve his time in jail. If the ANC wants to have any role in society, they must remove Zuma and some of them must stand trial," she said.
Nomboniso Gasa: "It's not possible to get a candidate who is not tainted, to lead the ANC. Nobody is going to come from the sky." So much for that pledge about Jesus, then. #NandosDMGathering— Gus Silber (@gussilber) November 23, 2017
Reversing the "tremendous damage" caused by state capture in particular, Pityana said, would take a long time. As a result, those who now wish to lead the country need to have "realistic conversations" about the tough times ahead, which will include austerity measures, he said.
"We are going to go through a hard time after Zuma is gone, to clean up the mess and restore the economy," he said.
He added that it is "very well for one of the architects of state capture who now occupies treasury -- [finance minister] Malusi Gigaba -- to say we'll go cap-in-hand to the IMF to ask for a bailout, but we are saying before he does that, he must bring back the money he and others allowed to [be stolen] out the country".