Max du Preez

'Don't be too hard on Selebi'

2010-08-04 12:10

People shouldn’t be too hard on Jackie Selebi. He is actually just a metaphor of what has become of the ANC.

Just as tragic as it is that a man with such a proud history in the struggle for freedom and democracy became a cheap braggart, a charlatan and a crook, so is it heart-breaking that the movement of Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela has become a party dominated by greed, a lust for personal power, corruption and petty factionalism.

Cynics, Afro-pessimists and right wingers say this was to be expected: most of the other liberation movements on our continent went the same way, Zanu-PF and the MPLA of Angola being prime examples.

I did not expect it. I am shocked every day at new manifestations of the rot in our ruling party.

Yes, there were always elements in the ANC during the exile years whom one wouldn’t exactly call democrats and human rights activists. They fought for power, not democracy.

But the decent men and women, people who really cared about human dignity and freedom, always dominated the ANC. Most of the best sons and daughters of our country during the last half century were products of the ANC.

This was why I thought our liberation movement would be different. I was wrong.

Those decent people, those progressive leaders with whom I associated myself politically for many years, have disappeared into the quicksands of power and greed.

The party is now dominated by cheap, lying populists who enrich themselves at the expense of the poor; by opportunists pushing their own interests; by Stalinists  and reactionaries.

The harder these types try to drive our country towards a bankrupt dictatorship, the more credibility some of the conspiracy theories are getting.

Such as: the reason why the ANC is manipulating the judiciary and the National Prosecuting Authority and why it is now pushing two draconian measures to severely limit press freedom, is to make it possible for them to steal more from the people and to hide their own scandals.

Even the theory that the ANC is deliberately sabotaging land reform and redistribution is gaining credibility:  they want to pull a Robert Mugabe when it’s popularity among the masses is waning;  blame the whites as the common enemy and use land as an emotive issue to unite blacks behind them.

I have no doubt in my mind that those ANC leaders who are pushing the proposals for a statutory media tribunal do not believe for one moment that it would improve our newspapers one iota.

They know, as we should all know, that it’s only result will be an end to the free flow of information to the voters.

I have been waiting in vain for my comrades of yesteryear to stand up and stop this assault on our democracy.

Evil happens when good men remain silent.

The vast majority of South Africans have proved that they deserve better than the present leadership of the ANC.

But when will this majority start realising that it is their democratic right to show this dangerous clique the red card?

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