ANC of yesteryear dead‚ says Maimane
While the ANC was launching its election manifesto for the coming local government elections in Port Elizabeth on Saturday‚ opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was in another part of the country bidding farewell – as he put it – to the ANC that everyone once knew.
Maimane was speaking at the historic Wesleyan Methodist Church in Waaihoek near Mangaung in the Free State where the ANC was founded in a school room 104 years ago.
“Today the DA gathers here at the historic Wesleyan Methodist Church in Waaihoek to bid farewell to an organisation that changed the course of our country’s history‚” Maimane said.
He noted that the ANC had spent the rest of the 20th century since its formation mobilising black South Africans against a brutal and unjust government.
“While the struggle against Apartheid was fought on many fronts and by many groups and individuals‚ the ANC was‚ for many‚ the rock upon which the resistance movement was built. This reflected in the overwhelming support it received in our first democratic election in 1994.
“Earlier this year the party celebrated its 104th birthday‚ but for all intents and purposes it has ceased to exist. Because beyond the logo‚ the colours and the slogans‚ the ANC of 2016 bears no resemblance to the movement that played such an important role in liberating black South Africans from the illegitimate and cruel Apartheid government‚” Maimane stated.
For any political organisation to survive more than a century was a remarkable achievement‚ but when the end had come‚ it had come swiftly‚ he added.
“Under Jacob Zuma’s self-serving leadership – and assisted by a party whose senior figures had acquired an unquenchable taste for wealth and power – it took just years to dismantle a century of toil and sacrifice‚” he asserted.
“As the Official Opposition‚ it is perhaps not expected of us to mourn the demise of our biggest political opponents‚ but we’re not blind to the invaluable contribution made by former leaders of the ANC in years gone by. All South Africans‚ including us at the DA‚ owe the likes of Nelson Mandela‚ Walter Sisulu‚ Oliver Tambo and Govan Mbeki a huge debt of gratitude.
“While the ANC’s fall from grace may be politically beneficial to the DA‚ we are saddened by the demise of such a historically important party and the manner in which it happened. Each generation of ANC leaders has borne an enormous responsibility to preserve the dignity and the moral integrity of the organisation. The current generation chose to abandon that responsibility.
“When Josiah Gumede‚ Saul Msane‚ Pixley ka Isaka Seme‚ John Dube and Sol Plaatje gathered here on 8 December 1912‚ along with various other chiefs and community leaders‚ to found the South African Native National Congress (SANNC)‚ their goal was to fight for the rights of ordinary South Africans. Everything about the movement was selfless and honourable. Little were they to know that a hundred years later this noble goal would be trampled by the entire party in the name of greed and personal enrichment‚” Maimane opined.
What happened to the ANC was not new. “We have seen the same pattern repeated‚ where liberation movements have failed to transition into parties of government. As corruption takes over‚ and the delivery of services to the people stalls‚” Maimane said.
To counter this‚ the ruling party had to capture democratic institutions to avoid facing justice‚ and it had to capture the media to ensure that “good news” overshadowed the reality of its failures.
“These governments invariably turn their backs on their constitutions and they abandon the rule of law. It is at this critical junction that South Africa now finds itself‚” the DA leader added.
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