Who are they to at­tack our stal­warts? ‘W

CityPress - - Voices - Mphumzi Mdekazi voices@city­press.co.za

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

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