Dear ANC leaders, sidikiwe ngoku, if Zuma will not move, Zuma must be moved.

April 4, 2016 § 17 Comments

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I am a supporter of the party but not a card carrying member.

In the past few days, I have encountered a few ANC (African National Congress) NEC (National Executive Committee) leaders and the first time I have seen any of them, I have said to each one of them, without even greeting, “Why aren’t you guys doing the right thing?” They all laughed, perhaps at the brazen nature of the question, or they did not expect that I would ask the question even though they must have known I was thinking it. I don’t know. I only ran into five of them on different occasions since the decision by the ConCourt. So, what I am about to say must not be seen as if I am saying a sample of five represents the majority of the NEC.

The response from all of them was the same. One said, “We know what the right thing is, but we can’t just act on emotion. Politics is about numbers. We have to make sure that we have the numbers. Without them we can’t do much.” Of course he is right. Numbers got Zuma the presidency, it will be numbers that get him out of it.

Those of you who know what the right thing to do is, speak to those who are on the fence and convince them to come on your side and remove president Jacob Zuma from his position as country president. Even as ANC president. The longer you delay, the less faith the people will have in you and your leadership and whether you have the balls to lead. This will result in people either not voting, deserting the party all together or joining other parties because you would have lost all trust and respect. The very survival of this great organisation needs you. You have reached a point of no return. You are at a crossroads. If Zuma will not move, Zuma must be moved.

Local government elections are coming up soon. To make it clear, if Zuma is still president, the ANC is going to experience a greater decline than it anticipated. Of course it won’t lose the elections, but it will be in for a shock. In January 2014, I wrote an article called, I criticise the ANC but I Will Vote for it. In the column I wrote the following:

“One of the big issues the ANC faces is that many people are unhappy with the leader of the party and not necessarily the party itself.

I have had to separate the party from the person who leads it.

There is a perception that the ANC looks out for the interests of individuals first, namely president Jacob Zuma, rather than those of the country. This has to change. Judging by what has happened in the recent past, the question potential ANC voters are asking is: can the ANC be trusted to put the country first?

The ANC is capable of changing as history has demonstrated. Nelson Mandela and his generation orchestrated the removal of then ANC president, Alfred Bitini Xuma, for not helping the movement with the urgency needed at the time. Xuma’s apologetic stance would have cost the ANC support as the sentiment on the ground was that it was time for more militant tactics in the fight against apartheid. The leadership of the day responded to the mood.

One of my favourite tv series is The West Wing. In the show, Senator Arnold Vinick is running for president, and is played by Alan Alda. At one point, while he polishes his shoes, he is listening to a much younger man who works at the White House. The young man is irritated by the senator’s apparent lack of trust for thinking the White House has a secret agenda.

The senator says to the young man: “The founding fathers didn’t base a government on trust. They could have designed a government based on trust and our ability to govern fairly but they knew that power corrupts. So they invented checks and balances. It was genius. The founding fathers did not want me to trust you, they did not want you to trust me.””

The checks and balances were the Public Protector who was insulted and ignored. Then the ConCourt ruling made it absolutely clear that the PP was absolutely right.

In 2014, I said I have had to separate the party from the person who leads it. I now can longer bring myself to do so.

This time, I would not just criticise the ANC, I would not vote at all. There are many people who will withhold their votes in the local government elections precisely because of the ANC’s continued need to protect the president. Party leaders, we are the ones who need to be protected from him. Protect the party.

I have said before that the ANC needs to change before it is forced to. It was never a perfect organisation, the ANC is not beyond repair. The truth is we have people who are in leadership positions within the ANC who are contributing heavily to the weakening of the party, all in the interest of self-preservation, not the preservation and growth of the ANC. Yet the ANC continues to harbour and protect the very people who are eating away at it. It must be saved from them. And one of those people is the person of the president.

We desperately need you to rise up and do what it right. I am asking you to save the ANC. What will you say to your children and grandchildren when they ask you as a former NEC member, “Where were you when the ANC destroyed itself?” How will you answer? The beginning of the destruction or reconstruction of the ANC is in your hands. If you let Zuma destroy it by prolonging his stay, in the not too distant future, the ANC will only be something we read about in history books. And history will not forgive you for it. We keep seeing people’s fathers and mothers defending something that should not and should never have been defended. We have lost respect for people we once respected. Regain our respect and admiration. It’s not easy to do the right thing. It is precisely for this reason you must do it. Because it is hard. Leadership is not easy.

Let me quote something I wrote when I wrote about the ANC document called Through The Eye of a Needle talking about leadership in the ANC.

One of the points the document makes is this and I quote, “Those in leadership positions should unite and guide the movement to be at the head of the process of change. They should lead the movement in its mission to organise and inspire the masses to be their own liberators. They should lead the task of governance with diligence. And, together, they should reflect continuity of a revolutionary tradition and renewal which sustains the movement in the long-term.”

From the one paragraph we can already see the many flaws in our leadership:

The people have not been inspired to be their own liberators; the state has made sure that the people are dependent on it. Thus, the party remains as their liberator and shackles them to itself.

Some areas of government have been led well and the task of governance has been done diligently, unfortunately there is less than desired.

The sustainability of the movement at this rate is questionable.

Point 35 of the document says, “A leader should constantly seek to improve his capacity to serve the people”. Unfortunately, many of our leaders are interested less in improving their capacity to serve, and more in increasing their chances to lead again. There is a big difference between the two.

Point 37 of the document then goes on to say, “A leader should lead by example. He should be above reproach in his political and social conduct – as defined by our revolutionary morality.

Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the national democratic revolution includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.”

Having looked at all the points presented on the ANC document it is clear that the ANC does not apply this rigour when selecting leaders. This document might as well be burned, for no one follows its guidelines.

In my estimation, the document was written to ensure that not just anyone could become a leader because they think they can lead the movement; they should lead because they have ticked all the boxes. Being an ANC leader was meant to be difficult, not easy – for leadership is not easy.

The title of the document is taken from the Book of Matthew chapter 19 verse 24 in the Bible. A rich young ruler asks Jesus what he needs to do to get to heaven. Jesus tells him what to give up. The young man leaves because he is not prepared to give these things up, then Jesus says to the crowd, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

The needle Jesus was speaking of is not the same as the one you think of. The “eye of a needle” Jesus spoke of was a gate in Jerusalem, which only opened after the main gate to the city was closed at night. A camel could only pass through a smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed and had to almost crawl to enter. Therefore, a leader should be willing to let go of his baggage in order to be worthy of leading the ANC.

In an earlier verse Jesus says, “Not everyone can accept this word.”

Sacrifice Zuma to save the ANC, don’t sacrifice the ANC to save Zuma. I implore you.

§ 17 Responses to Dear ANC leaders, sidikiwe ngoku, if Zuma will not move, Zuma must be moved.

  • Phaphama says:

    Amen and amen !!!!

  • wandumzi says:

    Let’s just hope they are listening. I am worried about the future of RSA.

    PS: when I am 50 or something I will use that last part on my sermon… if Mboro does not copy it first 😦

  • Tumelo Molitsi says:

    It’s about time, the man must go.

  • Langa says:

    I hear the war cry but I don’t see any definite call to action.
    This is a well written article but I would have loved the ‘how and when’ to be more clear. I believe the nation is in agreement that he should be released but there’s no mention of how it should be done and when. Only then shall all the war cries make sense.

  • Khaya I do not blame you at for considering withholding your vote. I just turned 18 and was super excited to register to vote this year. But the recent political events in this country are just so disappointing and extremely discouraging for a young person like me.

    And I’ve been looking forward to emerging as one of the few youths who actually give input into the governance of this country, especially in the face of the voter apathy that so strongly prevails in the South African youth. But now, I hope that myself and my fellow peers will not be further judged for the passive stance that we have taken ,( for I’m sure I’m not the only one who refuses to vote now ) towards voting. Our silence should not be mistaken for weakness, dull-mindedness or lack of interest even for we are aware that there needs to be a change towards the right direction…unfortunately we seem to be speaking to deaf ears.

    We criticise the ANC so much because as a potential voter, the first action that determines who gets your vote is studying the party’s manifesto and lord is the ANC a charmer on paper!!!! but the failure to translate this to reality just deflates all excitement to a point that one is tempted to even lose hope for South Africa all together.

    But then again…I’ve got many concerns. Great piece Khaya! !!

    • Paul says:

      While I am encouraged by the opinions about leadership here, I don’t really understand this “not voting” business. Why can’t you vote for somebody else? Not voting is just not using your voice. Use your voice by voting for someone else.

      • I understand the passion that the ANC inspires with its history of steering the country on the path of democracy. However, many people forget the power of the vote. It is best described in small numbers in a hypothetical country with just three voters. Let’s take three scenarios:
        Election 1: Party A: 2 votes, Party B: 1 vote.
        Election 2: Party A: 1 vote, Party B: 1 vote. (one voter stayed away).
        Election 3: Party A: 1 vote, Party B: 2 votes.
        By moving your vote to another party, you are hurting the party twice as much as you would by staying away. This will bring about change much quicker either by putting a new government in place, or forcing your party to listen to the people and regain their trust.

  • Makateko says:

    Not voting is worse than the person voting ANC because your vote elsewhere will strengthen our democracy and take away the overwhelming majority that the ANC is abusing.

  • Nhlanhla says:

    We share same sentiment…
    How do I adress you as we both support the ANC but not ANC card carrying member? Is “comrade” appropriate?

  • Kay says:

    Removing Zuma will not change much from the ANC. It is not Zuma who is the problem. It is the entire leadership of the ANC. ANC leadership has the powers to remove him but they will not. The ANC has been captured and is under capitalist control. There is no saving the ANC. It has gone pass the point of no return. There have been so many illegal activities in the ANC one cannot even count. From Zuma who has a cloud of almost 1000 corruption charges hanging over his head. To Cyril Ramaphosa who is a shareholder of a mine that massacred 37 mine workers. To parliament that is no longer allowed to hold the executive to account. The list is endless. I compare the ANC to the Israelites who were under the bondage and oppression of the Egyptians. Whilst compelled to humility the Israelites remembered their God. However, when they were liberated and finally reached the Promised Land, they became arrogant and prideful. The ANC remembered their people when we were in bondage and under the oppression of the apartheid government. When we were liberated and the ANC leadership tasted the fruit of wealth, they slowly forgot their people. The leadership has lived a life of opulence whilst the majority of their people continue to face economic oppression. The ANC has been the biggest traitor of all. It has failed us.

  • Fay says:

    Powerfull rendition, by all standards!

  • Thandeka says:

    Sentiments shared by many. Local government elections are an opportunity for us to raise our voices and say enough is enough.

  • Colin Langley says:

    Although i totally agree with the authors point of view what does disturb me is some of the comments, especially from the young people who say they won’t vote. You have to vote even if it’s a party you distrust. Who of all the parties can you distrust more than the ANC? A lot of people died for you to vote, to not vote would be like spitting on their graves. There are parts of this beautiful world where some people do not have this right and probably never will because of apathy and general disregard for their own futures. Also Kay, you cannot blame capitalist for taking over the ANC. It’s a few group of elites who are greedy who have taken of the ANC! Capitalism with all it’s evils is not as bad as communism which has proven to have failed in every country that adopted it except for Cuba. I do not agree with capitalism either so we must find an even ground for a united front against the interest of the elite and the greedy 1 percent!

  • Busisiwe says:

    But weren’t you, Khaya, making a case in 2014, of why you were voting ANC? Did you not know that they were corrupt? Now you’re writing essays about how they must do the right thing? Really? Why should they when you never hold them to account in the ballot box. Please, come on.

  • Busisiwe says:

    You grandest assumption is that the ANC can be saved. Khaya, is this willful ignorance or genuine naivety? The ANC is gone. It’s gone, my guy. Your appeals for its salvation is about 8 years too late.
    Also, your not voting is exceedingly irresponsible because it does not change anything but instead maintains the status quo. The opposition is not perfect or ideal but every vote to erode the majority of the ANC that has enabled it’s impunity counts.

    Your continued support of the ANC is now your continued support of corruption and impunity because now, you can’t say you didn’t know.

  • Long Memory says:

    Oh please, Khaya. Ave uthanda ukuzenza ngcono, ingathi ubungazi ukuthi iANC ikhohlakele nkathi uyivotela ngo2014. Awume.
    “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices” – George Orwell

  • I think and understand that most people hold the view that its better to vote for ‘nonsense’ instead of not voting at all. Because many people died for my right to vote so I MUST vote. That’s okay but please note – above the right to vote, my parents were fighting for the emancipation of my mind- my free will. They were fighting for a future in which I would be able to choose how to live/to make decisions on my own. So with that sorted, I invite you to consider the following reasons that a conscious non-voter might have:

    1. Apathy towards the anticipated results of elections – whether the ANC or DA or even EFF wins, all three parties have serious problems that in my view overshadow their good works. So why vote a party like in? Isn’t it we do not have confidence in our government. Would a DA president fic that? Maybe I would not bet on it. But I know that’s a shallow reason so one can justifiably disregard it.

    2. Another problem that doesn’t seem to be known by enthusiastic voters is that the ANC is not the real problem, no party is. Neither is Zuma. The problem is the electoral system. We vote for the party and not the president. So non-voters are also taking a stand against the system. Whether it’s an effective stand or not….is another issue. But it is justified.

    3. whilst the opposition parties have told us why we should deny the ANC the vote, they haven’t told us why we must give it to the opposition. Yes, the manifesto is there. But one I think would appreciate more a party that always speaks of its goals and values whenever addressing issues with the current circumstances that we find ourselves in..not just in writing. For really, how many of us actually read the manifesto???

    These are my reasons for not voting. Of course my views are meant to change with time. We are humans who react to our environment, in this case our social/political sphere. If any political events did not affect our views….we wouldn’t be active intellectual human beings like we should be. My point is that our views about anything change. Clearly the ANC was good yesterday. But today it is NOT. Why should one support the ANC today based on yesterday? This is to say….allow Khaya to change his mind. When the ANC started with its shenanigans however many years ago, many did not judge the party harshly because generally the first few mistakes should be forgivable. But now it would be rather strange if not ridiculous to firmly suppor the party. Many people voted ANC in 2014….many will not be voting ANC in the next elections. That is allowed.

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