Editorials 12.8.2016 05:00 am

ANC needs to listen to its own

President Jacob Zuma greets fellow members,  4 June 2016, at the FNB Stadium in Nasrec, Johannesburg for the ANC Gauteng Manifesto Launch. Picture: Alaister Russell

President Jacob Zuma greets fellow members, 4 June 2016, at the FNB Stadium in Nasrec, Johannesburg for the ANC Gauteng Manifesto Launch. Picture: Alaister Russell

Many people are, quite rightly, wondering why an organisation such as the ANC, blessed with many men and women of honour, would ignore their voices of reason – much to the party’s detriment.

Many people are, quite rightly, wondering why an organisation such as the ANC, blessed with many men and women of honour, would ignore their voices of reason – much to the party’s detriment.

Before the recent elections, the writing was on the wall: all was not well within the ruling party and it faced the prospect of humiliation, especially in a few of the country’s metros. A few months before the polls, an unprecedented number of ANC veterans publicly expressed concern about corruption and the future of the ANC.

One such individual, Reverend Frank Chikane, last October warned the ANC it had reached a point of no return and faced the real possibility of losing the elections unless it owned up to its problems. He drafted a document and handed it to the Gauteng ANC leadership, as well as Luthuli House. He hoped the document, which contained suggestions for the renewal of the party, would be discussed at the ANC’s national general council meeting. It wasn’t.

True to its character, the ANC responded to Chikane’s warning with arrogance, with party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe accusing the cleric of leaking the document to the media – an act he maintained bordered on ill-discipline.

The document, “Saving the Soul of the ANC”, warned that the party could lose support in key metros – a prediction confirmed by the outcome of the recent polls. Yesterday, Chikane made the document public, warning that “the greatest threat to the soul of the movement is from its own members and leaders who are being corrupted and transformed into self-serving agents”. The document warned of a downward turn and “loss of confidence” that‚ if not curbed‚ would evolve into a free fall in which the ANC lost metros or major cities in one to five years‚ then some provinces and‚ in the next nine to 14 years‚ would be defeated in a national election. The dismal performance of the ANC in some of the country’s biggest metros has vindicated Chikane.

With national elections only two years away, will the ANC finally listen to the words of wisdom of one of their own?

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