Who are they to attack our stalwarts? ‘W
ise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something,” said Plato. This quote is invoked because of the irritation caused by eThekwini region ANC Comrade Zandile Gumede and ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine during the league’s conference in Durban on November 13.
Some of us in the movement normally don’t accord our responses to the low-level conduct of our fellow comrades. The lowest point to date in our political history was the moral assault against and disrespect of the ANC stalwarts by Gumede and Maine – something that warrants this rejoinder.
They called our stalwarts fakes. This is a direct challenge to the party’s integrity committee – which should take immediate action against the two.
Moreover, it’s a direct insult not only to Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Dennis Goldberg, but to people such as Vuyisile Mini, the Cradock Four, Chris Hani, Moses Mabhida, and the Moses Kotanes of this world. Their liberation contribution is beyond doubt. This is an insult to all they fought and stood for.
What these two comrades have done is unforgivable and tantamount to political blasphemy. People died here and some lost everything, but today’s political toddlers see no value in this monumental contribution.
I hope the ANC ensures that Maine apologises for what he said about the veterans. It was shameful that someone who has achieved absolutely nothing in his life should cast aspersions on the veterans’ contribution.
In fact, it makes one wonder who Gumede and Maine are. When Maine joined the party, what did he do to advance to the top of the youth league?
It has often been said that the ANC does not belong to South Africa, but to the continent. At the debate of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly recently, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi attested to this. This stature was gained because of the work of our veterans. Maine holds his position thanks to the work done and enormous sacrifices made by the veterans.
Just the sheer lunacy and stupidity of their statements make me worry about our future. They lambast the veterans and call them fake. Maine went further to say he would have done a better job than the stalwarts did in liberating him. Where was he when university students were up in arms, burning down buildings? Where was he to show leadership? If there is any fake, it is surely he and Gumede, who – when history requires their leadership – are missing.
When has Maine committed himself to issues of young people: high unemployment, a high pregnancy rate, a high HIV/Aids rate and general political apathy? What was he doing when the young people turned their backs on the ANC and didn’t vote in the August election?
The only time Gumede and Maine stand up to speak is to defend Zuma. Not that there is anything wrong with defending Zuma. But surely they should know that the struggle is greater than one man. Maybe Maine doesn’t even know there was a struggle. Maybe their handlers should take them under their guidance and teach them the history of the struggle of this country.
I’m shocked that, as Africans brought up by African parents, they should have this level of disrespect for people possibly older than their own parents. The youth league should be embarrassed by the quality of leadership it has.
As for the rest of us grateful South Africans, we are deeply hurt that Bab’ uMlangeni, Kathrada and Goldberg should be so disrespected on a public platform by the two.
The beauty about this whole thing is that the 101 didn’t respond to these two comrades. As to why the ANC top officials didn’t see the need to reprimand them is another matter.
In fact, the former youth league leader Julius Malema started by attacking elders. Look where he is today.
Mdekazi is from the ANC’s AB Xuma branch in the Western Cape