Party must break from tra­di­tions

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

HU­MAN be­ings are crea­tures of habit. Of­ten, we do things be­cause it’s what our par­ents did. There are a num­ber of sto­ries to il­lus­trate the point.

One tells of a young bride who was keen to cook her newly wed hus­band a roast. She fol­lowed her mother’s recipe and, like her mother did, cut off the ends of the meat be­fore putting it into the pan.

The hus­band thought the meat was de­li­cious but ques­tioned why she had cut off the ends, which, in his opin­ion, were the best parts. She re­sponded that it was the way her mother used to do it.

A few weeks later the cou­ple were din­ing with the wife’s mother, who de­cided to make the same roast. She too trimmed off the end of the meat. When ques­tioned, she re­sponded it was what her mother did.

A call was made to the grand­mother to es­tab­lish whether cut­ting the end bit of the meat made it tastier. Grandma’s re­sponse was: “Dar­ling, that was the only way it would fit in the pan.”

The point is that all too of­ten we fol­low tra­di­tion blindly. The ANC is no dif­fer­ent. Well over a cen­tury old, it has a few tra­di­tions of its own. One is that the deputy pres­i­dent of the party be­comes the pres­i­dent.

It was this tra­di­tion that played a big part in Ja­cob Zuma be­com­ing pres­i­dent. But the tra­di­tion is be­ing ques­tioned.

Last week­end, ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader Sihle Zikalala and his ANC provin­cial col­leagues made it clear that they re­jected the tra­di­tion, say­ing a fu­ture ANC pres­i­dent should be cho­sen on their qual­i­ties, not the po­si­tion they held in the party.

His logic is sound. If we are to move for­ward, we have to con­stantly ques­tion what we do and why we do it.

The mere fact that some­thing was done in the past is no longer good enough.

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