Leave the ANC intact, veteran tells ANC leaders

Wally Serote (Netwerk24)
Wally Serote (Netwerk24)

Durban – It is up to the generation of former president Thabo Mbeki and his successor, Jacob Zuma, to ensure that when they hand over the ANC to the next generation, the party is intact.

This was the advice poet, writer and living legend Dr Wally Serote had for the party on Saturday.

"It is an obligation for the generation of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma to ensure that when they hand over the African National Congress, to the next generation, it must be renewed and anchored in the traditions, customs and culture which were formulated by Chief Albert Luthuli.

"The ANC must be intact, not only that but also be close to the people, serve and listen to the people at all times," he said.

Serote was speaking at the 2016 Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville Campus along with Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe.

The stalwart's comments come days after the party's veterans called for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to address some of their concerns.

Relooking the constitution 

Former leaders in the ANC, including the three remaining Rivonia trialists, former ministers and heads of missions had previously expressed concern over the trajectory of the nearly 105-year-old political party.

They said they wanted the organisation to renew itself and recommit itself to the rediscovering the principles of the liberation movement.

Serote said the historic meeting of the stalwarts of the ANC and the party's National Working Committee, "puts us face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball with what Chief Albert Luthul stood for".

"It would be absolutely correct for both parties [veterans and the NWC] to say, let us find a manner to emulate Chief Albert Luthuli in his skills of national and international mobilisation, skills for negotiating, providing leadership and being able to be a leader that serves our country."

Serote said Luthuli was the most outstanding leader in the liberation struggle and his 15-year tenure as the president of the ANC was a time in which he laid a firm foundation for the party.

"Through his leaps and bounds the ANC was able to mobilise the masses across rural and urban areas."

He said Luthuli, who was a chief for 17 years, embodied the spirit of Ubuntu.

The veteran also called for the Constitution to be amended.

"How do we define our past before colonialism in the Constitution, how do we define our past within the context of apartheid and colonialism in the Constitution and how does that inform the Constitution to change that context and put it a South African context?"

He questioned whether a "bantu-African" had a place in the 21st century.  

"I am suggesting here that after two decades of the most applauded Constitution of our country, we may have entered a new period which demands a relook of the Constitution."

He said the amendment would give "bantu-Africans" a voice. 

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