By Justice Phatse Piitso

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the triumph of the Cuban revolution, the leader of the Communist Party of Cuba, General Raul Castro, conveyed the following profound words to his people:

“Never let the enemy siren songs make you go soft. Always be aware that the enemy, by its very nature, will never stop being aggressive, domineering and treacherous. It is the responsibility of the historic leadership of the revolution to prepare the new generations to take on the enormous responsibility of continuing forward with the revolutionary process.”

We borrow these words of wisdom from this leader of the Cuban revolution at the most crucial moment in the history of our liberation struggles when our movement is embroiled in opportunism and chauvinism unleashed by some among its own veterans, against our collective leadership, especially our president, Cde Jacob Zuma.

By resolution of the 52nd National Congress of the ANC in Polokwane, the president of the ANC is, and remains the face and the leader of our national democratic revolution, and therefore those from our own ranks, who are consistently mounting malicious attacks and also denigrating his image, are the enemies of the general membership of our movement and the broader alliance.

It is indeed painful and grotesque to witness some of the veterans who constitute the core of the historic leadership of our movement, joining the chorus upon hearing the sirens songs, at this most difficult moment of our history when the enemy has unleashed a low intensity counter revolutionary onslaught from both within and outside the ranks of our movement.

The expected role of the veterans of our struggles is to defend our movement, its collective leadership and our historic mission of building unity and cohesion among our people. It will therefore remain a painful episode to witness some of the custodians of the glorious flag of our national liberation movement being counted to be among those determined to undermine the internal democratic processes and the collective decisions of its leadership.

The immediate responsibility of our historic leadership is to constitute themselves into a fort that represents the true values, culture and traditions of the century-old struggles of our movement and our people against imperialism and colonialism of a special type. They should become a true foundation that inspires our young generation into the future of today and tomorrow.

It is highly unacceptable and indeed an act tantamount to treason for any of our members to define themselves outside the parameters of the constitutional provisions of our movement. There is no one member whose image or stature, as an individual, can be bigger than that of the glorious flag of our national liberation movement.

Genuine members of our movement are therefore collectively implored to join the collective effort in combating the carnage of indiscipline threatening to erode the legacy of our only movement that has become the embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of our people.

The bones of the founding fathers of our liberation movement will indeed reverberate from within their graves upon hearing that those who were entrusted with the responsibility of preserving our glorious flag are appearing in a new form.

It worries our departed that those in whose hands they left the movement are now actively working towards its ultimate collapse, they are teaming up with the carnivorous predators that are feeding on our movement alive, thereby haemorrhaging it to death. It indeed worries all that some of our veterans have decided to join enemy forces in waging an unholy war against the collective leadership of our movement, especially our president.

The attacks on our leadership cannot be explained in any other way than through the advent of agent provocateurs masquerading as veterans and members in good standing.

We otherwise still have to get the answers as to what is it that our president has done to deserve this kind of an unfair treatment and arching of missiles against him by some, mostly advanced in age, of the senior leaders of our movement. The only point is if indeed they want to be elected into his position of responsibility, they need to subject themselves to the inner democratic processes and surely with patience their time will come.

One of the most fundamental revolutionary principles that have become synonymous with the rich history of our struggle, is the unique and democratic way in which our movement has been expressing itself and continues to conduct itself on its leadership questions. The constitution of the ANC affords every member or a branch in good standing a democratic right to participate in the processes for the selection of their preferred candidates for the leadership position of the movement. Ours is a democratic movement in both theory and practice.

What becomes more profound and unique about the constitution of our movement is that at the same time, it propels its members to give an unwavering support to those elected into positions of responsibilities irrespective of their earlier preference. In other words it becomes our revolutionary duty to support any of our leaders elected democratically by the constitutional structures of our movement, including Cde Jacob Zuma himself.

If there are those who envisioned or dreamt that the divisions that dominated our political scene towards the Polokwane conference were just a rehearsal and therefore more is still to come, those should count themselves to be on the wrong side of history. Gone are the days of those who think that to be more revolutionary is to throw revolutionary phrases and insults against the movement and its leadership.

Dialectical and historical materialism teaches us that to be a revolutionary is not necessarily an inherent characteristic or a permanent feature. The basic reason why our movement should from time to time subject its members, irrespective of the positions they hold, to rigorous political education classes, is to ascertain if indeed their theoretical outlook is still consistent with the character and posture our national democratic revolution.

It is the immediate responsibility our historic leadership collective, with a clarity of mind and purpose, to ensure that our young generation comprehend the realities that we are traversing a historic phase of in our transition from apartheid capitalism towards building a national democratic society, in which each shall get according to his contribution and need.

It is not expected that at their level and age, our stalwarts could still be excited by the glare of cameras and the narcissistic desire to be quoted in newspapers that they can lose the compass and start issuing statements against the ANC leadership and programmes like the uncouth and boorish louts are doing, some under the cloak of the so called “Friends of the ANC youth League”.

Justice Phatse Piitso is a former ambassador to Cuba and a member of the ANC writing in his personal capacity.


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