SA's 2014 Wishlist: JZ's Resignation Speech

2014-01-10 07:16

Picture this:

An urgent press conference has been called by the Presidency at the Union Buildings, and it is being televised live. Then JZ takes to the podium looking ever so presidential.

*  *   *   *   *  Speech starts  *   *   *   *   *

Fellow South Africans;

Compatriots;

Members of the African National Congress,

Umkhonto weSizwe veterans.

Dumelang, Sanibonani, Molweni, Good afternoon.

I stand before you today, in what will be my last speech as the President of the Republic of South Africa.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the National Executive Committee of the ANC, wherein I communicated my desire and decision to step down as President of the African National Congress. Subsequently, this morning I handed to the Speaker of the National Assembly my resignation letter. Fellow South Africans, I have officially resigned as the President of Republic, effective on a date that will be determined by the National Assembly.

Needless to say, this has been one of the most difficult things I have had to do in my political career – standing before you, the people of the Republic who voted me into office, and say, I can no longer continue doing what you mandated me to do. Standing before the NEC of the ANC and telling them, this baton, which was handed over from tata Mandela, to the honourable President Mbeki, and on to myself, I can no longer carry it anymore. It is heart-breaking, but it is something I had to do, for the good of all.

Compatriots,

I have been a member of the ANC since I was a young boy growing up at Inkandla in KZN – I have served the movement for well over 50 years (since 1959). I have served the country alongside honourable cadres such as the late Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, and many others. I have selflessly dedicated almost my entire life to the struggle against the oppressive regime of Apartheid and pursuing the dream of a better life for all South Africans.

I was one of the founding members of the Umkhonto weSizwe in 1962 as part of the armed struggle against Apartheid; I spent many years in exile after the ANC was banned; I also served 10 years in jail alongside these struggle veterans. After the dawn of democracy in 1994, I was part of the CODESA negotiations which saw the ushering in of peace and reconciliation.

Post-apartheid, I have continued to dedicate my life to serving the country in government – having occupied the seats of Premier of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Chairperson of the ANC, Deputy President of the ANC in 1997 and subsequently Deputy President of the Republic in 1999. Ultimately, I was elected President of the Republic in 2009 and am completing my first term now in 2014.

This brief history is not meant to be self-appraisal, but merely to put in context my dedication to a better life for all in our country, despite having been found wanting in these assertions.

Fellow South Africans,

You are all aware that the pursuit of all these ideals has been met with a few hiccups that have sought to discredit me as an individual and thereby cast doubt about my suitability to carry this huge responsibility.

Without going into much detail – you are aware of the corruption charges that have been hanging over my head since I was a Deputy President of the country. Despite all attempts from my side to deal with these allegations, it does appear that they do follow me and have unfortunately tainted my legacy in this government. And sadly, same have also brought the ANC into disrepute. It has been very hard for me to continue serving the ANC and the people of the Republic under such a cloud – but up to now, I have been determined to carry out whatever mandate the ANC and the People have given me, just like I have done all my life.

As the ANC, we uphold the rule of law and believe the judiciary should not be comprised in any way. Part of the reason for me stepping down is to allow the law to freely take its course without necessarily tainting on the image of the Republic or bringing the ANC into further disrepute. However, I still maintain my innocence of all these corruption allegations.

Another recent matter is the issue of the security and general upgrades that were effected to my private residence at Inkandla. Again, the People deserve a transparent and accountable government. And, as I always say, no individual is above the ANC – therefore, no one has the right to bring the ANC and its policies into disrepute – or create the illusion that the ANC does not take transparency and accountability seriously.

While I maintain that I personally did not commit, or allow to happen, any corrupt or fraudulent activities in the aforesaid upgrades, I do believe for the sake of the image of the Republic and the reputation of the ANC, it is befitting that I should step aside and allow these issues to be dealt with by the appropriate statutory bodies.

I won’t go into much detail on other issues such as our dedication to better education for all; the Marikana debacle; my relationship with the Guptas; my choice to follow my culture in taking as many wives as I deem necessary, and other issues that have stirred up the country and the world that were attributable to my person.

However, it would be unfair not to recognise the positive strides that have been made in Education, fighting crime, improving health services, improving the lives of ordinary South Africans, contributing to peace efforts in the rest of the continent, and many more.

Fellow cadres of the struggle,

No individual, no matter how much of their lives has been dedicated to the struggle, is above the law. Similarly, no member of the ANC is bigger than the ANC.

It would be rather selfish of me, to subject the People of the Republic to questionable governance in order to uphold my own personal ambitions. Likewise, it would be uncharacteristic of me should the ANC lose its loyal support base due to such issues as are attributable to my personal conduct, no matter how lacking in truth.

I shall remain a loyal member of the ANC and I shall remain a patriotic and proud South African. I believe all these issues will ultimately be laid to rest and I stand ready to account for whatever role I played in all these shenanigans – and if need be, I stand ready to face the full might of the law and let justice prevail. However, I still maintain no wrong-doing on my side.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When my resignation becomes effective, I will be an ordinary citizen of the Republic and I will be without a job. So if you see me on the street, with a board that reads “4 wives, 22 known children, no food” please do the patriotic thing and hand me some change.

I believe those who have been my friends during the last few years will remain my friends going forward. And I hope all my 4 lovely wives will remain by my side too. I hope Zapiro will continue making cartoons of me – maybe just drop the shower this time. *giggles*

On the other hand, I hope the other opposition parties, who like to pick on me and never miss a spot, will now find someone else to pick-on. As for those parties who had no manifestos to offer the electorate, but instead used my name in campaigns, I hope they will still have something to offer other than their ‘anti-Zuma’ rhetoric. And I hope the Zuma-bashers, will have something else to talk about. *giggles*

Moving on,

The ANC will nominate from amongst its rank of high calibre leaders, someone to assume the role of new President of the ANC, and likewise, the National Assembly will elect and swear in a new President of the Republic.

In conclusion, fellow citizens of this beautiful nation,

If anything, I am taking this step in honour of the late honourable Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – for the sake of his legacy and for his dream of a ‘better life for all’ to thrive. May his soul rest in peace.

On that note, I would like appeal to all South Africans to head to voting stations and cast your vote in the coming elections – which right was fought for with blood and sweat. Do it in honour and in the memory of Madiba.

Continue voting for change, vote for a better life for all. You know which party to vote for.

I thank you.

Amandla!!!

**Starts singing “Yinde lendlela”**

*  *  *  *  *  Ends  *  *  *  *   *

Is this a speech you would cherish from the President?

Would you let him keep his Nkandla home should he opt to resign?

If he is prosecuted and convicted, would you support a plea for a presidential pardon?

If he were to resign, would that change the way you vote in the coming elections?

**** ***** ****

My name is Xolani Khumalo and I write what I like. You can follow me on twitter @xolanik

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