Businessman and former foreign affairs director-general Sipho Pityana, who recently criticised the ANC at Reverend Arnold Stofile’s funeral and asked for President Jacob Zuma to resign, is not about to moderate his views.
If anything, Pityana now has time to expound on them and explain why he thinks Zuma should either step down or be impeached.
In an interview with City Press, Pityana said that by failing to act against Zuma, the ANC had appropriated his image of corruption.
“There is a duty to urge the ANC to put pressure on Zuma to step down. We have to remind all in society that this is not a leader we deserve, even if the ANC thinks so.”
He said the conversation about the president’s conduct could not end with the failed DA motion of no confidence in Parliament.
“The Constitution of the country provides for the impeachment of the president, and I cannot imagine a more compelling reason to have the president impeached than his violation of the Constitution and his failure to honour his oath of office.
“If you can’t impeach him for that, then there can never be another reason to impeach him.”
Pityana, an ANC veteran, said the ANC had made an unfortunate and uncharacteristic shift to being a populist organisation, whereas it had always been a values-driven party.
He said while the ANC had opposed the motion of no confidence in Zuma, it was baffling that they did not have their own initiative to deal with the president.
“My biggest disappointment is when there is a motion of no confidence in the president as a result of his violating the Constitution, the ANC votes against it.
“But then, the ANC does not say what the appropriate sanction is for someone who transgresses his office.
“This conveys the message to society that it is an organisation that is happy to have a leader who lacks integrity, who is capable of using state resources for personal benefit and who cannot be trusted.
“That means the image of the character of the president begins to be what the ANC stands for. That is a huge problem.”
Pityana said Stofile, while on his deathbed, wanted him to convey his concerns about the organisation.
He said it was a problem that the ANC, which had taken resolutions against corruption at its conferences, was now the organisation most associated with corruption.
“When you look at the ANC’s policies, they continue to be vehemently anti-corruption.
“If you look at the Polokwane conference resolutions in 2007, they enjoin cadres to fight corruption. And yet, I can say without fear of contradiction that corruption has worsened since 2007.
“Others have embraced our values and use them against us.”
Pityana, a graduate of the Universities of Essex and London, and chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, said despite protests to the contrary, internal democracy of the ANC was dead.
“When you raise an issue, the reaction is to ask: which faction is he part of?
“I have an independent mind. I do not fit into any faction. That is why I have the liberty to say the entire leadership of the ANC has messed up.
“But at the end of the day, Zuma is the president of the ANC. When things go well, it is his legacy; when things go bad, it is his fault.”
Pityana, who met with the ANC’s top six even before the local elections to convey his concerns, said he was disappointed by the Black Business Council’s call for Zuma to stay in power.
“You say you represent black business and black professionals, and you go out and say that you want more leadership from a president who represents an assault on the kind of black leadership we should be proud of and who, quite frankly, is a disgrace in his public conduct.
“They are urging him to stay when they know they do not represent the majority of us.”
He said the Black Business Council was consequently sending a message that it was not bothered by the crises in the country.
Also baffling to him was the Black Business Council’s pleading with Zuma not to sign the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill, which is supposed to help monitor the accounts of politically connected people.
“This legislation is supposed to monitor – and I suspect I will be one of the people affected – our bank accounts to ensure that no money moves through our accounts illegally.
“It is also intended to combat international terrorism, so how has this become an agenda for the Black Business Council?
“It is hard to understand what it is about the bill that makes it an affront to black business.”
He said it was intended to curb money laundering, which could undermine and discredit the reputation of South Africa’s money market.
“When you talk to people internationally, they say what gives them comfort about investing in South Africa is the rule of law, the constitutional state and established money markets.
“When someone wants to make a deal in South Africa, there is no briefcase of money that gets put on the table when we don’t know where it comes from.
“So, I don’t understand why the Black Business Council would want to urge the president not to sign it.
“They are not even urging him to address a particular aspect of it; they are just saying, ‘don’t sign it.’
“What is that? It raises a lot of suspicion about