'No government is forever' - Shilowa
In a rare public appearance, interdicted COPE leader Mbhazima Shilowa came out guns blazing at a party event in Alice where he lambasted President Jacob Zuma’s government
Speaking on Saturday to more than 1,000 Eastern Cape COPE supporters who had gathered at the University of Fort Hare’s Alice campus for their provincial summit of branches, Shilowa said after two decades of democracy the ANC-led government has failed to deliver a better life for all South Africans.
This was Shilowa’s first public speaking engagement in the Eastern Cape in two years.
He warned Zuma’s government of a possible revolt if they did not get their house in order.
Shilowa, who has been interdicted by court from participating in any party activities, constantly reminded those in attendance that he was not speaking as a party member.
“Remember I am not your member as I have been interdicted by court from participating in any COPE activities, so I am only here as a guest, an outsider and a bystander and I cannot participate in your dealings until this is resolved in court which is sitting again on February 1,” he told the crowd.
The former Gauteng premier was sidelined from party activities when two years ago, party leader and former close confidant Mosioua Lekota successfully applied through the courts to ban Shilowa from party leadership activities.
Addressing more than a thousand supporters, Shilowa said the majority will have nothing to show when the country celebrates its 20th anniversary since the advent of democracy.
“Next year we will celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy and the ruling party will organise a series of events to mark the occasion, less to do with the historic nature of the occasion, but as part of garnering votes.
“To understand how far we have travelled since 1994, we have to understand what our destination was.
“In 1994, the ruling party contested the elections under the slogan, A better life for all, but we have to ask whether a better life for all has been achieved, or more generously, whether a foundation to a better life has been laid.
“A better life for all and not a better life for some, after all that is what the contract with the people of South Africa was,” Shilowa said.
He said a better life should not be meant for some who happens to be in government or well connected to politicians or to the ruling ANC to loud applause.
“It’s not for those who use the system to line their pockets, not for the corrupt who, because of who they are and the positions they occupy, have never been brought before the law, but a better life for all,” he said.
“A better life must be for all, because that is what the struggle was about. After all this is what many went to jail and exile for, with some paying the supreme price when they died at the hands of the apartheid agencies,” Shilowa said.
He warned of a possible revolt, saying, “no government lasts forever”.
“We are where we are, not just because it is not possible to eradicate years of apartheid neglect within 20 years, but because there has been very little attempt at dealing with the challenges.
“We have merely been tinkering with the systems and at some point people can see through the gimmicks of the ruling elite and the painful reality though is that when they rise, they rise and they are unstoppable,” Shilowa said.