We must strive to become the ANC we hoped to be - Gordhan

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday evening said the time had come for the ANC to take a look in the mirror‚ and find a way to become the organisation envisioned by leaders like Nelson Mandela‚ Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada.

Gordhan was speaking at the screening of a documentary titled Promises and Lies – Fault Lines in the ANC at the Old Fort cells on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

The documentary is largely formulated around never-before-seen images captured by British photographer Laurie Sparham of ANC leaders in exile in Zambia and other countries‚ and includes interviews with former finance minister Trevor Manuel as well as Robert McBride‚ head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

We’ve reached rock bottom‚ Lindiwe Sisulu says of ANCWith apparent divisions and factions forming ahead of the December elective conference of the ANC‚ the ruling party has never been in a worse state‚ said national executive committee member Lindiwe Sisulu. 

“These photographs and video all come to us at a very timeous moment‚ at a time when there is some sort of paradigm shift around the world and also in our own country‚” Gordhan said.

“The ANC as we have known it‚ the struggle ethos and ethic... that propelled hundreds of thousands of activists and people in South Africa and around the world to struggle against apartheid and to build a new and democratic South Africa‚ is an ethic and ethos that is being challenged at the moment‚ and being undermined in many ways as well‚” he continued.

He said the time had come for the ANC to take a long‚ hard look in the mirror‚ and recognise the weaknesses in the party.

“We are living in a time where we do indeed need to look into the mirror‚ not just to see if the tie is straight or if the hem of the dress is right‚ but to have a frank‚ first look at and conversation with ourselves about what our weaknesses are‚ and more importantly‚ do we have the will to actually self-correct?

“Do we have the ability to change course‚ do we have the humility to reflect on one’s weaknesses or shortcomings and say that my shortcomings‚ either as an individual or a group‚ are causing immense damage around me?”

He said the question for committed members of the ANC was whether or not they would become victims of the risk that history has shown liberation movements to face – that 25 years after taking power‚ they fall into a state of corruption‚ greed and decay.

“Are we going to allow ourselves‚ after looking in the mirror‚ to say we are going to allow this organisation to move in the wrong direction? How are we actually going to ensure that we have the ethical leadership that the Mandelas‚ Sisulus and Kathradas reflected in their lives?”

“How do we actually ensure that the self-serving practices of the present are going to be defied in some ways‚ so that we go back to the ambition that we had‚ which is that the ANC and its government will continue to serve the people of South Africa?”


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