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No alternative to the ANC, but Kgalema Motlanthe admits there are serious problems within the party

No alternative to the ANC, but Kgalema Motlanthe admits there are serious problems within the party
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe. (Photo: Mduduzi Ndzingi / Gallo / Tiso Blackstar)

The ANC’s once proud legacy has in the past few years been seriously tarnished by poor service delivery, corruption and a battered economy. However, former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe believes that no other political party has the ability to take over.

The ANC’s former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe says a suitable body is yet to be formed as an alternative to the ruling party. He says while the ANC has a prestigious history, the party has been unable to find its purpose post-1994.

Motlanthe was speaking to Daily Maverick on the sidelines of his foundation’s Inclusive Growth Forum which took place at the weekend in the Drakensberg.

“The ANC must be the embodiment of the highest standards in society, then there will be no tolerance of malfeasance and wrongdoing. It manifests itself in simple things.

“The ANC… served as the parliament of the people. Come 1994, the ANC is a legal organisation; it is unbanned. The question the ANC should have posed to itself at that point is, for 82 years we have been part of the struggle on behalf of the people — now what role are we going to play?”

He believes a new cohort of activists will have to rally together to find ways to turn the situation in the country around.

“The alternative does not exist, so it is going to emerge from a re-alignment because there will be many good South Africans located in all kinds of formations — and some who are not even in any formation — and that organisation that is going to take the country forward will come out of a new vision and people will see themselves in the vision,” he said.

Motlanthe’s criticism of the ANC

anc motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe raised concerns about the current and upcoming crop of party leaders, saying they have not been able to assist with building the party. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

The man who served as democratic South Africa’s third president for eight months said the basic functions of the party are not fully operational, making it an arduous task for many to be active in the ANC when they are not leading in any structures.

“I am an ordinary member of the ANC, but the way the party is structured, I am excluded from the political life of the party because branch general meetings never happen,” he said.

He raised concerns about the current and upcoming crop of party leaders, saying they have not been able to assist with building the party.

The ANC heads to its 55th conference in December, where a new leadership will be elected.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Kgalema Motlanthe returns to support Ramaphosa when trusted people are few and far between” 

“The ANC is led by young people who were leaders of Cosas and Sasco — whether you go to the branches, it’s them, and ordinarily this should be cause for celebration… we should be saying the organisation is in good hands and it has a future because it is in the hands of generations who represent the future.

“The fact that it is standing and that prestige keeps on waning because of what it does and says and fails to do, is a worrying sign that perhaps these young people have learnt the wrong things instead of bringing new energy and thinking — that is a concern.

“For any organisation at any given time to command respect and high prestige, it has to be a true representative of the party itself. You can say all things about Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, but the ANC the people know is my neighbour, and if my conduct and general attitude and how I relate to other people brings about a negative response, that is a problem,” he said. 

anc motlanthe

‘We do not have a national cause, which means good people are in search of a cause,’
says Kgalema Motlanthe. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Masi Losi)

Motlanthe went on to speak about the general state of the country, suggesting the government should work with those who want to contribute positively to improve the current situation.

“South Africa is at the point where there are lots of negatives… the municipalities are not functioning well, the economy is not growing at the right rate, unemployment levels are high, inequality, poverty and supply of water and electricity is a problem.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: “South Africa needs these five fundamentals to change course and start rebuilding 

Motlanthe added: “At the same time, there are South Africans who are doing excellent work… but all that is not connected because it is not located within a framework… what [former deputy finance minister] Mcebisi Jonas refers to as a national cause.

“So, good people who are doing good things end up doing that in silos, whereas there could be tributaries decanting into a framework which would take the country forward.

“There are many dialogues and discussions, conferences and commissions taking place, trying to find a solution, and it is all outside of a framework. 

“We do not have a national cause, which means good people are in search of a cause,” he said.

In his opening speech delivered on Friday evening, Motlanthe described the country as being “on the precipice”. This sparked a backlash from the leadership structures of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo.

Motlanthe was lambasted, along with former presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, who also had speaking engagements where they mentioned the degeneration of the country under President Cyril Ramaphosa’s watch.

During a media briefing on Saturday, Zuma said Ramaphosa had “committed treason” and should not have been allowed to do private business as President.

Meanwhile, Mbeki delivered the keynote speech at the annual general meeting of the Strategic Dialogue Group, where he said the party was being led by criminals. He also reflected on the Phala Phala scandal.

KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo deemed the remarks from the former presidents as an attack on Ramaphosa and took the opportunity to defend the president. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jeroen Dubbelman says:

    Ok! Let’s say only the ANC can take the country forward, based on the past we know it won’t be under the present processes. The ANC branch voting for the top 6 and the NEC is never going to work as vote buying is the order of the day. Opponents are assassinated and there will always be factionalism.

    An alternative would be to ask that at very least the ordinary citizen vote for the top 6. Naturally if the entire NEC was voted in by the public it would mean fewer assassinations and less factional fighting. The vote buying will be reduced enormously.

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      What damage to South Africa has the ANC done in the last 25 years or so? SA has been TRASHED by the ANC!! Time for change. That is why we have a democracy.

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Mr Motlanthe,

    Would you accept that there are as many people of goodwill, who wish the best for our country, outside the ANC, as within?

    Would it then not be a good idea for people such as yourself and others you mention in this article, to reach out and form alliances with others, like-minded?

    Must our future, all of our futures, forever be held hostage by petty Party politics?

  • Derrick Kourie says:

    It is tiresome to keep hearing the claim that there is “no alternative to the ANC”. This untrue assertion is constantly stated by various commentators, without giving any evidence of their claim. But there is evidence to the contrary. The DA has been governing the Western Cape for a long time. Voters there therefore regard the DA as an alternative to the ANC. The DA (and its many coalition partners in urban areas) might not be perfect, but the country is clearly starting to regard such coalitions — warts and all — as viable alternatives to the ANC. Commentators really need to stop putting forward this unsubstantiated “no alternative” falsehood.

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      100% correct. The media has a lot to answer for. How many times in articles that have nothing to do with the DA one would see a snide anti-DA comment inserted by the journalist. How many times does one see a snide personal comment against a DA politician. Think of all the snide comments one has read about Helen Zille made by people who have never met her. Now check whether those comments are true, Helen Zille is a great lady, NOTHING snide about her. We live in a supposed democracy, if the media destroy the non-racial democratic opposition we WILL end up with a racist dictatorship!

      • Matsobane Monama says:

        As long as the DA doesn’t make aggressive inroads into the Townships and rural areas everything here is wishful thinking. The sooner GOD ZILLE is kicked out of DA the better, she remains a polarizing figure, REMEMBER her posts about COLONIALISM, that hurt a lot of Africans.

        • John Smythe says:

          It’s because you wanted to take offense and your perception of the DA as a “white” party. Not because you wanted to objectively look at the context and real meaning of the post. She could have worded it differently. But she’s always fought for the best for South Africans. Something the ANC can’t claim to say. And Zille isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Look beyond white party, and look for competence and good government. The ANC isn’t that. And never will be.

          • Matsobane Monama says:

            For starters i am Not an ANC member, those tweets shouldn’t have come into the public domain, worded differently? NO. She refused to apologize , stubborn, and showed no remorse. Even some DA members were unhappy with her. Let’s hear ur real comments when one of your family is taken out by criminals, the structure of the African remains Broken bcos of Colonialism and Apartheid. Reducing our past to a mere ANC corrupt and incompetence is being economical with the truth and lack of taking responsibility for Your violence and evil deeds.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      We have all been guilty of that or some of us have allowed this nonsense to be peddled that there is no alternative. However, in reality everything is an alternative to the ANC. You can listen to the analysts saying this nonsense as if other parties matter not. It is time to tell the ANC that the Donkey Party is better than the thieving and stealing ANC that is treasonous.

  • Nick Griffon says:

    Rubbish. SA cannot survive another 5 years of ANC incompetence and criminality.
    What we should hope for is that ActionSA and the DA combined will be stronger than the ANC and EFF. Otherwise I fear that it may be the end for SA.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    What a load of nonsense!! I respect Montlanthe as one of the very few respected, principled and old-guard leaders of a ONCE noble movement, but he is wrong! The party he has in mind ceased to exist ages ago – it belongs in the sewerage. The ANC over the last 15 to 20 years and especially under the vile and thieving Zuma, has proven that it is unfit to govern, is highly compromised and corrupt, is a criminal syndicate, incredibly incompetent and just another useless liberation movement way past its sell by date. The country is bankrupt, a wasteland and on its knees. So much promise in 1994, squandered and stolen by the hyena that is the ANC. Voting for the ANC means more of the same rapacious greed, arrogance, aloofness, mismanagement and decadence. There is an old Portuguese saying – the flies change but the shit remains the same! SA needs a complete break from this awful, predatory and thieving party!

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    There is no alternative to the ANC as they never had a true desire for a true democracy. It was only a ruse to gain power and maintain it forever. The ignorant world including, and most especially the West fell for this and helped create the monster that imprisons us today.

  • Sam van Coller says:

    Unfortunately for all South Africans, the ANC is itself the victim of ever-increasing, extreme inequality. There is money to be made in South Africa if you work hard and use your initiative – as many, many loyal South Africans do. But when you do not have the skills to access it legitimately, securing a position of power in the governing party is the best option for getting there. Unbridled greed takes over and it matters not if you might even have to assassinate someone in the way or land up in orange overalls. We have to be hopeful that the new measures will reduce the feeding frenzy to more manageable levels but they have to accompany both a short and long term strategy that tackles extreme inequality. Education is the linchpin to such a strategy. The ANC is not capable of developing such a strategy. Business needs to stop sitting on its hands and punch at its real weight in society. It is a Joe Louis not a Viccie Toweel. Assisted by professionals with vision and energy it could pilot a new education road that will surprise everyone. If SADTU can accept a 3% wage increase, everything is possible in the private sector. We cannot wait for the ANC to ‘refresh’ – it wont.

  • Rg Bolleurs says:

    Of course there’s an alternative to the ANC. It’s the DA, and if voters had any idea what was in their best interests, the DA would be in power tomorrow.

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    So why is half of South Africa semigrating to the DA ruled Western Cape? Because they’re getting it right and if allowed they’ll get get it right in the rest of South Africa too. You can’t use the word “rule” and “ANC” in the same sentence. Its a complete oxymoron.

  • John Smythe says:

    “There are serious problems within the party”? Really? He makes it sound like a walk in the park. The problems are a little more than serious Mr Motlanthe. The ANC is an empty vessel. Its relevance ended in 1994 when there was no longer a reason to struggle. After the elections, the country didn’t need comrades and clowns who think they deserve high places in government because they were a part of the struggle. SA needed a good government. Not a liberation organisation. And, No! The ANC doesn’t need more “activists”. It needs competent, intelligent, qualified and honest people to make a working government. The ANC has had almost 30 years to make itself relevant. But it’s failed. It’s now irrelevant and must now fall on its sword and bow out of the race. The ANC inherited a good functioning infrastructure and system that it had to build on to make lives better for all (not just whites). But it has failed, and failed and failed again, again and again. Grey-beards like yourself and good people from the ANC and other parties (except for those fascist clowns), must form a competent government that can do a proper job of fixing SA. Comrades are has-beens. Go build bombs and fire AK47’s somewhere else.

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