Anti-apartheid activist and Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg says the ANC needs leadership “renewal” now more than ever.
Goldberg, who attended the party’s 103-year celebration over the weekend, unequivocally called for a change in the party’s leaders.
“There is a fly that has fallen in the jam, and we need renewal to deal with patronage,” he said.
Goldberg said he had much to celebrate about being part of a “glorious movement”, but he was anxious about the future of the party.
“Patronage was in [the] apartheid time, it was [during the] English colonial time … but it has become so deep-rooted that it is endangering our democracy,” he said.
Goldberg, who served a 22-year imprisonment alongside Nelson Mandela, raised concerns about the state of the party. “We have problems that we need to solve.”
Some voters are ‘fed up’
While Goldberg would not single out President Jacob Zuma as the person that needed to be replaced to solve the ANC’s problems, he repeated the need for new leaders to emerge. “There is so much to celebrate … we need to take the fly out of the jam.”
The veteran further noted that the ANC should not use the Freedom Charter opportunistically, saying that the ANC used the charter to garner votes.
The ANC declared this year “the year of the Freedom Charter”, as it celebrates 60 years of its adoption.
Goldberg said the party ought to give up their notion that black South Africans would continue to blindly vote for the party.
“There was an interesting phenomenon in the national elections of 2014. [The] ANC lost votes in Gauteng and in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. It showed that blacks did not vote by skin colour and some are fed up [with the ANC)],” Goldberg said.
Concern about minorities
The ANC lost an unprecedented 10% of votes in Gauteng, while it recorded less than 50% of support in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
“I would really like to see us uphold the principle of ‘South Africa belongs to all those who live in it’ … I am not talking about whites. I am talking about those minorities, like coloured and Indian people,” Goldberg said.
In the party’s January 8 statement it said the ANC was committed to building a nation that was diverse.
“It is our task to work together to foster social cohesion and build a common South African nationhood,” the party said.