Letters to the editor: December 8 to 14
We need a new movement that’s for the people
We need a social movement that cuts across political ideology, religion, culture, class and race. We do need to be united on key issues such as ending corruption, reducing inequality and poverty, and create a new socio-economy compact with people who are not involved in politics.
It is clear that the ANC has just become a third phase of rainbow-elite colonialism, and no longer cares about the poor and marginalised after the 200 years of British and 50 years of Afrikaner rule.
Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance does very well in leading the privileged white community, but I don’t believe his party can unite all South Africans over the next five to eight years, without first addressing the party’s classism.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has also achieved much, but many people are unsure he will be able to resist the millions Jacob Zuma will no doubt offer him to deliver his voters to an “ANC alliance” in the 2019 elections.
Nor does the Congress of the People or any of the other smaller parties appear to offer the solution.
And, given the silent coup that has been largely carried out by the Zuma state-capture team, we do not have the luxury of waiting for the perfect “life partner”.
I seek a leader of integrity, with a commitment to developing South Africa for the benefit of all South Africans, particularly the poor and previously marginalised. — Michael Pickstone-Taylor, Franschhoek
ANC succession debate: It’s old and pointless
In his attempt to rattle the cage and provide an alternative view on the ANC succession debate (“Ramaphosa’s ‘New Deal’ is not so new”), Vukani Mde disappoints the reader by not offering an alternative, tangible solution to the problems he has foregrounded with the candidates’ programmes. We ask: Who is fooling who?
We contend that Mde is the one fooling the delegates of the forthcoming elective conference. A week before the elective conference, we are too far down the line to have inconclusive academic debates on the matter of leadership succession in the ANC.
Mde says the contest is a two-horse race between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and everybody else is just a sideshow. But this point is not new. It has been made by a plethora of analysts since the campaigns started.
One is reminded of Kwame Ture when he said that, at a moment like this, there is no middle ground, there is no sitting on the fence, there is no in-between. Unfortunately, Mde decides to sit on the fence by criticising both candidates and not helping conference delegates to choose between them.
The other point Mde gets wrong is that radical economic transformation is a policy of the ANC, as secretary general Gwede Mantashe has been at pains to clarify. So it cannot be used as an ideological binary to differentiate the two candidates.
The real binary is that either we support radical economic transformation based on lies and corruption or radical economic transformation based on the truth and clean governance. Some of us support the latter, as espoused by Ramaphosa, which he calls the “New Deal”. Ramaphosa has the known pedigree to pursue this to craft a collective partnership that will save our economy and create jobs after the damage caused by Jacob Zuma, his family, cronies and handlers (among whom Dlamini-Zuma has been an accomplice).
Mde contends that Ramaphosa’s “New Deal” does not offer much of a plan, but he forgets that all the candidates can offer is a political attitude towards a policy direction that must be provided by the ANC itself. If anyone, including Ramaphosa, pretends that their word is policy, it means they will have to ignore the collective input of the movement. This input is derived from the debates at policy conferences and recommended for confirmation at subsequent elective conferences, as will be the case in Soweto this year. Anyone who claims they have their own personal policies and strategic plans is planning to become a dictator, which neither Ramaphosa nor Dlamini-Zuma, in their defence, have done. All they have given us is their political attitude towards already existing policies.
We support the CR17 campaign, not because Ramaphosa is the best thing since sliced bread, but because he has made his own money and will not have a reason to steal from our government. This we cannot guarantee with Dlamini-Zuma because her campaign is sponsored by the very thieves who have to be removed from power to restore our movement as a clean champion of hope for the needs and aspirations of our people.
We support Ramaphosa because his ability to bring business, workers and government together to work on a “New Deal” is believable. It is believable because he has successfully worked in these three sectors. Dlamini-Zuma knows little about business (a critical partner in this new deal) and so will not assist South Africa in getting out of the economic doldrums her former husband has put us in.
The junk status the Zuma regime has given our economy is not a joke. South Africa is going to need a president who will free us from those who have pulled our economy down. The unsophisticated tactics and the blind radical posturing designed to veil corruption by Zuma are in question here. The NDZ campaign has not distanced itself from this.
South Africa now needs a credible, sober person at the helm, and it seems Ramaphosa is, for now, the realistic answer. As Antonio Gramsci said when his organisation, the Communist Party of Italy, faced a similar crisis, the ANC at this point needs a president who “can combine rigorous theoretical and organisational discipline with tactical flexibility”. — Thato wa Magogodi, former ANC Youth League leader in North West