It’s time to break free of the ANC

2017-08-20 06:17
President Jacob Zuma  (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)

President Jacob Zuma (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)

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It is up to South Africans to free themselves from the mental slavery of historical loyalty to a party that has betrayed its promises.

The recent parliamentary no confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma was an eye opener even for the blindest loyal ANC supporter. The ANC leadership sought to force parliamentarians to privilege their loyalty to the ANC over their oaths of office to uphold the values of the Constitution of South Africa.

The choice was quite stark – supporting a motion to remove from office a man who not only came into it facing 783 charges of corruption, but one who has demonstrated beyond any doubt his total defiance of any code of conduct that defends and upholds our celebrated Constitution. His conduct has been characterised by total impunity. Yet the ANC urged its MPs not to vote in support of the motion of no confidence that could have freed our nation from this man who is making a mockery of our sacred constitutional democracy. He is trampling on the blood of martyrs such as Ahmed Timol, Solomon Mahlangu, Mapetla Mohapi and Stephen Bantu Biko.

To add insult to injury, he went public after the failed motion with a statement that ANC parliamentarians cannot claim a right to voting with a conscience, they should be guided only by an ANC conscience in decisionmaking. Not surprisingly, Zuma loyalist Bathabile Dlamini had preceded Zuma’s statement asserting that it wasn’t conscience that brought her to Parliament, but the ANC.

South African citizens have to now come to grips with the reality that we are currently dealing with a party that is usurping our sovereignty as citizens of a constitutional democracy and seeking to install itself as the sovereign.

The fundamental question we face is whether we are willing to live in an era in which, just as in our past, an oppressor uses the most effective weapon – our minds – to oppress us while claiming to be our liberator. Whether or not we allow ourselves to be held in bondage by liberation pretenders who have demonstrated their utter contempt for the national interests of our country is entirely in our hands as citizens.

Betrayed the promise of freedom

What further evidence do we need to conclude that the ANC leadership has betrayed the promise of freedom? Our children’s futures lie in ruins as our schools underperform even war-torn countries such as Yemen. Young people in their millions roam our streets with their dreams in tatters, while the elites splurge on luxuries bought with stolen public resources. The leaked Gupta emails detail a level of impunity by Zuma and his Gupta partners that is unprecedented.

Our strategically important state-owned enterprises have been hollowed out by Zuma’s Gupta friends. Instead of being engines of transformative socioeconomic development they have become bankrupt burdens that suck resources from programmes intended for the poorest among us.

The rule of law has been substantially undermined by Zuma. He has destroyed the capacity of law enforcement agents: the SAPS, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority. These have effectively become Zuma’s lapdogs. There is no equality under the law anymore. Women get battered and their abusers walk free. Even Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe can walk into our country and assault a woman for being in the company of her sons and get away without being held to account.

The idea that the ANC should be kept in power as the leader of society would be laughable, if it was not so excruciatingly cruel and callous. It is the equivalent of an abusive spouse urging the other party to stay in the relationship to sustain the relationship because the alternative is unthinkable.

John Henrik Clarke, an African American historian, reminds us that: “To control a people, you must first control what they think of themselves and how they regard their history and culture. And when your conqueror makes you ashamed of your culture and your history, he needs no prison walls and no chains to hold you.” This is the definition of mental slavery. South African citizens seem to have allowed themselves to become mental slaves of a political party that claims to be their liberator. Defying and challenging this mental slavery is treated as treachery that people are made to be ashamed of.

We are grateful to those brave leaders and parliamentarians who are increasingly defying this treachery that masquerades as patriotism. The chilling accusations of foreign-inspired regime change only expose the level to which the mental enslavers are prepared to go to keep citizens prisoners of a corrupt and uncaring ANC government.

We have an epidemic of gender-based violence and abuse of children, yet president Zuma remains silent in the face of the admission by his deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manana, that he assaulted women during this Women’s Month. We cannot even speak of the shame of the ANC Women’s League president, Bathabile Dlamini, who cannot even bring herself to condemn such acts “as she is not a tool, she does not work for newspapers”! With these kinds of leaders one can only conclude that the ANC has lost all legitimacy to represent the ideals of our democracy.

It is now up to South African citizens to decide whether to free themselves from mental slavery of loyalty to an ANC that has betrayed the ideal of our freedom struggle and is undermining our constitutional democracy, or continue being prisoners of historical loyalties.

For women the choice is equally stark. Are we to continue being the mental slaves of a patriarchal system that is abusing and killing women and children, or are we to stand up and say: “Enough is Enough”? We now have powerful young men and women across the spectrum of political persuasion ready to lead. Should we not be resolute in only supporting leaders in public service who live by the values of ubuntu and who respect the dignity of all, especially those most marginalised?

It is no longer an option to say I have no choice. We have the right to make choices as citizens to promote and protect human rights, human dignity and the rule of law. There is no future without living out the values of our hard-won constitutional democracy. Citizens must now lead to ensure that we can shape a future we can proudly leave to our children.

Ramphele is co-founder of ReimagineSA

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Read more on:    bathabile dlamini  |  jacob zuma  |  anc

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