Opinionista Omry Makgoale 7 May 2018

North West and the ANC – voters must come first, Comrade President

It must always be “Batho Pele” – the people first – for politicians, as one would expect, but more especially for ANC leaders who are supposed to live according to the Through the Eye of the Needle policy.

Batho Pele” was the policy of the department of social welfare, as articulated by the late Zola Skweyiya. It would be expected that in North West the ANC leadership should put the interests of the people (that is, of the voters) first. Yet it is now almost a month since the people of North West have been demanding that premier Supra Mahumapelo must go.

President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short his trip to the Commonwealth leaders’ conference in the UK prematurely in April to attend to the flames in North West and supposedly to call for Premier Supra Mahumapelo to go, but it appears the president got stuck in the quicksand of slates and faction politics at Luthuli House and the Mahikeng ANC provincial office.

The North West ANC provincial executive committee still supports Mahumapelo despite the anger of the masses against him. The interests of the North West ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) is diametrically opposite to the interests of the voters in the province. The PEC have reinforced their position in the trenches to remain in power at all costs, disregarding the interests of the voters in province.

But the voters in North West have had enough of Mahumapelo’s shenanigans, so which way for the ANC?

Do you continue with deployment of the current provincial leadership despite the disapproval of the population? Do you continue nursing the slate dynamics from the ANC’s 54th elective conference at Nasrec December 2017, at the expense of the voters in North West? With the general election only 12 months away, can you still hope for loyal support from the voters in North West despite prioritising the interest of the Zuma/Gupta machinery … ahead of them?

The fact is, it is not possible to satisfy the Zuma/Gupta machinery slate running the province. They wish to continue looting unabated and they call it Radical Economic Transformation, with Mediosa mobile clinic being taken as part of the project of this so-called Radical Economic Transformation. The Mahumapelo leadership claims to believe they are fighting “white monopoly capital” through projects such as these.

Comrade Ramaphosa, our primary interests should always be with the voters, the people of North West. They bore the brunt of the struggle against apartheid in the province, just as they now bear the brunt of corruption unleashed by Mahumapelo and the Guptas in North West. They witnessed the Guptas’ wedding at Sun City, paid for by the people of South Africa. They were treated with racist slurs by the Gupta guests who did not want to be served by black staff, preferring white staff.

We are expected to believe that these Guptas are for black economic empowerment when they could not even tolerate our people cleaning their hotel rooms. It is a sour irony that the wedding was paid for by our tax money, the tax money from the very people who are supposed to serve them in their rooms.

We know that there are caste systems in India, where the Guptas come from, but we do not need that in South Africa. We have had more than our share of debilitating segregation under apartheid and we do not wish to replace that with a caste system, with the Guptas on top.

Supra Mahumapelo and the Gupta deployees who are currently running North West province must go. No public relations exercise can change their fortunes.

ANC members in North West should be given the opportunity to elect a new provincial leadership on the basis of One ANC Member, One Vote . This is the only way to get rid of the slates, factions and vote rigging. Failure to change the current branch electoral systems in the ANC can only produce the same rigged results as before. We cannot expect any better without changing the way we elect leaders inside the ANC.

Yet this is a life-and-death question for the ANC as it prepares to come face to face with the voters of South Africa in May 2019.

How do we stand before the people of South Africa – as the party of corruption, of national betrayal in the interests of three foreign brothers, of contempt and disregard for the needs and interests of the people, or as a party that shows by actions, not just words, that it is serious and capable of reforming itself?

Which ANC are you leading, Comrade President – the ANC of Nelson Mandela, or the ANC of Zuma and the Guptas?

Can the ANC address the massively accumulating needs of the people, with honesty and dedication?

The crisis in North West will give the answer. DM

Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views

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