South Africa

South Africa, Politics

Between the Lines – Denis Goldberg: DA captured ANC’s non-racialism

Photo of Denis Goldberg by Ric Lander via Wikimedia Commons.

Denis Goldberg, one of the last surviving Rivonia triallists, has come out swinging after the African National Congress’ humiliating election setbacks across most of South Africa. Goldberg spoke to JOHN MATISONN on Cape Town TV’s BETWEEN THE LINES.

Because Jacob Zuma ran the ANC’s internal intelligence he had the “dirt on everyone” and was ready to use it, “because he is a clever fox of a man”, Denis Goldberg said. Zuma and much of the leadership had to go in an ANC clean-out, with an amnesty for the president so the country can move on.

Goldberg, 83, a University of Cape Town-trained civil engineer who spent 22 years in Pretoria Central Prison for his part as one of the first members of Umkhonto we Sizwe, said the opposition Democratic Alliance had run a nonracial campaign, whereas the ANC’s campaign had been racist in part.

Instead of standing for the equality of all South Africans, the government itself practised “social discohesion”, he said.

The Opposition Mmusi Maimane has captured the policies of the ANC promoting nonracialism,” while the ANC was associated with separateness, Goldberg said. “We have to clean house from top to bottom.”

In a Cape Town TV interview on BETWEEN THE LINES with John Matisonn, Goldberg said his attempts to discuss his serious concerns with the ANC leadership before the election had gone unanswered, and the atmosphere around the ANC leadership was also damaged by the view that their phone calls were being spied on illegally.

The former political prisoner made a wide-ranging attack on ANC corruption and cronyism, saying the party had lost the moral high ground and had abandoned the founding ANC principles of uniting all ethnicities.

He dismissed with “distress” ANC claims that electoral losses could be described as a victory.

Goldberg said a colleague whom he would not name declined to report back to Goldberg on the phone about a meeting with the ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, because their phone conversations were being bugged.

His own letters to Mantashe went unanswered, due to the arrogance of the current leadership, he said. He and others had called for introspection before these setbacks.

Goldberg praised the media for its robust exposure of corruption, but singled out the SABC’s COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for blaming the messenger and not letting his journalists tell the truth.

The ANC veteran, who for a long time had supported President Jacob Zuma, said the leadership had to restore the ANC that he had fought for. Corruption and the abandoning of the nonracism for which he fought could only be reversed with a major replacement of leadership.

A new edition of Goldberg’s memoir, A Life for Freedom: the mission to end racial injustice in South Africa, was published by the University of Kentucky this year. He confirmed that he voted for the ANC in last week’s municipal elections but decried the fact that the ANC’s campaign did not reflect the nonracial values for which he had fought, and that those values were reflected in some opposition parties’ campaigns. DM

John Matisonn is the author of GOD, SPIES AND LIES, Finding South Africa’s future through its past, and host of Cape Town TV’s BETWEEN THE LINES.

Photo of Denis Goldberg by Ric Lander via Wikimedia Commons.


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