Khaya Dlanga
Khaya Dlanga

Was Mbeki trying to save the ANC from itself?

This party needs saving. It needs to be saved from itself. The enemy is not some evil and external force; it has parasites within itself that have so transformed themselves into what seems to be the ANC. The chameleon-like camouflage has so fooled all those within that they have come to believe that this is the real deal. With each passing day we descend into the abyss of the ridiculous. And like gluttons we feed off each reported gradual descent of the ANC vicariously. We cannot afford to see this mammoth rush into the looming quicksand. If it goes down, we go down with it. Let’s not fool ourselves for a moment.

The current ANC is the black sheep in generations past of the ANC. Chief Albert Luthuli, OR Tambo, Walter Sisulu and others must be turning in their graves asking themselves what they did wrong to deserve such descendants. It is very difficult being proud of the ruling party today. And no one is willing to stand up to make us proud. It is all over the place.

The question needs to be asked; when Thabo Mbeki ran for a third term as ANC president, is it possible that he was trying to save the organisation from itself? Is it possible that he could foresee what was going to happen if the ANC was given to the current leadership? Of course if he really thought that he was the only one who could save the ruling party from itself, and then his detractors would say this is precisely the reason he needed to go. Perhaps he was the last ANC man.

When he was president we discussed AsgiSA, the African renaissance, Gear, Aids even when people thought he was wrong, the economy, battling CEOs on his blog. We always knew where he stood. We never discussed his personal life. No one doubted he had control over the ANC. He was far, far from perfect as any man. We always discussed the country when he was president, not him.

In Polokwane, where he was defeated as president of the ANC, when delivering the president’s report he said: “Our collective responsibility in this important gathering is to ask ourselves whether in the recent past our movement has not gravitated away from its moral axis on which have pivoted the leadership of Dube, Makgatho, Mahabane and Luthuli among others?”

Judging by the justifications that the ANC clothes itself today it is fair to say that the ANC has long lost its moral leadership. It is not just the arrogance, nor the disdain it treats the citizens that lend credence to the loss of moral leadership, but it has to do with the quality of leadership too. These questions we pose today about the ANC are not new. It is a pity then that many chose to bathe in denial and blind themselves because of the temptations of tenderpreneurship.

In his president’s report, Mbeki went on to say: “What this emphasises is the need for our movement to distinguish itself by its exemplary behaviour, setting an unquestionable example of what Nelson Mandela meant when he spoke about the RDP of the soul!” I don’t know how anyone can disagree with these sentiments, whether one liked the man or not. What he said is what the organisation needs.

The past few weeks we have seen nothing exemplary about the conduct of one Julius Malema. We need the ANC to take strong and principled action against him; especially since President Zuma himself already said his utterances are alien to the ANC. We can’t continue allowing leaders to get away with everything under the sun, no matter how unacceptable. The more he gets away with, the more the ANC gets away from itself.