ANC: Caution, my beloved Movement caution!
– – We can never justify and prove accepting in personal in attack as means of rationality –
I was born in Essex Street Woodstock Cape Town in 1966, I grew up in what was considered Coloured townships across the length and breadth of South Africa and have been exposed to gang fights. In these historic gang fights where the switchblade or as we know it the okapi, was the supreme weapon, often dustbin lids (the old metal ones), bricks, bottlenecks, belts- with heavy buckles and anything made for weaponry. When I was in hiding ( refusing to go the camps) in the mid 80’s on the East rand in a place called Reiger Park I again saw this phenomenon in which anything was a weapon in fights between the then gangs ‘Serpents’ and ‘Family Boys’. I thought of this when I looked at our most recent captured material on for example the DA march on Luthuli House and other incidents such as our response to opposition parties.
One of the tests of ANC cadres in this season is to desist the inviting and salacious temptation to grovel in the politics of non-substance that often lends itself to name calling people bashing, opposition thrashing etc. It has become too easy to denigrate. As wrong, as it was for the EFF leader to refer to Blade Nzimande in description of ‘skuurpot face’ so wrong and low is our reference to Helen Zille’s botox experiments etc. The politics of our hour lends itself to below the belt, and rotten loins manifest. It is in this context and season that we must needs caution ourselves to prove leading in the moral high ground of what is called the politics of democracy. We dare not prove this bankrupt in thinking that utter hate prevails and manifests in our utterances.
Let us not forget what makes the ANC, and what makes for a cadre, it was always about the issue not people-denigration. I am concerned that the ANC more and more is hoodwinked to resort to the politics of the street, in which anything goes. We can never justify the man with a claw hammer clad in in ANC t-shirt running in Downtown towards the group of DA blue t –shirts, it cannot be justified for the politics of the ANC was never politics of the claw- hammer and the dustbin lid, it was always rational engagement, even with the fiercest of enemies. When Umkhonto we Sizwe was born it was not natural, but in response to a repressive system that had access to machinery and weaponry the same they used to maim, kill and destroy African lives with. The ANC from its inception is and was a thinking organisation in which the engaging of minds opposite at many times remained engaged in pursuance of the most equitable means to attain the same outcome.
I think this past weekend was a watershed moment when ANC leadership had to resort to bashing Julius Malema of the EFF instead of motivating the just cause and true work this great movement of 102 years old ( ANC) has engaged in in transforming our society. On the other hand the usually politically – deviant Malema appeared much more sanguine and solid in his utopian wish list for he desisted the temptation to bash the ANC leadership. It is my unsolicited view that the ANC made the EFF look good because we were lured into street politics and gutter politics of people bashing. I have to salute Malema for either appreciating counsel or maturing to accept that that name-calling, insulting and hallucinating in character assassination is not the way to go. I am not saying he will not revert back to his old ways, but for the launch of the EFF manifesto he remained cool even in his interviews, For Fikile Mbalula to be seen spitting fire against his protégé who outsmarted him and in drawing 50000 people in relation to the ANC’s 15000, says much of the moment of our politics.
I wish I could say this phenomenon of personality focus is only prevalent in one place but we see the same in the Western Cape where the obsession has become Helen Zille and not the just cause. We must desist this developing phenomenon because it so easily can become sub-culture. The Western-Cape ANC leadership have enough to show the DA as not fit to lead the poor thus these must be raised in the atmosphere of electioneering but it cannot be purely about electioneering in which the wrong, nakedness of others is our only obsession when we fail to tell what it is we intend doing when we have secured political power in the vote come May 8,. 2014. We can never condone the poo-protesters for their lack of what makes for a just protest.
The strategic plan for change for the Western Cape a document I had laid my eyes on and have engaged, is clear and must be made central, yet we are not hearing any of that, all we hear and see is the very reversed obsession that the DA has shown with the ANC President.
Now it may be a tactic that helps frustrating Helen Zille who is particularly vulnerable for these tactics, yet I hold the ANC Western Cape leadership, can, and must ensure it wins the hearts and mind of the voters on its plan. A plan rear-guarded by a national good ANC story of governance. Off course we in a silly season but we are never allowed to become this silly that we lose our scruples and get down dirty in what looks like a fight between the Cape Flats gangs ‘Mongrels’ and the ‘Americans’ before there were guns. .
The ANC has enough to stand on its track record is more than glorious if we can in humility accept this reality we need not stand back for any political entity or party.
However if we opt to engage in gutter politics and street politics in which people bashing is our signpost we will soon find out we are not trusted because we failed to lead when we needed to lead even there.
Let us afford all opposition formations the space they deserve in a democracy we ushered. Let us equally respect all those who the voters have and will trust no different to how we are and desired to be trusted.
The excellence of cadreship in the ANC has always been to hear the next person speak, to respect the other even if they were to hold a view diametrically opposed to yours and to calmly disagree factually in engaging with intellect.
The ANC is not a street movement, in which hammers, and pangas and dustbin lids is the defense against those who disagree with us. The movement has distinguished itself always as issue based, people-sensitive and a just cause driven. Anything else or less is an insult to be an ANC movement supporter.
So let us celebrate the mosaic of political canvas we have in shifting dimensions informed by weather and mood it is the democracy we delivered. Let us smile when some leave our fold because they have reached a place they do not need or nurture and parenting no more, it is their right. Let us for a moment step back and look beyond the emotion and cheap attack at Julius Sello Malema and say if he sounds like he did in the EFF manifesto its because we have raised him, though he is canvassing against us.
However, for us we must jealously guard the roots of this Movement and respect it, as a conscious movement that simply do not engage in gutter politics and equally is not a street party, armed with claw hammers and clubs.
I guess I am pleading for a sense of humility, a sense of dignity in separating ourselves from the emerging tendencies of intolerance and disregard that so often becomes normal. The apartheid regime never could strip us of our dignity in our struggle, can we therefore allow freedom (that we delivered) to rob us from our dignity when we disrespect what we fought for in moments of blindness of rage and clouded minds of intolerance that afford mouths of emptiness to gush forth in vitriol, concocted cheap hate in which all things go and rationality has evaporated? Let us in the abundance of caution remind ourselves that humility is not a sign of weakness but the exact evidence of greatness,