The African National Congress (ANC) cannot continue to ignore its problems and needs fresh new leadership, combined with party elders, to help the country face its vexing challenges, says party veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Addressing the media outside the Nelson Mandela National Museum on Vilakazi Street, in Soweto, on Thursday, Madikizela-Mandela said the governing party needed to look into how it lost the nation’s confidence, even if it meant going on a retreat for a month to find some answers.
‘We feel very sorry for the students. It is a very difficult problem.’
“The kind of introspection we need would need a whole layer of fresh leadership, combined with the elders who are still left in the organisation, to revisit the question of the Freedom Charter, what has happened since 1994, and find out where we went so wrong,” she said.
She said the one word on everybody’s lips was ‘corruption’.
“We cannot pretend that we do not have problems, and we cannot pretend that things are not wrong in our country. A lot of things are wrong.”
Madikizela-Mandela, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, spoke about the current unrest at the country’s tertiary institutions over fee increments, saying she sympathised with the students in their call for free education, and Cabinet needed to find a solution to meet students halfway.
“We feel very sorry for the students. It is a very difficult problem,” she said.
She also said due to a lack of experience, the ANC did things that were not really according to the Freedom Charter adopted at the Congress of the People in Kliptown 61 years ago, particularly its clause on education, stating that “the doors of learning should be open to all”.
“In 1955, all those things seemed possible, [but] when we got into government from 1994, we realised that the free education we promised wasn’t going to be easy.”