The recent letter addressed to the membership of the ANC on the 23rd of August 2020 by our President, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, reaffirming the correct anti-corruption positions that we had adopted during both our 53rd and 54th National Conference, is most appropriate. It is a clarion call that correctly calls for the progressive forces of our movement to make a choice of being on the right side of the line that has now been drawn on the sand and for those who opt to define themselves in contrast to the values and ethos of the ANC, to leave.
The 54th conference has clearly launched a new stage in our National Democratic Revolution, a stage that requires a new cadre. The new stage brings with it new challenges that must be faced by all our members right from the President to the cadres in the branch. Our program to renew the ANC and to rid it of tendencies that undermine the values of the movement – is a defining program whose successful implementation depends on our ability to deploy cadres of a special type, cadres who are particularly honest and selfless. We cannot dare fail.
Under the leadership of our President, Cde Ramaphosa, the entire leadership elected at the 54th conference and the entire membership of the ANC should hold the rod together with our President, and draw the line on the sand against corruption and similar malfeasance.
We must stand bold and declare to our communities that we are drawing a line against the divisive demon of factionalism, which has become a source of the vicious and irrational battles for leadership succession in the party, battles that only serves to undermine our overall legitimacy and to distract our focus from the important task of implementing the national democratic program.
We draw a line on the sand against the practice of recalling leaders without having conducted any assessment of their contribution towards the implementation of the popular mandate, but merely for the advancement of factional motives.
As we draw this line on the sand, we call on all South Africans and our members to step forward and to isolate the agitators of corruption. For ours is a mass-based movement and a leader of society, with a cadreship whose behaviour and commitment to the betterment of society has to earn the respect and admiration of the people.
We draw the line on the sand against corruption because we are acutely aware and humbled that despite the fact that the ANC’s membership is just a paltry 1 million strong, the vast majority of South Africans vote for and love the ANC because they trust us to do the right thing, to annihilate corruption in all its manifestation.
We call on the true cadres of our movement to practice ultimate vanguardism and render the ANC a movement that is genuinely for the people by the people, uniting together with our people in the fight against corruption and other destructive tendencies. Our cadres must therefore embed themselves with the people and must live the values of the ANC as they lead the charge to build a national democratic society.
It is for this purpose that we can no longer preach unity outside of the renewal program. For unity in pursuit of factional harmony is in itself factional and counter revolutionary. We must unite to build a disciplined cadreship that is equal to the current task, a cadreship whose common moral temperament is consistent with the values and ethos of our society and the ANC.
The perception that we are corrupt is as real and severe as the prevailing onslaught on the image of the ANC. It is therefore imperative for us not to arrogantly burry our heads in the sand, but to remain humble and to genuinely listen to what the people are saying and to respond accordingly.
In this regard, we must take the opportunity to unreservedly and unequivocally denounce corruption, factionalism, dishonesty, and other negative practices that threatens the core values and support of the ANC at every turn, but most importantly, we must walk the talk. We must thus commit to support, strengthen and to capacitate the Integrity Commission so that it can play an effective role in the rebuilding of our organizational values. We have already taken the imperfect but unprecedented step of calling for a list of those of our members who are accused of and charged for corruption.
It is for this reason that it is also incumbent on us to support the institutionalization and the work of the Integrity Commission and to urgently but clearly define not only the role that the Integrity Commission should play in the renewal agenda but also the process that it must follow in the fulfilment of this purpose. We must be prepared to engage in all processes that are meant to assist us to mend our ways because we are a listening organization that takes the sentiments of the people seriously.
We are determined to intensify the rollout of our renewal program in order to re-geminate the core moral values in the ANC and thereby avert alienating the ANC from the society. As we embark on this aggressive rollout of the renewal program, we must urge all our members to desist from the destructive fictional smear campaigns that are meant to dislodge innocent comrades, but to genuinely guard against detractors who will pound at any opportunity to abuse the space created by our commitment to renew our organization, and weaponize our own processes against honest, selfless and hardworking Comrades.
Our people must remain assured of our commitment to steam ahead with the renewal program. Our Generation has the responsibility to restore the ANC to its original glory and to bequeath to the next generation, the ANC of OR Tambo.
- D.D Mabuza is Deputy-President of the ANC.