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South Africans might not be clear who in the ANC is winning the battle, but there is little doubt that it is the people of the country who are losing, writes Howard Feldman.
Dear ruling party,
Although I have never voted for you, I have always respected
the democratic process and the fact that your leadership represents the desires
of the majority of South Africans. I have further always been an admirer of the
rich and nuanced history of the ANC as a movement and will always be grateful
for the Freedom Charter, the Constitution and for all the values that it represents.
But you need to get it together.
I hope not to come across as patronising. But considering
the childish behaviour of the ANC as of late, there is more than a good chance
that this will. The adage that if you don't want to be treated like a child,
then it's best not to act like one, comes to mind. And the ANC's behaviour can
only be described in school yard terms.
South Africans might not be clear who in the ANC is winning
the battle, but there is little doubt that it is the people of the country who are
losing. The on-going and increasingly aggressive battle between the factions in
the party is denying the country the chance of economic recovery and more than
that, it is denying the people you represent, hope for the future.
It is more than time that you put the country above your
egos, above your bank accounts and above your emotions.
Honestly, enough is really enough.
The party's veneer of unity has slipped, and it is blatantly
obvious as to how the battle lines are drawn. The Zuma/Ramaphosa war is no
longer a cold one, and once again, South African citizens will be the innocent
victims of this folly. They will continue to pay the price of a situation that
you have all but created.
As if you haven't done enough damage during the last few
years. The cost of corruption will never be fully known, but when one adds the
trillions upon trillions that have been stolen, and then determine what could
have been done with it instead, one can only weep for the decimated potential.
And for the people of the country who deserve so much more.
It's a wonder to me that South Africans are not more furious.
They should be burning with rage and frustration. They have indicated that they
are prepared to forgive your fanatical and fervent corruption that brought the
country to its knees. But that is on the assumption that you do your part. You should
be contrite and apologetic. You should be doing all that you are able to make
good on your folly. And yet, shockingly, instead of focussing on rooting out
the corruption, addressing service delivery, education, housing, jobs and
health, you have chosen to spend the time ripping each other apart.
You utilise whatever means available to you, be it leaked
emails or the Public Protector, as a weapon. You will clearly
do anything to avoid looking at yourselves in the mirror.
To be fair, you took over a deeply divided and damaged
country. There was no quick solution and the scars will endure way into the
next generation. Your task has been a mammoth one. No one thinks otherwise and
no will judge you for well-intentioned mistakes that might have been made, and
will be made along the way. If South Africans have taught the world anything,
it is that with goodwill and positivity we can pretty much achieve anything.
The ANC needs to get it together. It needs to be bold, it
needs to display moral courage and it needs to convince the country that it
still has integrity.
The first step is to stop the infighting and to behave like
adults. Show us you have the moral courage we crave. Do this and you will have
the support you need to achieve miracles.
- Howard Feldman is a keynote speaker and analyst. He is the author of three books and is the morning talk show host on ChaiFM.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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