Recall ANC vets – Chikane

Frank Chikane
Frank Chikane

ANC stalwart Reverend Frank Chikane has suggested that the governing party should allow its veterans to come back and participate in its branches without fear of being victimised, as part of its efforts to claw back lost ground.

On Thursday, Chikane made public a document he drafted last year in which he warned about the impending demise of the ANC if it did not change how it operated.

He said he was releasing the document at this time to ensure that it became part of the introspection that the ANC had promised to undertake, after the party suffered a massive drop in support during the August 3 local government elections.

Last year, Chikane was berated by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe for leaking the document, after City Press published an initial version. The newspaper did not obtain the document from Chikane.

Now the cleric and former civil servant feels vindicated by the poll results.

Chikane said he met with ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and Mantashe in March to raise his issues, and they had agreed with his assessment of
the problems.

He said they told him that they were already dealing with some of the challenges, including the capture of branches and the distortion of lists.

Chikane said he had asked the ANC leadership to take a public position to admit that mistakes had been made and assure that matters would be better handled in future, adding that it was crucial for the party to deal with issues affecting its credibility.

In what could be a reference to the Constitutional Court ruling – which found that President Jacob Zuma had violated the Constitution in the Nkandla matter, Chikane said:

“We are closer to dictatorship than we ever thought. The first sign of the advent of a dictatorship is the violation of the Constitution and lack of respect for the law.”

He went on to caution that, as the liberation movement lost power, it might turn to unconstitutional means to retain its authority.

“This could get as drastic as assassinations, which would be the order of the day.”

In his document, Chikane wrote: “In my interaction with the veterans, especially current active members of the ANC Veterans’ League, there is indeed unhappiness about the way they are being marginalised, excluded, insulted by younger members and silenced because of their age.

“They felt that they were only needed when it came to elections in terms of their capacity to mobilise support for the movement.”

He also suggested that branches be liberated from factions so that “genuine” members could be recalled to play a role. “We must ensure that elected leaders, from branch to national levels, are
not products of manipulated elections geared to produce a particular outcome.”

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