No room for a fearful president in ANC renewal

Johannesburg- AS the ANC celebrated its 110-year anniversary yesterday, the governing party must seriously begin to take stock of the many political ills that have plagued Africa’s oldest liberation movement.

There are so many internal ills that have threatened its very survival since 1994 when it assumed power, and they continue until this present day when – for the first time in history – the ANC faces the prospect of total collapse.

The party observed its birthday by outlining plans for the year ahead through its January 8 statement which has, in recent years, become nothing more than rhetoric, devoid of any substantive strategy to stem its political decay.

It is perhaps even ironic that the party gathered to celebrate its 110-year anniversary in Polokwane in the wake of a damning verdict delivered this week by the country’s most senior judge, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on how this country was almost pushed to the brink of total economic collapse under the supervision of the ANC government.

It is even more ironic that the party’s anniversary took place in Limpopo. That is where a chaotic ANC national conference took place in 2007 and elected Jacob Zuma, one of the most corrupt leaders ever to take over the party reins.

It was at the same Polokwane conference where party veteran Kgalema Motlanthe warned about the great potential for manipulation of the party by “careerists and factionalists who pursue personal or sectarian agendas” at the expense of ordinary people. No one took heed as Motlanthe warned about what has today come to define what the ANC stands for.

Sensing imminent danger as he recalled Vladimir Lenin’s warning to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1921, Motlanthe called for the development of mechanisms to combat the creeping “filth” brought by political “adventurers and rogues”, as well as “boastful and noisy elements” within its ranks.

Many of these political imposters were unashamedly in attendance yesterday and wiggled their bodies to the sounds of music on stage as if there are no dark clouds of state capture hanging above their heads. It is as if they are spitting in the faces of the people they stole from.

Ramaphosa cannot “work for the restoration of the integrity of the ANC” and regain the confidence and respect of South Africans when the big elephant remains in the room. His anniversary speech becomes vague when he promises to put in place mechanisms to process any parts of the State Capture Commission Report that pertain to the ANC, its deployees or members without providing a clear
direction of how he, as a leader, thinks must happen to the culprits.

The commission’s recommendations will not help him renew and rebuild the party as long as he remains indecisive about the future of those who aided the state capture project.

We will never be able to build an ethical, capable developmental state and a society governed by the values of the constitution as long as government agencies thwart all efforts by the National Prosecution Authority to prosecute state capture perpetrators. Ramaphosa must stop being a fearful leader.

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Wally Mbhele

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