THE BLOG
26/09/2017 14:40 SAST | Updated 26/09/2017 18:13 SAST

South Africa Needs An ANC 2.0 -- A Political Party, Not A Liberation Movement

The organisation has, for the most part, disintegrated into a spineless, weak-kneed, wimpish club of the corrupt and their enablers.

Mike Hutchings/ Reuters
Supporters of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma's ruling African National Congress [ANC] cheer during their party's final election rally in Soweto, May 4, 2014.

I must admit that there were times when the embarrassment, sometimes shame of having once been a member of the African National Congress [ANC] threatened to overwhelm me. Times like when the Mbeki government failed to recognise the HIV/AIDS epidemic or when Jacob Zuma, whose reputation preceded him long before his return from exile, was elected in Polokwane.

Or the Marikana massacre, or when parliament failed to keep President Zuma accountable or the occasion when South Africa had three finance ministers in four days or the death of 115 at Esidimeni, the treatment of ex-Minister Gordhan, the disaster that is the ANC Women's League [ANCWL] and the #GuptaLeaks.

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini manages to make me regret the time and energy I put into grassroots work and being one of a small group of women around previously exiled Comrade Ray Alexander Simons who organised the first ANC Women's League march in Cape Town after its relaunch in 1990.

However, never has my disappointment been so raw and real as it has been since the ANC as a collective failed to support Dr Makhosi Khoza, hanging her out to dry.

The organisation that prides itself in courageously standing up to the apartheid bully, that encouraged vigorous debate, that was tolerant of divergent views and was the protector of the weak and vulnerable, has, for the most part, disintegrated into a spineless, weak-kneed, wimpish club of the corrupt and their enablers.

Caught in the comfort of their positions and the ease of their existence, the self-occupied leaders of the ANC displayed a wormlike reluctance to stand up and circle the wagons in defence of their comrade, Makhosi Khoza.

Only a new version of the ANC can bring about the strong and egalitarian democracy that was envisaged by the fearless men and women who made countless sacrifices to bring about our freedom.

The regret expressed by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for not having reached out to Dr Khoza is so cringe-worthy that she might have done herself a bigger favour by saying nothing at all.

Despite media reports that Minister of Human Settlements Sisulu defended Khoza when the latter received death threats, she and the other sensible presidential hopeful, Cyril Ramaphosa, spectacularly failed to chastise the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the ANC and the Youth League in eThekwini Region when they targeted Khoza.

The failure of Sisulu, Ramaphosa and other fair-minded adults [who are not named Gordhan] within the ANC caucus to speak up publicly in defence of Khoza's right to speak her mind freely and openly disagree with what President Zuma and his cronies are doing to South Africa has left Makhosi Khoza with Hodson's choice.

Leaving the ANC in which Khoza was increasingly isolated was a courageous step and I can only hope that all those ANC members who still embrace the ideals of Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela will march out en masse, giving birth to an ANC 2.0; a political party, not a liberation movement, that is stronger, more ethical and truly at the service of all South African people.

Only a new version of the ANC can bring about the strong and egalitarian democracy that was envisaged by the fearless men and women who made countless sacrifices to bring about our freedom.

Khoza's departure must serve as a wake-up call because the time has come to reclaim the true values of the ANC.

South Africa's mindless crime, our nation's abject poverty that is in stark contrast to the vulgar display of wealth prevalent in our society was not what those who made real sacrifices, to bring about a democratic South Africa, had in mind nor did they imagine an ANC minister implementing the charity begins at home adage into the public service and seeing nothing wrong with it.

Khoza's departure must serve as a wake-up call because the time has come to reclaim the true values of the ANC.

We must sadly acknowledge that except for the few decent members with integrity the Zuma led government has, unfortunately, managed to render true the words of Greek poet, Aristophanes, who wrote: "Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy."