Don’t put money first – Motlanthe

2012-01-27 10:57

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has warned ANC comrades to be wary of putting money above everything else and to be “vigilant” of greed and individualism.

Motlanthe delivered a lecture on his reflections on the ANC’s centenary at the University of South Africa’s main campus in Pretoria today, where he urged the ANC not to rest on its laurels because it has triumphed over oppression and apartheid.

He lamented the “ugly side of our nation”, citing unemployment as one of the major challenges facing the country and warning the ANC that “no organisation is guaranteed eternal life based on its historical achievements alone or merely because it fashioned the course to freedom”.

Motlanthe, whom the ANC Youth League wants to replace President Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung in December, lamented the “material acquisitiveness that has enveloped the outlook of society including some of us in the ANC today”.

He quoted investor and philanthropist George Soros’ take that when society no longer knows what it stands for “people increasingly rely on money as the criterion of value”.

The lecture was attended by, among others, Joel Netshitenzhe, former head of the policy and coordination advisory unit in the Presidency, former minister Essop Pahad, former Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Brigalia Bam, former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan and ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.

“Money defines the value of everything. It prompts the relentless pursuit of material riches to assert human value.

“As a leading social force aiming to exterminate social conditions that breed under-development, the ANC cadres must remain vigilant lest they be sucked into the vortex of the socio-economic system which defines our era. It is a social system that puts individualism and greed above all else and goes against the grain of the ideals of a human society,” said Motlanthe.

He also warned his comrades in the ruling party that the road to achieving a fully prosperous and “just society” was still long and that South Africa was characterised by continuing racial and class divisions “where a few have access to world-class infrastructure, education, healthcare and socio-economic opportunities to realise their true potential”.

The ANC, as the ruling party, had to cultivate a new generation of leaders and break the cycle of poverty through youth development, education and offering access to training opportunities.

Painting a picture of growing inequalities, Motlanthe said many communities still used mud schools to educate their children, had to settle for poor healthcare and were not sure where their next meal would come from.

‘Ugly side’
“This ugly side of our nation is represented by a staggering unemployment rate, with close to 2.8 million young people between the ages of 18-24 being unemployed and not being in any training or education institution,” said Motlanthe.

He said the next 100 years of the ANC would be judged on its ability to “raise a new generation of South Africans that have equal access to opportunities and development resources to build a prosperous nation”.

The ANC had an opportunity for introspection and tapping into and mobilising the best talent to contribute to society.

“The key tasks that face the ANC going forward entail continuing to pursue policies that seek to transform apartheid relations of production, with (an) emphasis on bettering the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

“The ANC must studiously avoid substituting itself and its leaders for the people. Instead it must be a vehicle of the people’s aspirations,” said Motlanthe.

He urged the ANC to continue acting in a manner that upheld its history “while at the same time taking active steps to renew itself”.

The ANC should also be wary of the “sins of incumbency that have plagued post-colonial liberation movements” and strengthen internal democracy and leadership systems.

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