‘ANC is di­vert­ing from its val­ues’

Pretoria News - - NATION - SIVIWE FEKETHA [email protected]

FORMER pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe has warned that the ANC was de­part­ing from its val­ues, which was be­ing ex­posed as its stal­warts died.

Mot­lanthe was speak­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day dur­ing the na­tional me­mo­rial ser­vice of ANC Strug­gle stal­wart Mendi Msi­mang.

Mot­lanthe said the death of ANC vet­er­ans of Msi­mang’s stature pre­sented a chal­lenge to the cur­rent ANC lead­er­ship, and the party had to ask it­self if it lived a life wor­thy of the sac­ri­fices they had made or whether they traded demo­cratic gains for a life of “self-ad­vance­ment with no pa­tri­otic pur­suit”.

“Mendi Msi­mang is a mir­ror of the kind of leader who rose at a time when the ANC was not rid­dled with the can­cer of cor­rup­tion, the cult of per­son­al­ity and fac­tional in­ter­ests that have en­abled the sys­tem­atic loot­ing of state re­sources,” Mot­lanthe said.

Msi­mang, a former ANC trea­sur­ergen­eral and the coun­try’s high com­mis­sioner in Lon­don, died on Mon­day fol­low­ing a long ill­ness.

He has been hailed as a tow­er­ing fig­ure whose quiet dis­po­si­tion was ac­com­pa­nied by a strong com­mit­ment to ser­vice and eth­i­cal lead­er­ship.

Born in Jo­han­nes­burg in 1928, Msi­mang joined the ANC at the age of 16 and be­came a found­ing mem­ber of the ANC Youth League.

Fol­low­ing the ban­ning of lib­er­a­tion move­ments by the apartheid gov­ern­ment in 1960, he was among the first ANC lead­ers to leave the coun­try to es­tab­lish the ANC’s ex­ter­nal mis­sion abroad.

Dur­ing the fight against apartheid, Msi­mang was de­ployed as the move­ment’s chief rep­re­sen­ta­tive to In­dia in 1968 and to the UK from 1985 un­til 1994, among other key post­ings.

After 1994, he was de­ployed as South Africa’s high com­mis­sioner to Lon­don un­til he was elected to the ANC’s top six in 1997, serv­ing for two five-year terms with Mot­lanthe, as trea­surer-gen­eral and sec­re­tary-gen­eral re­spec­tively.

In a clear swipe at the cur­rent state of the ANC, Mot­lanthe said Msi­mang and his gen­er­a­tion were driven by ac­tivism whose pro­gramme was “de­rived from a com­mand struc­ture that cham­pi­oned thought lead­er­ship” and at a time when the move­ment was driven with “plu­ral thought and unity of com­mand”.

“In the face of such a mir­ror, we find our­selves faced with the re­al­ity that we are more than what we have al­lowed our­selves to be­come.

“With that be­ing the case, how then do we ex­pect the likes of Ahmed Kathrada, Fa­tima Meer, Nel­son Man­dela, Oliver Tambo, Al­bertina Sisulu and oth­ers to rest when the legacy of what they have fought for now sinks into the abyss?” Mot­lanthe asked.

Also at­tend­ing the me­mo­rial ser­vice were ANC stal­warts Es­sop Pa­had, Trevor Fowler, Mot­lanthe’s part­ner Gugu Mt­shali – who served as Msi­mang’s per­sonal as­sis­tant – and his suc­ces­sor as trea­surer-gen­eral, Mathews Phosa.

Phosa said: “I had the priv­i­lege to be the suc­ces­sor to com­rade Mendi Msi­mang as trea­surer-gen­eral and saw first-hand what a gi­ant he was in our move­ment.

“Of course, he had the priv­i­lege of walk­ing in the foot­steps of gi­ants him­self, hav­ing worked for Oliver Tambo and Nel­son Man­dela in their law firm,” Phosa added.

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