Our people have always demonstrated their love for and loyalty to our leaders. As a result, all our leaders have always risen to take their rightful place in the common struggle for a better life for all our people. Through our efforts as the ANC, we have strived for only one thing – the political and economic emancipation of all our people, a noble struggle we are all still committed to.
As we depart from an eventful past week, a state depleted of trust within itself, accusations and counteraccusations, interdicts and counterinterdicts, and finally a state capture report, it is not an understatement to say our people have began to develop doubt about our unconditional commitment to the full emancipation of all our people, from poverty, joblessness and inequality.
The State of Capture report, though not earth shattering, nonetheless represented a watershed moment in our struggle of building a model country for Africa and the world.
The dark clouds of political uncertainty have gathered over our movement and country for a few years now and the sky just refuses to clear. Although the resilience of both our organisation and of the country itself cannot be questioned, the lapses in judgement and leadership have distracted our organisation from continuing to be exemplary in our devotion to creating a prosperous and model South Africa for all our people.
The events of the past week must be a lesson to us to refuse to accept that this political malaise that has been our defining feature for a while now can be the basis for the existence of revolutionary organisation charged with elevating this country into the necessary growth levels that makes change not only organic but ideal.
That we are in the midst of great challenges is now well understood. It does not serve anyone and certainly not our country to suggest that the country’s challenges are someone else’s.
These are all our challenges and all of us must rise to the occasion. We must attack aggressively and reverse the tide that is eating at our human values, attack the mischief that seeks to gloat at our weaknesses, and never allow anyone to reduce the size of our accomplishments at the alter of momentary shortcomings.
At this moment, whether it’s those in the corridors of political power or corporate boardrooms, we must send a clear message that we will not stand the use of whatever tools are necessary for people to continue their stronghold on the political and economic power just because they feel threatened in their momentary hold on such power.
The only way we will get out of this malaise is for our degree of passion, the depth of commitment and the level of individual contribution towards rebuilding to be intensified now, without delay. With that level of individual dedication, we shall all then carry a vivid impression of millions upon millions of our people who have been saying, this country deserves better.
What is important though is that all of us, South Africans, irrespective of our stations in life, are emissaries of a common cause, committed to the building and the promotion of this democratic South Africa that has been the envy of the whole world. We must therefore conduct a concerted offensive against the monster of corruption that is eating at our moral fibre, proceeding from the common position that all of us see corruption as a cancer that can compromise generational economic growth of this country and derail all our long-term plans. First among these, a better life for each and every South African. We have to stop the use of legal and administrative terror, fear, confusion, media and misinformation as devices to attempt to retain this power stronghold and keep the current hierarchy’s as long as is possible.
Individual commitment must never distract any of us from fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by Madiba and his legendary team – representatives of the people answering questions to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns back to our nation’s capital. Others call it “Parliament on Your Corner” – just an updated version of government of, by and for the people.
In the end, all of us, we must all expand our imagination – imagine for a moment you a young man or woman beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day you, too, might play a part in shaping your nation’s future.
What can you do today? If you are a student you can begin to run for the student council. You can begin to see public service as something exciting and hopeful. You can begin to raise your hand and run for office. This could help us outgrow cynicism or vitriol that has the potential to derail us and exonerate our individual role in making things better.
These words remain timeless, that we must “ask not what our country can do for us, we must ask what we can do for our country”. DM
Yonela Diko is ANC Western Cape Spokesman