The slave mentality in the ANC that allows for mediocre leaders to lead must be defeated, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile said at the weekend.
Speaking at the MK veterans steering committee in Johannesburg, Mashatile said comrades must be very clear about their expected criteria for leaders ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year.
“I see there are people who are already campaigning and we have not told them yet whether they fit the criteria,” Mashatile said.
The ANC Women’s League and the youth league had already started campaigning for former African Union (AU) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is also seen to be contesting President Jacob Zuma’s position.
“Let’s tighten up the criteria and, once it’s clear, we will see whether you fit,” said Mashatile.
“Comrades, informed by the through-the-eye-of-the-needle document, clear criteria will have to be developed to ensure the sharpest knives from our political shelves are chosen to lead the vigorous implementation of the national democratic revolution. And this must be coupled with political education and political consciousness of members.”
With just a few weeks to go before the ANC’s national consultative and policy conferences, Mashatile said the platform by the national consultative conference to diagnose the ills of the movement would have to be used with the aim of prescribing what needed to be done to cure it of those ills.
“I know the ANC national executive committee did not quite accept the national consultative conference. But they said they will give us two days before the policy conference and so we will have to see what to do with those two days because it seems we are not going to get anything more than that. The outcomes of that national consultative conference will then have to influence the conversation during the policy conference so as we do not just go through the motions.
“I’m alive to the fact that we will be walking a tightrope with the national consultative conference, combined with the policy conference, but I’m confident we can do our best to ensure that, like in Morogoro in 1969, the ANC emerges stronger and more united behind a clear vision that ensures the dream of a better life for all is realised,” Mashatile said.
He said the ANC had reoccupied the moral high ground and reclaimed its place as the parliament of the people and leaders of society.
“No effort must be spared in ensuring all of us participate actively in the ANC and alliance structures as part of turning around the situation and making the ANC what our people know it to be. This report-back session, therefore, has to craft a plan that assists in restoring the ANC’s glory. We must be bold, honest and frank and we must be able to tell one another the bitter truth for rescuing the ANC,” he said.
Mashatile added that ANC members must be reminded of what former party president Oliver Tambo said with the words “let us tell truth to ourselves, even if the truth coincides with what the enemy is saying”, adding that the time was now to heal the movement.