Johannesburg – Africa is recolonising itself through corruption, nepotism and state capture, former African National Congress treasurer general Mathews Phosa has warned.
"Such a second wave of colonialism would, in my view, be as bad as the first one, when Africa was colonised politically and economically," he told a News24 correspondent last week.
He was speaking after returning from Nigeria, where he was presented with the Award for Excellence in Leadership at the 6th African Achievers Awards (AAA) on July 8.
Phosa is the third South African to receive the award: Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emiritus Desmond Tutu won it in 2011 and current African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma received the award in 2014.
Other recipients of the award since its inception are former Malawian president Joyce Banda (2012), Ghana’s late president Atta Mills (2013), and current Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (2015).
'Voice of the people must rule'
Phosa paid tribute to African leaders in the public and private sectors who were committed to good governance, which he said helped reduce conflict and political unrest.
"We should avoid situations where our people despair and say that democracy is not working for them. We need clean governance with clearly defined terms of offices and presidential terms for leaders. The voice of the people must rule," he said.
Phosa was presented with a second award on the same evening - a Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in the apartheid struggle, in helping to establish democracy, and for his selflessness.
He said the fixation with personal power was a major concern of his.
"The late President Nelson Mandela walked away from power and became even more powerful because of it. Those who cling to power will always lose it, whether they stay in office or not," he said.
Phosa, now a businessman, was one of a few ANC leaders who broke ranks with the organisation by calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
This followed the Constitutional Court’s ruling on March 31 that he had violated the Constitution when he ignored Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action about the so-called security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Terry Booysen, chief executive officer of the Corporate Governance Framework, said Phosa’s unapologetic stance against unethical, corrupt leadership was an inspiration to all.