Monday, October 29, 2012

ANC Youth League Statements on Leadership and Politics in South Africa

Vol. 8 No. 6: 19-26th October 2012
African National Congress Youth League

Defence of leaders must not be at the expense of ANC integrity!

"In Mangaung, we must make a distinction between any leader and the movement. Many colossal leaders came and passed on, but the movement remains. If any leader has become a liability to the integrity of the organization, we must not feel ashamed to ditch that leader in favour of one that would restore the integrity of the organization. This has been the culture and tradition of the movement."

Without doubt, the matter of integrity of the ANC remains one of the foremost important challenge for delegates that will convene in Mangaung in the ANC National Conference in December.

There are a number of reasons why the ANC has been able to enjoy popular legitimacy in the eyes of the majority of our people and throughout the continent and the entire world. Firstly, one of the reasons was the fact that the ANC embraced one of the most profound visionary ideals for our country, the continent and the world. It is the ideal that Nelson Mandela declared at the dock during the Rivonia Trial that he sought to fight for its realization and if needed be, was prepared to die for it.

Secondly, one of the reasons why the ANC has enjoyed unmatched support here and abroad has been the quality of leadership. We need not glorify our past as a movement, lest we embrace a distorted view that will not be helpful in analyzing the current challenges, hence we must admit to the simple fact that indeed it is true that the ANC has had leadership problems of its own over the past century.

However, the ANC has always had the best of its cadres elected to lead the movement. Whenever their relevance waned as a consequence of the lived experience of their leadership, the ANC would always democratically replace them. This is been the hallmark of the ANC leadership and has always proved the point that none amongst us as members of the ANC are indispensable but that the movement as a whole is indispensable.

Thirdly, yet another factor ensuring the ANC endeared itself amongst the masses of our people, was that much of the epoch of struggle save for the past 18 years of democracy, was during the years when colonialism and later apartheid invoked the spirited struggle that saw matyrs such as Solomon Mahlangu facing the gallows fearlessly.

That apartheid readily created support amongst the oppressed against the oppressive system itself is one defining feature which has not been factored appropriately when analyzing both the pre 1994 and post 1994 dispensations. Therefore, the general attitude that seeks to unfairly compare these two distinct dispensations fail to appreciate their respectively marked differences.

The struggle against apartheid did not enjoy the luxury of finer democratic scrutiny on the role played by the mass democratic movement, including the ANC. Sometimes to disregard certain democratic ethos actually helps in war or combat situations, hence the military conducts its affairs mainly through the principle of a "command" rather than "democratic engagement".

Having reflected on these facts, what then becomes of the integrity of the ANC towards Mangaung? We cannot just say without proper contextualization that the ANC or the current generation of cadreship must emulate those of the past, when we are actually referring to two different conditions.

The current conditions under which the ANC wages the struggle to emancipate blacks in general and Africans in particular is highly infested with the principle of self interest for all those involved as opposed to the principle of selfless struggle of the generation of OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Solomon Mahlangu, John Dube, Lilian Ngoyi, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Anton Lembede, Mxolisi Majombozi, William Nkomo, Ruth First and many more!

We must appreciate that self interest is generated by the new conditions of economic participation as opposed to political participation to usher in a new political order characterized by democracy. Similarly we must appreciate that selfless struggle arose as a consequence of the realities of colonialism and apartheid and were not just baseless ideals in their own right.

Towards Mangaung therefore, we are faced with the serious challenge to map out the basis for the continued integrity of the ANC in the eyes of all our people. Political support is in the main a vote of confidence in the leadership, and the ANC must demonstrate without doubt that it lives and it leads! This then become the essence of its integrity, as an organization deriving its identity from the lived experiences of our people and not an idealistic imposition that fails to attend to the challenges faced by our people on a daily basis.

Fourthly, the ANC derived its integrity from the fact that it mobilized all sections of society in our country. There have been some parties who were defined narrowly along tribal lines and these thankfully did not survive because had they survived they would have cause havoc by dividing our people along tribal, racial and gender lines. The ANC has been the omnibus that has carried in its ranks people of all class stratification, race and even of different ideological orientation.

The unifying axis has always been the matter of the ANC vision for change, which is a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society. It is this vision that informed the values enshrined in our Constitution, hence the ANC's integrity is deeply entrenched in the social, economic and political fabric of our country.

We must therefore not just go to Mangaung to see who gets how many votes, but very importantly to build an organization that must enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the masses of our people as their central rallying point for comprehensive transformation in line with our historic vision for change.

Therefore, the unbroken golden thread permeating all epochs since 1912 up to the present has been the vision for a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society. This is the inspiration that we derive from the heroes and heroines who laid their lives for our political freedom. Irrespective of the new conditions that some have abused to selfishly garner resources exclusively for themselves while the majority live in abject poverty, nonetheless, we must fight to sustain the golden thread of our struggle, which is essentially the ANC vision for change as already alluded to.

It is important that we insist that the exercise of democracy on both policy and leadership issues must not be a matter of life and death, as that in itself promotes factionalism.

The result of factionalism is what transpired towards, during and after the National Conference in Polokwane. As a consequence of waging factionalist battles, which former President Thabo Mbeki eloquently warned us about, we lost many good comrades, many of them joining the newly formed COPE, while some were just in the political doldrums. We must not make Mangaung to be another Polokwane. We must not take pride in the demise of comrades merely because we differed with them as this is destructive to the integrity of the ANC.

This is because as already argued, one of the key tenet on the integrity of the ANC is that it has enlisted people of various ideologies or political view points, some radical while some moderate, some capitalist while some communist. But the new tendency of factionalism where power becomes the licence of those elected to the exclusion of those not elected is exactly what is fueling factionalism and patronage.

Leaders are seen as headway for the given faction to advance itself in the name of the movement. That is why we have re-published the speech delivered by former President Thabo Mbeki when he warned us about the decay that he had observed towards Polokwane in his opening Political Report to National Conference.

Factionalism breeds a culture of intolerance, and often even the Constitution and policies of the ANC risk abuse to further the ends of a faction. Leaders who are known to be factional will have the audacity to speak about what the ANC Constitution says, or what the policies, culture and tradition of the ANC are, while abusing these for selfish ends and not for selfless struggle as it were prior to 1994.

It is our contention that despite the changed political landscape, it is still possible to wage a selfless struggle for the emancipation of all our people. The new conditions post 1994 admittedly encourage selfish tendencies, but if we are to sustain the integrity of the ANC, or rather restore it, we need to ensure that it is seen as an ally of all our people for the total emancipation of all our people.

It is for this reason that we have declared as our slogan, Economic Freedom in our Lifetime! Our belief is that the ANC must be moulded and geared towards waging such a worthy struggle, which will ensure the integrity of the movement is self evident amongst the masses of our people.

For so long, we have missed the point on the character of the ANC, and waged struggles that defend incumbent leaders and the mistakes they make to the detriment of the integrity of the organization. As a result for instance, we have unfairly excluded many of our comrades who could bring value in the organization because of this tendency to be pre-occupied with defending certain leaders and their mistakes, purporting this to be a defence of the organsiation when in fact not.

In Mangaung, we must make a distinction between any leader and the movement. Many colossal leaders came and passed on, but the movement remains. If any leader has become a liability to the integrity of the organization, we must not feel ashamed to ditch that leader in favour of one that would restore the integrity of the organization. This has been the culture and tradition of the movement. Most of the Presidents, except Chief Albert Luthuli who died in office, were democratically removed. And when they were removed they did not become pariahs.

It does not mean therefore that after removing say the President, that we will begin to ill-treat him. As the Mo Ebrahim Prize seek to do, we must encourage leaders to voluntarily step down and not overstay their welcome even when that seriously divide the ANC. That is why we were happy when President Zuma had indicated that he would serve only one term, because our projections in terms of the leadership needs of our movement that would suit the organization very well. Needless to say, we were obviously disappointed when apparently he changed his mind.

As a result of Africa's leadership tendency to overstay their welcome, this year's Mo Ebrahim Prize is without a recipient! We must encourage African leaders not to be afraid of leaving office, and reassure them that there is life beyond Presidency and people such as Joaquin Chissano, Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela could attest to that. It seems many in Africa still find it difficult to emulate the noble example set by the late Julius Nyerere. It's for this reason that the post colonial dispensation in Africa lost any sense of integrity amongst the masses of its own people and the world over.

Very critically, in restoring the integrity of the ANC, is that we must ensure that go back to the basics and ensure that the organization is once again one with the masses of our people. Amongst key concerns must be how ANC structures, particularly ANC branches and regions, deal with the spectre of service delivery which has resulted into the notorious service delivery protests. Amongst the Alliance, we must be very worried that the working class, particularly the mineworkers, have lost confidence in the NUM and COSATU.

Yet again, it seems be it in the ANC or COSATU or NUM, we are more concerned about defending the integrity of specific individual leaders, even when such have proved to be a liability on the basic mandate to provide leadership to their respective organizations. These are tendencies similar to those of dictators who would rather go down with the country than relinquish power or accede that they have made terrible mistakes. Instead patronage and factionalism kicks in to buttress their support against the evidence of their poor leadership.

In Mangaung we must deliver an organization that truly speaks and echo what our people say, and not what some syndicated patronage would want to impose and disguise this as the organization. The dangers of taking a distorted organization to Mangaung is that the distortion would not last long after Mangaung, and would show as those elected would not enjoy the support of the masses of our people and the first barometer might as well be the 2014 National General Elections.

In order to go to the 2014 National General Elections with confidence, we must ensure that we have our house in good order in terms of organization, leadership, policies and programmes. All these must enjoy the popular support of all our people and not a faction of a syndicated system of patronage that would have corrupted and undermined the integrity of our organsiation.

One of the sector that for instance we must win is the media. Often the case we have created adversity between the organization and the media. Yet gain, often the case it would be because we are defending poor or corrupt leaders. Mangaung must make it clear that the integrity of the organisation will not be sacrificed to defend the blunders of leaders. Leaders must serve the organization and not the other way round. In this way their role as leaders will enjoy the respect of our people because that scenario clearly assert that the reason why certain people are leaders is because they want to serve our people. We must therefore make concerted effort at ensuring that the media become ally on the historic vision for change, which is a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

As we celebrate Media Freedom Day, we must re-assert the indispensability of the media in buttressing our democratic order. Of course the media must also expect that we will be critical of its role, as we must of all the other three estates, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

The result of factionalist leadership is that we then have propaganda leaks such as the suggestion that the ANCYL former President Fikile Mbalula had apparently begged to be part of what has been defined as a 'Zuma faction'.

This cannot be any closer to the truth and comrade Fikile Mbalula duly rubbished this propaganda with the contempt is deserves. We are agreed with him that those who have appointed themselves political prostitutes are doing no one any favours but bringing down the integrity of the organization.

One of the very divisive tendencies of a factionalist inclined leadership is that of inconsistency.

This is when it becomes a culture that when the interests of certain people are at stake, the organizational official mouth piece will be used to defend them, but when those not considered not to be those circles, they would have to fight their own battles. That is factionalist and National Conference must reject this tendency as it undermines the unity and cohesion of the organization. Political office must not been seen to serve certain people, as that is very divisive to the core. The ANC must speak for all of us as members irrespective of favourable disposition to any specific leader be it the President or anyone else.

In conclusion, the integrity of the ANC is at stake, and to deny that would be denying self evident facts. A scientific approach would determine that we deal with the facts as they are, and not be idealists who wish things were different without doing anything to effect the difference. Critical analysis demand that we show nobody any favours, because ours is the defence of the organization and the revolution and not the personal interests of anyone, even if those may be disguised as interests of the organization or of the people. Many times we shy away from telling the truth as is, because of the cult of leadership, misappropriating what is meant by respect.

Thus to see that the emperor is naked and consequently point out the fact is not to undermine the person of the emperor but to save the dignity and integrity of the empire at large. Many madmen could be vagabonds wandering about naked and the shame is drawn to themselves, but a leader undermines not only own personality but the integrity of the organization as a whole.

Of course there are those who would prefer to lie to the emperor and pretend to admire the "invisible suit", when all they needed to say is that Mr Empiror you are naked please dress up. Even the biblical Nebuchadnezzar left the throne when he was besieged by madness and lived like a wild animal in the wild for to retain him would have been to undermine the whole Babylonian Empire. The point is that leadership requires above reproach conduct as that is the image of the organization.

When we say no one is above the organization, we mean all and sundry. In Mangaung we better put that into action and begin to build a movement that will see the ANC's historic pride amongst our people and across the world restored. We therefore remind all ANC branches and related structures, that they have serious responsibility towards restoring the integrity of our glorious movement!

Our struggle has produced many iconic leaders such as former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former ANC President Oliver Tambo, former ANC Secretary General Walter Sisulu, former President Thabo Mbeki, Dr Mamphele Ramphele and countless others. As the ANC we must begin to appreciate these stalwarts, even those of the masses democratic movement as that will ensure that we rightfully attribute the various roles played by our people towards a better life for all. We must not be so narrow as to think only those elected in Mangaung are leaders, because the ANC's leadership in society will be enhanced by recognizing the role played by all our people, including civil society and that is true leadership.

Leadership must not mean glorifying ourselves and turning ourselves into instant heroes, and suppressing the noble roles played by our people. If we dare alienate many of these other leaders and our people generally speaking, then we will fail in our endeavour to provide leadership in society. Leadership means recognizing that others too have significant role to play. Leadership does not mean a few elected individuals being everything to all the nation's challenges, as that is not realistically practical it is partly why the ANC would loose integrity amongst many who feel they have solutions but have no avenue to ensure their implementation.

The ANC must provide leadership by mobilizing all sectors of society to partake in the reconstruction of our country. We must not create an organisation that antagonises various sections of society and the people in their masses when in fact their people's actions are due to a vacuum of leadership in society. As revolutionaries, we must make leaders account for any suspected decay of the ANC as the Chinese fondly say "the fish rots from the head" and society reflects the image of its leadership.

The best way for the ANC to restore its historic noble place in the hearts and minds of our people is by being one at all times with their various struggles and unite these diverse sections of society through exemplary leadership towards our historic goals of a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society.


Ronald Lamola
Deputy President: ANCYL

This ANC is above any individual and any factional battle

26 October 2012

The African National Congress Youth League will be postponing the OR Tambo Rally that was supposed to be held tomorrow, 27th October. This we are doing because we have been schooled in and understand the time honoured traditions of our movement, the ANC and we hold its traditional principles sacrosanct. The OR Tambo Rally was organized by the ANC Youth League more than 2 months ago to celebrate the life of one of its founding fathers and greatest revolutionaries of our movement, Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo. All necessary protocols including informing the African National Congress through the Secretary-General`s Office were complied with. There was no competing programme at any point.

We are not surprised however to note that President Zuma has agreed to address a rally in the same area organized by the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC the following day. This swiftly organized rally is nothing but a blatant and immature act to sabotage the activities of the ANC Youth League, further evidence of how far some amongst us are willing to go to preserve the status quo while shouting for change on other platforms.

The reason is simply because the ANC Youth League rally was meant to be addressed by Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe, the people`s choice for President of the ANC. Successfully, they have capitalized on our love for this movement which will never allow a situation where traditions and values of the movement are undermined by those who are supposed to lead it with integrity and honour.

We will therefore not stoop to the level where the ANC is shown to be a movement riddled with factionalism where individuals are prepared to compromise its integrity and standing by parading Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and President Zuma in a unsightly and undignified manner for the enjoyment of those who are yet to learn to rise above factional interests.

Details of the new date will be communicated in due course.

Issued by the African National Congress Youth League

Blade Nzimande vulgarises a necessary national debate

26 October 2012

The African National Congress Youth League is the political preparatory school of the African National Congress. The members of the ANC Youth League, from a very early age, learn at the feet of seasoned and experienced leaders of our movement of the glory that is the ANC, what it means to be an ANC leader and the role ANC should play as the legitimate leader of society. Leaders of the ANC therefore have a huge responsibility to be above reproach in word and in deed as dictated to by our seminal document, Through the Eye of the Needle.

It was with astonishment therefore that the ANC Youth League read of the utterances made by Dr. Blade Nzimande, supposedly in defence of President Zuma, calling President Mbeki an HIV/Aids denialist. Dr. Nzimande has reached the lowest levels of intellectual engagement, demonstrating an inability to discuss the content and merit of the issues raised by President Mbeki resorting rather to name calling, a silly and immature reaction to any debate. Dr. Nzimande is supposed to be a communist, the vanguard of the working class, capable of a rigorous and robust debate and exchange of ideas.

To attack individuals and their supposedly "questionable legacy" does not contribute anything to the necessary national debate that Dr. Nzimande is now vulgarising. The ANC Youth League has constantly said that the defence of leaders cannot be at the expense of the integrity of the ANC. No person therefore should hide behind defending President Zuma to stop the nation from debating issues of national interest, different ideas should blossom. The ANC itself has made an acknowledgement that all is not well in the movement, hence the National Policy Conference agreed on a need for radical and urgent transformation to address poverty, inequality and unemployment and emphasized the need for organizational renewal at all levels.

Now it cannot be that the self-appointed defender of President Zuma expects everyone to bury their heads in the sand and not comment about what is arguably one of the most difficult periods in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Denialist too is a subjective term, open to all manner of interpretations, as the ANC Youth League we understand denialist to also include those who refused that an independent forum should be established outside the South African Communist Party to investigate the black plastic bag saga.

We trust that moving forward, Dr. Nzimande will use the lessons of history rather than ammunition against those he considers attackers of the President Zuma, but rather as reflective and considered criticism to propel the ANC to deliver on the aspirations of the people. Criticism indeed is one principles of the ANC`s organisational democracy and we celebrate it. We hope too, that Dr. Nzimande will follow his own criticism of President Mbeki and raise issues in the correct structures such as the National Executive Committee if he was of the opinion that an ex-officio member of the NEC needed to be admonished.

Issued by the African National Congress Youth League

Khusela Sangoni-Khawe
ANCYL Head of Communications
079 510 5408

ANC leaders colludes with mine managers, workers continue to suffer

24 October 2012

The past two months have told a shameful story of the benefits received by ANC leaders from South Africa`s mineral wealth while the majority of people continue to wallow in poverty and unemployment. Revelations of the interests in mining companies held by high ranking comrades confirm the long held view of the ANC Youth League that the people`s legitimate call for nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy, particularly mines, were dismissed as a result of the narrow, vested interests some hold in these mining houses. Interests that have undoubtedly been proven to be individualistic, hypocritical and self-serving.

Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa has lost any credibility as a genuine leader of the people and a revolutionary committed to the cause of the working class. With his email to Police Minister, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa, Comrade Ramaphosa delivered the more than 40 people to their death at Marikana. Comrade Cyril`s preoccupation with the preservation of his monetary interests in Lonmin led him to call for "concomitant action" to deal with the "criminal acts". As a seasoned unionist, the ANC Youth League expected more from Comrade Ramaphosa. The criminal acts he spoke of were the legitimate calls of workers demanding a decent wage. We concur with the assertions made by the legal representative of the workers, Marikana was a premeditated murder of our people and Comrade Cyril has the blood of Marikana workers on his hands. Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa must apologise to the families of the injured and the dead for agitating and inciting the South African Police against them. Police Minister is still to answer from whom he gets his orders.

In this climate of selfishness and bloodcurling greed, other leaders of the ANC look on silently while mining houses continue to victimize and marginalise our people. Goldfields fires with impunity striking workers and threatens those who will not return to work with the same action. Prominent leaders of the ANC are shareholders of Goldfields and intentionally or unintentionally sit back and watch the spectacle unfold. The African National Congress Youth League calls for a moratorium of all dismissals of workers and a return to order within the mining industry. It is a demonstration of failure or lack of leadership when management, organized labour and government are unable to steer the organisations they are meant to be leading. The call for nationalization of mines has never been more urgent and we call on ANC leaders with vested interests in the mining industry to subordinate their interests in favour of the collective good of all in South Africa as demanded by the Freedom Charter

Issued by the African National Congress Youth League

Khusela Sangoni-Khawe
ANCYL Head of Communications
079 510 5408

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