On Sunday evening, September 21 2008, I somehow felt that no human being could fail to be deeply moved by the address of President Thabo Mbeki to the nation on occasion of his resignation from the highest office, after being pushed by vindictive members of the party to which he had dedicated his life and served with unwavering loyalty.
Watching the president humble himself before the nation filled me with emotions I could not express. I do not possess the eloquence of diction, the poetry of imagination or the brilliance of metaphor to express my deep sadness in seeing the president leave office in such a shameful manner.
Despite his documented failures, Mbeki has presided over achievements not reached by any previous government in South Africa — the longest economic growth in recent times being most notable. Under his leadership the government has fostered progress towards realisation of the ideals of human dignity, non-sexism, non-racialism, equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms as well as the goals to eradicate abject poverty and promote peace, security and democracy on the African continent.
Progress towards full realisation of these noble ideals is now persistently threatened by the thoughtless divisions engulfing the ANC, which are likely to intensify subsequent to Mbeki’s unceremonious departure. The need for stability, respect for the rule of law and institutions of the judiciary commands our whole attention and should absorb our very beings. Ours should be the task of ensuring that whatever government is in power post-2009 is held to account.
We face an uncertain future that is almost held to ransom by people who are hostile in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method. The unhelpful divisions within the ANC and the resultant anxiety about the future of the country pose promises of indefinite duration. As long as leaders of the ANC are inebriated by power and possessed by arrogance, our country will not move forward. We must never let the weight of the hooliganism that characterises the ANC endanger our liberties, justice and democratic processes.
We hope Jacob Zuma will prevail over miscreants within the ANC and show leadership in extricating the nation from this deep depression and anxiety. That Zuma will become president of the republic is certain, but what is equally uncertain is his innocence in the corruption and racketeering charges. His will be the presidency tainted by untested allegations of corruption.
President Mbeki, the nation salutes you. Godspeed!