Limpopo Premier and ANC provincial chairperson Stanley Mathabatha has warned the party’s big shots and members of the executive committee (MECs) to avoid flaunting like fashionistas by showing off expensive German cars and expensive whiskies at public gatherings such as parties and funerals.
Mathabatha sent this message during an ANC provincial lekgotla held at Karibu Lodge outside Tzaneen yesterday.
“Our people are not happy about the developing social distance between those who lead and those we lead.
“We are said to be maximising the distance between ourselves and our people,” he said. “This is expressed in different ways, including the tendency of conspicuous consumption.
“Criticism against some of us is that we seem to be spitting in the face of the poor masses of our people. Our people no longer see us in themselves – we have become distant and foreign creatures to them.”
Mathabatha said some officials even neglected attending social events in the communities that elected them, except to “advertise our material possessions”.
He said: “Our language has also become strange to our people.”
The majority of those in positions of power have became foreign to their own people. “This should be our moment of self reflection – we must go back to the people because ANC leaders should always be part and parcel of the fabric of communities.”
Mathabatha touched on issues of internal battles and political infighting, saying protracted arguments over deployments have become a serious crisis to the organisation and to the ANC-led government.
“People should not join the ANC for deployment but rather to serve the people without any expectation. The tendency of undermining each other and insulting each other in public forums can only serve to weaken the ANC.
“Individuals come and go, leaders come and go, but the ANC will and must remain,” he said.
Mathabatha used the recent election results as a warning to MECs against slacking off: “… our people are clearly saying to us, shape up or ship out.
“Our people want to see the economy growing, they want jobs as in yesterday, they are yearning for a roof over their heads, they cannot afford any further load shedding from Eskom, they want both economic and social road infrastructure. Our people want water and decent sanitation.”
ANC provincial spokesperson Donald Selamolela said after the two-day meeting a plan of action to better the lives of those living in Limpopo would be tabled.