Three organisations representing ANC stalwarts issued a powerful appeal to the ruling party to implement urgent “corrective” actions against state capture and other threats to democracy.
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom’s name – on behalf of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation – is listed at the end of the letter that was sent to the National Executive Committee.
The other listed names are Dr Frene Ginwala, acting chair of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation, and Professor Njabulo Ndebele, chairperson of the board of trustees of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The three foundations said they were “deeply concerned about the course on which the country is headed”.
The letter said that based on unfolding events, it appeared that the ANC had significantly drifted away from the ideals on which the party was founded.
“Sadly, by the day we witness the steady erosion of something very rare in human history: A near universal admiration of a country and what it had pledged itself to achieve.”
This had resulted in a waning trust in the ANC by South Africans, the letter said, adding the country had reached a “watershed moment”.
The organisations appealed to the NEC to “take note of the mood of the people across the country … to take urgent correction actions in the best interest of South Africa.”
The letter surfaced ahead of a much-awaited ANC briefing on the outcomes of the NEC meeting on Sunday.
It came amid growing frustration with President Jacob Zuma’s leadership in ANC-aligned quarters.
Another letter, from a group of Umkhonto weSizwe commanders, was also delivered to the NEC. According to the Sunday Times, the letter appealed for a special national conference to be convened to “rescue” the image of the ANC and that of the state.
When asked about the two separate appeals – from the three organisations and the commanders – at the media briefing which finally took place last night, Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said that these matters needed to be addressed internally in ANC structures, and it complicated matters when they were taken outside the ANC.
Open conflict within the ANC has come to a head amid revelations by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor that they had been offered Cabinet positions by the Gupta family.
Speaking out last week, Hanekom tweeted: “Mcebisi is a person of great integrity and there is no reason to doubt his version of events.”
Hanekom, who was at the NEC meeting this weekend, did not respond to calls or SMS queries on Sunday. – Additional reporting by News 24