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The New Struggle

24 October 2012, 08:33
Would this be in the minds of many ANC loyalists, I can only hope so.

"Dear Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Dennis Goldberg and Nelson Mandela, I greet you all in the name of the continuing economic freedom struggle of our people. 
Your courage in fighting for the emancipation of our country is greatly appreciated. 
I was fed ANC propaganda with my Purity baby food, but I believe the time has come to consciously choose South Africa over the ANC.
The governing party, for many, is like a religion, followed by many without question or doubt. 

Surely comrades, your sacrifices were not for a one-party, one-trade union state? 
The time for a younger, patriotic and selfless leadership, like yours in 1964, is here.

The thinking public laments our bumpy transition from liberation movement to political party, with some pointing out that a liberation movement has to be centralised and secretive while a modern party in government must be influenced by its members and society, and so be more transparent.

The loss of public trust through daily media exposure of the plague of government corruption, which appears to be condoned by the ANC, is deeply seated. 
The public perception is that the Mangaung leadership debate will boil down to who will continue to allow rampant looting of state resources, the dangerous slippery slope of tribalism, or who might make a difference. 

Truth be told, the names being bandied about as top contenders are all synonymous with the rot that plagues the movement. 
The masses so loved by political party leaders at election time have taken to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction. 
Earlier this year, even middle-class armchair critics put on their designer sneakers and marched against ­e-tolling, also reportedly shrouded in corruption and an added burden on our ridiculously taxed wallets. 

In March, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa informed Parliament that between 2007 and 2010, the most common reason for police crowd management of gatherings was labour-related demands for increases in wages, and that unrest requiring police intervention was related to service delivery issues. 
Later in June, City Press reported that 372 protests related to service delivery had been recorded between January and the end of May this year alone. 

In 18 years of democracy, we can still blame apartheid for many social ills, but we must also blame our leaders. 

The disgraceful and shocking non-delivery of textbooks in Limpopo left me cold. 
But the worst thing that broke the soul of South Africa during this fateful year of the ANC’s centenary was the shameful Marikana massacre, reminiscent of the Sharpeville slaughter.

It highlighted aspects of every ill plaguing black society under an ANC-led government: police brutality, wage strikes, corporate greed, failure of natural mineral resource redistribution, flawed implementation of black economic empowerment, violent crime, service-delivery failure, including inhumane slum settlements, unemployment concerns and much more.

The man who shoved his way to the front, taking the reins of leadership in this sorry mess, was Julius Malema, a spat-out child of the movement. In the space of a few days, he single-handedly nullified what little trust I had left in the ageing ANC leadership.

I was raised by courageous men and women, people like you, the Rivonia Trialists, who now need me to tell them it’s time to let go. 
The ANC has never been as self-destructive as it is today. 

Cosatu, the ANC-aligned trade union federation, has driven the economy into free fall as the failure of their collective bargaining strategy, designed to perpetuate the racist status quo, is blowing up in our faces with one strike after another. 

I’m waiting for them to stop blaming third-force right wing elements and take some responsibility. 

And let me not get started on the recent madness of more than R200 million-worth of Nkandla renovations, SAA’s R5 billion bailout and the relentless e-toll attitude of government. 

In 2009, I took longer than usual to vote in the booth, agonising over putting an X next to the face of a man I instinctively knew was bad news.
My love for the ANC won over my reservations. 

In last year’s local government elections, I rebelled, voting for the ANC in my neighbourhood and for another party in the city. 
I am sure Joburg Mayor Parks Tau is capable, but my rebellion against a President Jacob Zuma-led ANC began with that ballot paper. 
To not vote at all in 2014, as many are threatening, will be to dishonour the memory of my uncle, Lesetja Sexwale, and his many fallen comrades who died in combat for my right to vote. 

It will be to disrespect the struggle for which men and woman such as him, men like yourselves, sacrificed their youth. 
Personally, it will be a betrayal of little Kay who was badly injured in a cross-border raid in Lesotho in 1982 when the apartheid forces were hunting down Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants like my father and Chris Hani.

I don’t know who I will vote for. All I know is that Zuma will never again hold office with my consent. 
I know uncle Lesetja and uncle Chris would not view my choice as a betrayal of their sacrifices. I trust that you won’t either. 

I choose South Africa." - Kay Sexwale
My Dearest Kay,
During the years of apartheid there were many, many people who added their voices and supported the struggle for liberation. The liberation struggle in recent times seems to have become synonymous with the the ANC, and particularly black ANC members, and unjustifiably so. 
To add "colour" to the liberation movement is racialistic, and a gross violation of what the movement stood for. The movement has changed from being about people in general to people of colour. That is very sad. The formerly oppressed seem to be becoming the oppressors.

I agree with you that under the Zuma leadership the ANC has taken a direction that will despoil the principles that were established by its earlier leadership. The sad fact is ANC leadership does not exist. What is left of ANC leadership is those who are hungrily feeding off the spoils of the National Treasury. The real leaders have abandoned the ANC leadership for corporate leadership.

I remember a young Cyril Ramaphosa, incarcerated and denied his rights, but to a nail, he stood his ground. He was part of something he was proud of and was prepared to die for. There were many others, one of whom arrived at my door late one night having been released the previous day from prison, emaciated and confused. These were real heroes. Why have these heroes abandoned the ANC?

History has a way of repeating itself. Once liberation has been achieved, former principles, and leaders, go out the window. While principles are important, people are what make the difference and should be the focus of those in leadership. Those who blindly and religiously follow the ANC now will follow the pied piper into an abyss.

The ANC is devoid of leadership unless those in the ANC who were once our heroes, get back in the saddle and begin to bring back the leadership that our former struggle heroes believed in. Sadly, this has not happened, and is not likely to happen, because the allure of the corporate dollars, will be an irresistibly charm.

There are new struggle heroes though. Ones who seek an open and opportunity society for all. Ones who will continue the legacy of freedom in our society. They realise that there is a new struggle, a struggle to bring back leadership when people only follow leaders.

I wonder, "Will you join the new struggle?"

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