Former ANC treasurer-general Matthews Phosa says the party will be further punished by voters in the 2024 election and the trend of municipal election losses will continue.
Phosa also called on South Africans to stand up and speak truth to power – and be prepared to die for it.
“Silence will only serve to strengthen those who believe that stealing and robbing is their birthright. Those fearless and honest leaders who have to stand up and say, ‘If I’m going to die, I’m going to die, but enough is enough,'” Phosa said.
“It’s not someone else: it’s you actively listening, and I’m talking to you. Our country is strong, with principled and courageous young men and women of all races who want to walk together.”
Phosa was speaking yesterday at the first annual seminar organized by the Stadio Centurion Campus on Speaking Truth to Power as part of a Constitutional Duty moderated by scholar, analyst and activist Haya Sithole.
He criticized leaders who were out of touch, unwilling to expose themselves to the State Capture Commission of Inquiry chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zonda, or other investigations, and attacked the security agencies for talking too much and not taking action on crime.
“The task of the state is not unambiguous, it should improve the life of everyone who lives in our country,” he said. “The National Assembly must hold the government accountable to the last cent and the judiciary must be left alone to do its job without fear, favor or bias.
“However, we are currently in a situation where we are confusing and confusing party and state, and government is increasingly usurping the powers of the other two pillars of good government.”
There were people in leadership positions who were untouchable despite the damning findings of the Probe and other commissions and agencies, while “our justice system is slow and politicized and our security agencies are heavy on words but light on action.”
“Amidst this worrying pattern of a government living in luxury, while the electorate faces power cuts, potholes, water shortages, school shanties and a strained health system, the ANC government was severely punished in the municipal elections, losing control. valuable metropolitan governments and the loss of majority support in this area,” he said.
It will face severe punishment in the next national elections, and the trend of defeat in municipal elections will continue.
“Momentum is important in politics, and the ruling party has not only lost the trust of voters, but also its position as the moral leader of society.
“And yet some in government and the party seem to mistakenly believe that the party will rule forever,” Phosa said.
A lawyer by profession and one of the ANC’s lawyers during the Kempton Park constitutional talks, Phosa was Mpumalanga’s first prime minister in 1994.
He became known for speaking “truth to power”, especially against corruption and incompetence in governance. A permanent representative of the ANC emphasized the dissatisfaction of senior members with the state of affairs in the party.
Some thought to give it up. “The situation has arisen sooner than we could have expected that strong and principled leaders trained in the ANC are looking elsewhere to find a more suitable home for their hopes.
“Long-time loyalists have irreversibly lost hope that the party [which] a liberated South Africa will reach the depths of its soul and renew itself,” said Phosa.
“Contrary to this disturbing reality, we hear distant rumors of a new political party rooted in liberation politics, but focused on clean governance, people-oriented execution and abhorrence of the current corruption in power.
“Think for a moment what an effective government could do with the billion or so rand spent on the Zondo commission, or the billions siphoned off by the Guptas and their luxury-loving local cronies.
“Think for a moment what our country could have done with functioning state-owned enterprises. Think for a moment what could have happened if we had woken up to the free power of renewable energy earlier.”
He said that while the constitution clearly protects freedom of speech, there are growing rumblings and actions suggesting that “we should be careful when we speak truth to power.”
When people spoke out against corruption, abuse of power, lack of services, discrimination, and insensitivity to the plight of the poor, some so-called leaders were quick to call them counter-revolutionaries, smart whites or blacks, capitalists, or defenders of minority interests.
“Fear of reprisals and public humiliation by those in power is no longer an option. “We must point out the despicable and criminal use of our votes, trust and money; a betrayal of our trust, aspirations and values,” he said.