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President Zuma, the ANC has become something that I don’t know but you can change that


Rebone Tau is a political commentator and author of The Rise and Fall of the ANCYL. She is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Pan-African Thought & Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg. She writes in her personal capacity.

I don’t even know where to start as I write this open letter to President JG Zuma. I am in pain as I reflect on the state of the glorious movement of our people, the ANC; it has become something that I do not know.

The centre of the ANC is not holding. The factionalism is getting worse and the gate-keeping of membership continues under your leadership. Mr President, you are the person who can still save the organisation and hand over an ANC that is solid and stronger as your term of office comes to an end in December 2017. It is not too late for you to give political direction that can make us all unite and save the glorious movement of the people. The ANC can no longer pride itself as a leader of society, South Africans are on their own and now leading themselves.

The ANC has become something that I don’t know and it is even difficult to recruit people who are activists, people who want to make a difference in society, people who don’t want to join the ANC in order to enrich themselves. We seem to be attracting those who see the ANC as their ticket to making money and getting jobs. The issue of tribalism is rife nationally although we are very silent in the movement about this; the ANC as we know it was not formed on tribalism in 1912.

The movement seems to be degenerating, we no longer have honest, frank and robust discussions among ourselves and when some have a view, articulating these even publicly, they are labelled as a clever black or a sell-out. Daily we are subjected to politics of the stomach, there is no longer a battle of ideas.

There is now a battle of the stomach and personal enrichment at all costs. The ANCYL, ANCWL and MKMVA have become something that I don’t know, they are no longer relevant to their constituencies that they are supposed to serve and lead. But I do believe it is not too late to correct everything and make sure that the leagues are strong and relevant in society. The ANC is going to its elective conference in December and it is highly divided: Unite the movement, Mr President, it is the year of OR Tambo. As we celebrate his life, please do it for him, unite the organisation in his honour.

When one looks at how the state is run today under your leadership, we break down and ask themselves how we got here? Since 2009 there has not been any stability in government, looking at how DGs are being suspended and fired it is disheartening and worrying. It can’t be that ministers just do as they please and they are not held to account for the mess they are putting the country in. South Africa is no longer respected globally and even in the continent; we need stability in the state for us to build a strong and growing economy, not an economy that is in junk status and characterised by downgrades. There are ministers who are doing wrong things but they are seen to be close to you Mr President and as a result they will never be removed from their positions. We can’t talk about the corruption that is happening in the private sector if we don’t talk about the corruption that is happing in the state and root it out.

We both know that every country’s foreign policy is informed by its national interests. Today I sit here and ask myself, what is our foreign policy? We seem to be just reacting to issues of the day, patriotism is dead among South Africans. We lost our troops in Central Africa Republic (CAR) and South Africans have forgotten; in Sudan we pulled out our troops without any explanation. We no longer pride ourselves on being South Africans and Africans.

Investors and the international community are as lost as I am, they don’t know where South Africa is going. Mr President, I am pleading with you as a young person, people don’t want the ANC to go down, please don’t allow the government to collapse, it is a humble plea to you, Mr President. As young people of the ANC, we do not want to inherit and lead a dead ANC that will have failed the people of South Africa. DM


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