The ANC isn’t about one leader

2012-12-19 11:28

Xolela Mangcu (“Beginning or the end?”, December 17) now admits he got it all wrong in Polokwane when he was blinded by his hatred for Thabo Mbeki and wrote about why Jacob Zuma was the right person to lead the ANC.

This was before he wrote to City Press a little later, saying Terror Lekota was the man for the top job.

Let’s not forget that before then, he had also spent some time convincing us that Tokyo Sexwale was the right man for the job.

So can his latest Armageddon analysis really be taken seriously?

Can the electoral fortunes of one person determine the future of an entire organisation with a 100-year history?

According to Mangcu, we have come to Mangaung to bury the ANC.

Politicians have so many flaws, so if political organisations like the ANC were to survive on the basis of any one leader, they would be setting themselves up to perish.

I believe that politicians require collectivism as a counterbalance for each other and that no one leader can claim overarching powers to salvage an organisation in so much need of renewal.

Mangcu can easily remember that not so long ago people could not imagine the ANC without Mbeki – and he was one of those who argued passionately for Mbeki’s removal from office.

The ANC removed Mbeki and still survived.

But this was after they kept him in their ranks for 50 years and still survived.

The ANC did not remove him in any great deal of hurry. The question of collective leadership cannot be applied selectively.

The ANC has practised this and has no culture of reducing its entire survival to one leader.

Mangcu’s criticism of Zuma’s leadership must be heard and may sound valid.

However, I think the sentiment that seeks to make his election or not the be-all and end-all of the ANC will truly be a misreading of history by analysts who have taken the extreme view about the leadership question in the ANC.

This sadly seems to be fuelled by some strange prejudice and not the issue of corruption as Mangcu now argues.

If this were so, Mangcu would not have recommended Zuma to all of us back in Polokwane, since he was painfully aware of the corruption allegations against Zuma even back then.

The ANC will exist after the election, regardless of the leader its members choose.

There is enough proof that the ANC will not perish based on one person and the branches have enough insight to elect a leadership collective of more than 80 people who will ensure that whoever is leader represents the best traditions of the ANC or faces removal from office.

In its 100-year history, the ANC has seen presidents and general secretaries who were shown the door for bringing the organisation into disrepute.

Eventually, the ANC acts. It may be ridiculed for taking its sweet time sometimes, such as in the case of Julius Malema, but eventually sense will prevail.

I believe that the ANC has done excellent introspection and will ensure that this conference builds on a good foundation that will meet the aspirations of our people.

» Tabane is a businessman and media ­commentator

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