A family associate and friend of ANC stalwart, Andrew Mlangeni, Malose Kekana, has called for ANC Integrity Committee that Mlangeni headed to be constitutionally independent of the ANC leadership and report to the party conference.
He said despite Mlangeni‘s contributions in the struggle he had not been recognised because not a single street or building was named after him but those things didn’t matter to him.
He said: “If you wish to honour the memory of Ntate Mlangeni, I propose that you spearhead a change of the ANC constitution to make the Integrity Commission an independent constitutional structure that doesn’t report to the NEC but to conference.”
Former president Thabo Mbeki has made an impassioned plea for unity in the ANC and for the governing party to convene a special consultative conference to specifically discuss party renewal.
He said the governing party could not address the country’s problems without renewing itself or being united.
Both Mbeki and Kekana were at Mlangeni’s funeral service held at Soweto Campus of the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday. In a virtual address, Mbeki said the struggle veteran was very concerned about the state of affairs in the governing party and that he had a good reason to be concerned.
Mbeki highlighted several issues raised at the ANC 54th national conference at Nasrec where delegates were worried about the loss of confidence in the ANC because of social distance, corruption, nepotism, arrogance, elitism, factionalism, manipulating the organisational national principles, abusing state power and, putting self-interests above the people.
“It said even the strongest ANC supporters agree that sins of incumbency are deeply entrenched. I say indeed as ANC itself has observed it was natural that our leader comrade Mlangeni would be concerned about the ANC,” Mbeki said.
The best way of saying good farewell to the stalwart, was for the ANC members to commit themselves to attend to unity and renewal of the party. It would not be possible to deal with the challenges that the country faced such as matter of ethics, ethical leadership “unless we renew the ANC” as was called for by that 54th national conference.
“I think if we do that and really seriously attend to this, this should really be a very good farewell, a very good memory, and a very good monument to such an outstanding person, such an outstanding revolutionary and such an outstanding leader, Andrew Mlangeni was,” Mbeki said.
Mbeki described Mlangeni as an ethical leader, who was not only concerned about the ANC but the revolution he sacrificed his life for. He said when people like him departed their spirits lived on and that their legacy should be emulated and they should be allowed to rest in peace.
Mbeki called him a “distinguished patriot” and a “distinguished revolutionary” whose examples must be emulated with meaning and conviction.
Kekana said people made it a big issue about how he was critical of other people. “As a chair of the Integrity Commission, he took all discussions as very confidential and would never share with us what was discussed. He didn’t believe it was right to criticise people publicly because, he viewed the Integrity Commission as an internal mechanism which, was meant not only to unearth alleged corrupt or unethical behaviour but that, it would also rehabilitated people.”
It was only after many months when he became frustrated because he came to realise that some people didn’t take the Integrity Commission seriously and thus publicly criticised people.
“Being publicly critical was one of the most painful experience that did not accord with his values. He got pushed into this position due to the inaction by the National Executive Committee of the ANC on implementing the recommendations of the Integrity Commission,” Kekana said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered a eulogy to Mlangeni, said the stalwart belong to the era or leaders who embodied the best in humanity and was one of the last of “extraordinary generation of freedom fighters”.
“The struggle was his life and freedom is his legacy. He was a product of the golden age of our struggle when sacrifice and commitment to freedom was the only consideration that motivated leaders to be involved in the struggle. He belonged to an era when leaders were even prepared to die for freedom.
“While history will place Mlangeni in the pantheon of great leaders of our nation, he will be remembered by his people as a person of humility, humanity and dignity,” Ramaphosa said.