Sipho Pityana: It is time we accept that our leaders in the ANC have been captured

Former foreign affairs director general Sipho Pityana has reiterated his dissatisfaction with the ANC leadership, just days after the ANC Youth League on Friday slammed his eulogy at former Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile’s funeral on Thursday, wherein he expressed his discontent with President Jacob Zuma’s leadership.

In an interview aired on eNCA on Tuesday, Pityana reaffirmed his lack of confidence in Zuma’s capability to hold office, saying he should step down as head of state as a way of showing accountability. He also said the entire ANC leadership should resign.

“He [Zuma] should resign as the president of the country and that’s what accountability is all about. It is not possible that they can’t see that the country is going through the kind of mayhem and mess it’s going through. It is not possible that they can’t see the ANC is going through what it is going through,” Pityana said.

“It can’t be right that he should want to go down with the organisation. It can’t be right that the leadership would allow him to do so.” 

Elective conference

Pityana supported calls for an elective conference, but said it should be a credible one.

“The elective conference must be about ensuring that a new leadership is elected, but that process has to be credible. I support calls for a consultative conference, because it would enable a process of [the] examination of why and how the ANC is what it is.”

“So the elective conference has to be credible, and the only way it can be credible is when we accept that, in fact, part of the problem is that some in the leadership of this organsation are captured and, because they hold very influential positions, have resulted in the capture of the ANC itself.”

Read the eulogy Pityana delivered at Stofile’s funeral below. 

Reverend Stofile is a revolutionary who died with his boots on. When we all sloganeer and cry “amandla!” we all look the same. When we sing and chant, our commitment and zeal for the revolution seem to be similar but in our movement as in everywhere else, there are different cadres. There are peacetime revolutionaries and there are true cadres, zemk’ iinkomo magwala ndini.

“Ukufa kusembizeni maqabane, our setbacks are self inflicted. We have ceded our moral high ground to the opponents. The president of our country takes every opportunity to show disdain and contempt for our constitution. We attack and show disdain for Chapter 9 institutions.

“By the way I need to remind you that as OR Tambo suffered a stroke, one of the chapters he wrote as a precursor to this country was a conceptualisation of the notion of the Chapter 9 institutions. If you didn’t know that, go and read the Harare Declaration. Who are these leaders today who don’t have an understanding of that history.

“We are an ANC that can rightly claim that we are champions of human rights and not because it’s a western concept. We were amongst the first to adopt African and people’s rights, no one asked us to, that’s why you have a bill of rights in the Constitution. But it must be a great shame that under our own government, we kill workers for going on strike in cold blood and with horrific brutality.

“We say we are against corruption yet, at every turn, we are falling over each other trying to steal from the poor. When you drove here you drove past the village of Ngqele. When Reverend Stofile was in office he did not give it special treatment. He did not build a palace worth over R200-million amidst a sea of poverty.

“Accountability is an important measure of the respect you have for the people and for public office. You don’t, when you’re called to account, plunge Parliament into chaos. When the Constitutional Court makes a finding that you broke your oath of office, it means you’re honourable no longer, it means you are untrustworthy. Qhwabani, zemk’ iinkomo magwala ndini.

“Zemk’ iinkomo magwala ndini because today we call ourselves comrade without distinction. Cadres of Stof’s ilk were sidelined in favour of a different kind of cadre. A new cadre who sees in the ANC an opportunity to get the benefit because it is rewarding to be associated with the ANC these days and the queue of the people who want to join is long, you don’t have to work hard. The fight for leadership positions is not for giving but for proximity to resources for yourself, your family and your cronies.

“We must ask a question: do we have leaders of a revolution or do we have full time thieves and looters? The balance of forces has changed to the faces of corruption, sigutyungelwe ngamasela nabarhwaphilizi. Our movement is captured and consequently our state is captured. Our revolutionary project is under threat.

“Unless drastic actions are taken, in 2019 we will be at less than 40% when it comes to elections.

“It’s time for new leadership. If the president was here I would have asked him as my leader, I would have begged him, I would have pleaded with him. Bendizakumbongoza, ndimngxengxeze, ndithi mkhuluwa wam, Msholozi, Nxamala, nikezela iintambo, kunyembelekile.

“The next battle cannot be lead by a leader who has undermined everything we represent. comrade SG. I appreciate your presence, collective responsibility is not enough. A person who takes responsibility falls on their sword. I pray we find younger leaders. Those like us who are aged must play with their grandchildren. Those who have left to Cope, EFF, United Front and did not vote, please come back, this battle is not over.

“Zemk’ iinkomo magwala ndini.”

– Sipho Pityana

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Ofentse Mboweni
Ofentse Mboweni

Ofentse Mboweni is the online night editor at the Mail & Guardian. He has a keen interest in South African politics and history, is an avid reader and loves anything to do with good hip-hop music, literature and afrofuturism. Described as a "blerd" and postmodernist by some, he prefers being called OJ.

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