The ANC National Executive Meeting this weekend may be a watershed moment, but I'm not too optimistic that we'll see a major push to recall Zuma or that the ANC will decisively regenerate itself. The Gupta saga and revelations about state capture are a side-show. For me the real issue is that the governing party is not walking the talk. It says one thing and then in practice they do the opposite.
The ANC and other political parties should measure their performance against standards that they have been promoting themselves. These standards, which are summarised in the vision statement in the National Development Plan, are my reasons why I want to see a complete overhaul of the ruling party. This has to include the stepping aside of Number #1, who is showing no signs of being able or willing to steer us towards this vision.
Think about the following excerpt and tell me whether you think we are remotely close to treading a new path:
“We all assist the institutions we have creatively redesigned to meet our varied needs; we reach out across communities to strengthen our resolve to live with honesty, to be set against corruption and dehumanising actions.
We have made the rules by which we want ourselves to live:
- We hold the Constitution of our country as the covenant guide to a fair society
- Since 1994 we’ve changed our laws to obey our Constitution
- Now we live it: justice rules us, because just laws make community possible
- The law enables us to live together fulfilling our mutual obligations and responsibilities in the shared public spaces of our mutual affiliation.
"We know that those to whom we have given the privilege to govern our land, do so on our behalf and for the benefit of all the people.
Government begins in the home, grows into the community, expands towards the city, flares toward the province, and engulfs the entire land.
We know our leaders as we have elected them and pledged them into office:
- They are wise in the use of our wealth
- Wise in knowing and understanding our wishes and needs
- Wise in expecting us to express ourselves to them in any appropriate manner we have agreed to be allowable
- Wise in not silencing those who criticise, but enable them, through our rules of engagement, to be even more rigorous in supporting a just society.
Our leaders’ wisdom is ours, because we sense our wisdom in theirs.
- They do more than respond to us:
- They bring new thoughts and ideas
- They share with us what they think
- They inspire us, because we then seek to aspire with them
- With them we renew our world continuously.
But our gift of leaders extends far beyond politics. We have them in abundance in every avenue of life.
We have come far with our cultural, religious, and ancestral traditions. Contemporary citizens that we are, we are conscious of the intimate relationships between tradition and change.
We say to one another: I cannot be without you, without you this South African community is an incomplete community, without one single person, without one single group, without the region or the continent, we are not the best that we can be.
We love the land.
We greet one another again.
We enjoy being visited.
We are courteous and curious.
We love arguing, we debate fiercely, we contest ceaselessly.
We solve our differences through discussion.
We refrain from being cruel, demeaning or hurtful in disagreement.
We feel we belong.
We celebrate all the differences among us.
We are not imprisoned by the roles ascribed to us...
The welfare of each of us is the welfare of all. Everybody lives longer. We experience fulfilment in life, living it in the successful society we are creating.”
The people that give me hope that this vision may come alive are definitely not the political parties or their leaders. Watching parliamentarians in action is like standing outside the fence of a pre-school, watching children bullying and fighting each other and being helpless to intervene. If you need the courts to tell the speaker to apply the law, and the constitutional court becomes the place where the president pleads for clemency as to not being put in a situation that could lead to impeachment, and when the leader of the opposition is so rude that he is asked to leave the house, it’s time for citizens to step forward and demand from elected leaders to apply higher standards or step aside.
Propagating a vision without living that vision is betrayal. That is why #ZumaMustFall. Make way for ethical and younger leaders to step forward.