'We need to indeed look in the mirror' - Gordhan on ANC

2017-05-05 10:11
Former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan (Netwerk24)

Former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – The ANC must take time to look at itself in the mirror, assess its weaknesses and ask itself whether it has the will to self-correct, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday night.

Speaking at the opening of an exhibition titled Promises and Lies – The ANC, exile & the project of freedom at Constitutional Hill, Gordhan said the ruling party needed to have a frank conversation with itself.

"A good history in an organisation… as we have in the case of the ANC is no guarantee of a good future. Good futures are built on sound leadership and on the sound understanding of new realities as they unfold," Gordhan said.

He said part of the responsibility of leadership was to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses.

"We are living in a time where we need to indeed look in the mirror and have a frank look at ourselves firstly, and a conversation secondly with ourselves about what our weaknesses are and more importantly, do we actually have the will to self-correct?

"Do we have the ability to change course, do we have the humility to be able to reflect on one’s own weaknesses and [shortcomings] and say 'Are my shortcomings either as an individual or a group causing any damage around me?'" Gordhan said.

He said there were many debates taking place globally about the shelf life of national liberation movements, which was estimated to be between 20 and 25 years.

Struggle 'promises and aspirations'

Somewhere in that period, a liberation movement would begin to lose its sense of purpose and start to degenerate and ultimately lose its office, he said.

"The question for us, as committed members of the ANC, is are we going to become the victims of that? Are we going to allow ourselves, while looking in the mirror, to say that we will allow this organisation to move in the wrong kind of direction?" he asked.

Gordhan said the ANC's secretary generals, both in the past and currently, had produced a number of documents which outlined what the governing party’s weaknesses were, yet these documents were not being read and the problems were not being addressed.

"If we know what our weaknesses are, what is the block? What is it that actually prevents human beings from reading about themselves and their weaknesses, but not doing anything about it?"

He said although the title of the exhibition, as well as its documentary, Promises and Lies, was a bit harsh as those who fought against the apartheid regime did not overcome the struggle with the intention of lying to its people.

"I don’t think anybody sat down anywhere in exile, in the underground, on Robben Island or anywhere else and said 'Let’s lie to South Africans about the Freedom Charter, let’s lie that freedom is possible in our lifetime and that it is possible to create a better South Africa'.

"What we had was promises and aspirations," Gordhan said.

Over time, perhaps one needed to reflect on what had been done since then, however he warned against people becoming cynics, saying life in South Africa needed to be about hope.

"All is not lost. There will always be contestations about ideas, contestations about positions, but there’s still hope that the country can be corrected by its own people."

WATCH: Gordhan: Time to look in the mirror

Read more on:    anc  |  pravin gordhan  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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