Motlanthe: ANC faces death

2016-09-18 06:00
Kgalema Motlanthe (Picture: AFP)

Kgalema Motlanthe (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has warned the ANC that if it did not get its house in order, it faced being irrelevant and would eventually die.

Motlanthe was speaking during a two-day regional consultative conference of the ANC at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday, where he addressed about 300 delegates on factionalism and renewal.

“Renewal cannot be just tampering with the structures. It means we must think very deeply about what the challenges are that our people face today. The ANC exists for one purpose only, and that is to address the problems of our people.

"If it [the ANC] is no longer addressing the problems of our people, we might as well begin writing the obituary of the ANC,” Motlanthe said.

He said it would not be the first time a glorious liberation movement lost its hegemony with the people, as this was what happened to other African countries’ liberation parties after they had been in power for 20 years.

Motlanthe said like empires and all living organisms, organisations also “rise and fall” because the rule of nature was that everything was in motion.

“Nothing is static. Nothing is permanent. That is why, when you are elected, you must understand that the platform of leadership that you have is not permanent.

"You serve in that capacity because members say so. Renewal must therefore be a function of understanding where we are, where we are heading to and what the challenges are,” he said.

For the 104-year-old ANC to continue to survive, it needed to adapt and have a long-term view to the future, as reliance on its struggle credentials was not enough for it to renew itself, said the former president.

“The minute we fail to adapt to the concrete conditions and the challenges of today, the organisation becomes irrelevant. And people realise they can continue with their lives and have progress without the ANC.

“That would be the end of [the ANC].”

As a governing party, the ANC was in a position to influence lucrative contracts that should go to the deserving people in the country.

But this was not the case, because some leaders managed to arrange that these contracts were being given to people with proxies from them as leaders in government, said Motlanthe.

“Once you do that, even if you get away with it, the reality is that this country will stagnate. And whatever we inherited, whether it’s infrastructure or whatever, will diminish,” he said.

His advice to the Nelson Mandela Bay region was for them to focus on rebuilding their branches and to ensure that they were properly constituted before they went to a regional elective conference.

In a what could be viewed a veiled attack at President Jacob Zuma, who enjoys singing during party gatherings, Motlanthe said it was only when the organisation was united, healthy and allowed thorough debates on what the challenges were – instead of singing – that it would find solutions.

“If we come together like this and we spend 80% of our time singing and glorifying the past, we will emerge with nothing.

“We will emerge from here not with any clarity, but with more confusion. There is no substitute to identifying the real problems,” Motlanthe said to loud laughter.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, who shared the stage with Motlanthe, had earlier weighed in on the singing issue.

“Politics are being suffocated by song. For the few years, we have been singing, but we have not addressed some of the core challenges we are facing,” Jonas said.

He said the recent election results confirmed what everybody already knew – that the movement was in trouble.

Read more on:    anc  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  port elizabeth  |  politics

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