The people of South Africa have proven throughout the history of post-apartheid elections that they are the most important pillars to determine who leads them and the country. Since the strategic defeat of apartheid in 1994, our people took a risk by placing the ANC in the most strategic leadership of the state and government with the intention to fight crime, unemployment, poverty and inequalities.
They did so because they had a strong political conviction that the ANC remained a beacon of hope that must continue to represent their hopes and aspirations. The majority of them are from rural villages where the ANC enjoys the most support and continues to receive the largest percentages of votes.
Twenty-four years of freedom and democracy down the line, our people begin to cast aspersions on the dispensation they have because they have a strong conviction that democracy means service delivery and a better life. They continue to lose hope every day because of the unethical conduct portrayed by their leaders which has a strong bearing on service delivery.
Quite interestingly, they measure us not only because we are a liberation movement that defeated apartheid but by our ability to put bread on the table. They easily forget where we come from because of the abject poverty which is prevalent and is informed by high rates of unemployment in the country.
It is important for the organisation, particularly its leagues to rise to the occasion and defend the National Democratic Revolution. We have an inherent programme for our people which is the Freedom Charter and it must be implemented to create a better life for all, not just for the few. Our failure as a movement to fight corruption and deliver services to our people will not only disillusion our people but create the risk of allowing them to question the value of our own democratic government.
The unfortunate measurement that our people have demonstrated to us is the loss of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Thabazimbi, Modimolle-Mookgopong and other areas in which we appear to have taken them for granted. They have demonstrated this measure by voting for opposition or not voting at all. Our inability to be ethically competent to create accountability and good governance has been tested throughout our work since the dawn of democracy.
One of the primary actions that the elected leaders must undertake is to unite the membership and structures of the ANC and society at large.
It is high time that we become resilient and prove to our people that indeed we are representing them. This can be one of the measures to restore hope and confidence to our people. Our people will continue to be angry at us if we undermine the rights entitled to them as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Every day when they wake-up they are told of corrupt activities conducted by our own leaders and political infighting both in the private and public-sector organisations that continue to hinder the progress on service delivery. They continue to be promised the impossible by our own cadres deployed in government and ultimately fail to deliver what is expected of them.
These obviously unbearable conditions have resulted in situations where our people protest all over the country for service delivery by demonstrating through informed and uninformed behaviour that has the propensity of reversing the gains of our most precious democratic government. We thought that we have learnt our mistakes from our previous elections, no we haven't learnt at all. We continue with our age-old tradition of neglecting our people and their genuine service delivery needs.
Our people can still hurt us because of our neglect of their needs. In fact, they have already hurt us badly. It can only become worse if we don't wake up and smell the coffee. We must be clinical in our approach and care must be exercised in the way in which we project ourselves. The ANC's 54th National Conference was preceded by the political contest and ideological persuasions amongst forces within and outside the organisation.
We must indicate that leadership was elected, and the structural composition of the NEC elected has collapsed all factions in the ANC. One of the primary actions that the elected leaders must undertake is to unite the membership and structures of the ANC and society at large.
It will be prudent if leaders of the ANC, Leagues and Alliance partners were to develop programmes that are aimed at forging unity amongst their members and structures. They must do so by placing the responsibility upon their shoulders to ensure that we reduce the infightings which produce triumphalists and the wounded in the organisation.
Our people do not believe in the organisation because it continues to demonstrate divisions and infighting.
The situations in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Free State and North West have a bearing in terms of organisational growth and development. Some of the branches are still demanding decisions and resolutions of the unresolved branches which were supposed to attend the ANC's 54th National Conference till today. If the matter can be challenged through litigation processes, it will question the legitimacy and credibility of the ANC Conference, and the conference can be declared null and void or unconstitutional.
Towards the ANC's 54th National Conference, individuals had to lobby for themselves to be elected into positions of leadership and distribute organisational paraphernalia resembling their images more than they are needed now during this time of elections. They had to distribute these resources that we don't even have an answer on, as to how they were accumulated to fund their campaigns - more so than the campaigns of the ANC to win elections. The ANC finds it difficult in certain jurisdictions to run elections because of the lack of resources to sustain the campaign machinery.
Despite weak election machinery, the infighting among members of the ANC in certain jurisdictions has resulted in the organisation losing credibility and authority over the people. Our people do not believe in the organisation because it continues to demonstrate divisions and infighting.
They think and believe that the reason these divisions exist is because of the looting of their taxes and the corruption practised in certain components of government which continues to result in poor service delivery.
The Thuma-Mina campaign needs all members of the ANC to be united more now than ever before. It is suicidal to believe that by fighting other members of the same organisation it will help the movement to grow and win elections. The people will continue to hurt us because they cannot afford to be led by the organisation that is characterised by political dwarfism and lacking in ethical leadership.
The same people who are fighting among themselves in recent cases such as North-West and KZN must campaign for the ANC and deliver votes. The ANC members' arrogance of power and dogmatism belief that the ANC will lead until Jesus Christ comes back home was tested and falsified by cases in Tshwane, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and others.
If we don't learn from our previous mistakes and continue with our arrogance, our people will hit us where it hurt the most, at the polls.
Che Selane is Limpopo ANC Youth League Provincial Secretary. He writes in his personal capacity.