We must pre­pare for a post-Zuma SA

CityPress - - Voices - Sipho Pityana voices@city­press.co.za

As the mo­men­tum against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his co­horts gath­ers steam, the real is­sue is to fo­cus our at­ten­tion on the pathol­ogy of a post-Zuma South Africa – the DNA of the next era of South Africa’s democ­racy.

It is not enough to get rid of Zuma and then re­lax. We have to make sure that we “never, never and never again” – in the words of Nel­son Man­dela – land up in a sit­u­a­tion where we put the in­ter­ests of our lead­ers be­fore those of our demo­cratic project and the coun­try as a whole.

In iden­ti­fy­ing suit­able can­di­dates – be they from the ANC or not – we need to clearly de­fine the char­ac­ter­is­tics of our post-Zuma lead­er­ship.

We need to in­volve all South Africans in think­ing, talk­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a con­ver­sa­tion about the val­ues we want our new lead­ers to em­body.

We need to have a clear set of pa­ram­e­ters for good lead­er­ship and mea­sure any po­ten­tial lead­ers against those val­ues.

We need to ring-fence the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers from con­tam­i­na­tion, cor­rup­tion or cap­ture.

We need to make sure that there is no room to move and no space for se­duc­tion by forces op­posed to democ­racy.

We need to hold them to ac­count, day af­ter day af­ter day, if we are to achieve the dream we held as we over­threw apartheid.

The Save SA cam­paign, which I am part of, fo­cuses on rid­ding South Africa of Zuma and, in so do­ing, stop­ping the wicked project to cap­ture the state. We do not be­lieve it is pos­si­ble to rid our­selves of state cap­ture for as long as Zuma re­mains pres­i­dent.

It fol­lows a num­ber of at­tempts by civil so­ci­ety over the years to stop the loot­ing of state re­sources and to get the pres­i­dent to step down.

While sim­i­lar to these pre­vi­ous at­tempts, the Save SA cam­paign is also dif­fer­ent.

It is sim­i­lar in that it aims to stop the rot and end state cap­ture, thereby end­ing the frolics of our cor­rupt lead­er­ship.

It is also dif­fer­ent be­cause it is not only fo­cused on the re­moval of a cor­rupt lead­er­ship, but also com­mit­ted to find­ing ways of en­sur­ing that we do not err in the same way again.

For this rea­son, we have been able to at­tract a broader church of civil so­ci­ety voices than ever be­fore – not to men­tion al­most ev­ery sin­gle po­lit­i­cal party that has rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Par­lia­ment.

Over the next few weeks, more peo­ple from or­gan­ised labour, women’s groups and youth for­ma­tions will be join­ing us in a re­mark­able resur­gence of civil so­ci­ety ac­tivism, as South African democrats find their voice.

I truly be­lieve we have a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity – partly be­cause of the buf­foon­ery of the ar­chi­tects of state cap­ture, who seem to be their own worst en­e­mies at the mo­ment, but also be­cause South Africans are sick and tired of this non­sense and want it to stop. We want to stop the Zuma night­mare and be­gin to dream again.

We must nei­ther waste the op­por­tu­nity we have now, nor fall into the traps left be­hind by those mak­ing their re­treat as the voice of the peo­ple be­comes louder and louder.

We must be hon­est about the mis­takes that were made and the blun­ders that led us into what we are to­day: a hol­low state, cap­tured by de­vi­ous busi­ness in­ter­ests, and a play­ground for the cor­rupt and those ad­dicted to the abuse of power.

We must be vig­i­lant. We must also be firm in en­sur­ing that the demo­cratic project stays on course.

We must use our en­er­gies to con­tinue to drive change – in pol­i­tics, in busi­ness, in faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions and in com­mu­ni­ties.

We must con­tinue to build a so­ci­ety founded on so­cial jus­tice, equal­ity and demo­cratic principles.

We must out­law loot­ing, theft, cor­rup­tion, the abuse of power, the con­tam­i­na­tion of state in­sti­tu­tions, the dis­tor­tion of the jus­tice sys­tem for po­lit­i­cal gain and the com­plete dis­re­spect for our Con­sti­tu­tion.

We must out­law peo­ple who com­plain when they are caught out dis­re­spect­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, and boast that they are not afraid to go to jail for do­ing so.

We must in­sist on a com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the qual­i­ties of lead­er­ship.

We must in­sist on re­spect for our Con­sti­tu­tion – in par­tic­u­lar, for the Bill of Rights – and for our flag, our state in­sti­tu­tions and, ul­ti­mately, our sovereignty.

And we must hold our lead­ers ac­count­able, be they com­mu­nity or busi­ness lead­ers, shop ste­wards, ward coun­cil­lors, may­ors, pre­miers, MPs or min­is­ters.

We must re­ject those cam­paign­ing against the demo­cratic project who are in­tent on us­ing state re­sources for ne­far­i­ous means. They must be stopped.

It is im­per­a­tive for us to build a so­ci­ety founded on the demo­cratic val­ues we fought for, val­ues en­shrined in our Con­sti­tu­tion. This is an edited ex­tract of a speech de­liv­ered by

Pityana, a busi­ness­man and Save SA ac­tivist, in Pre­to­ria on Thurs­day at the launch of Rogue: The

In­side Story of Sars’s Elite Crime-bust­ing Unit

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