Beware of those who want to carry you before your time into Mahlamba Ndlopfu
Dear Cadre Ramaphosa,
Let me in the beginning congratulate you and your entire team as elected to lead this our entrusted106 year old Movement.
I also for record sake need to be clear, I did not support your campaign, I had preferred Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini – Zuma for the reasons shared in a public opinion piece as published in the Sunday Independent of September 17, 2017 with heading ‘Why NDZ should head the ANC’. However as I also in a Straight Talk interview on June 10, 2017 explained, once Conference declare a leader I am willing, and ready to work with in support of such leader in as far he/she unapologetically leads on the resolutions and mandate of Conference as exacted. I have always defended and challenged ANC leaderships and will continue to do in this epoch no different to your predecessor and his predecessor.
Comrade President, in a season of much noise and grandstanding there are people trying to tell you the circumstances are favourable for you to make this move or that move, the masses will support you. Resist the salacious temptation as some even in blackmail sense demand of you to lead as an individual the ANC immanent in unilateral behaviours and practices. ANC presidents have always known how volatile that kind of thinking is and how quickly one may become violently sobered to the reality that the Movement they are endowed to lead is much older than all whomever led it. I can understand the interest of the diverse body of constituencies, from within and without, the ANC demanding their steak from you.
Maqabane, deal circumspectly on the combo of unity and renewal, these are not necessarily mutually exclusive terms; yet they are in our emotionally charged society often equated as diametrically opposites. When the 54th Conference rallied with the call of unity it did not do so in absence of the reality of the deep divisions, factions and competing interests, fuelled by capital, that exists. Neither did it assume it would in magic wand exercise sense be attained. It was fully cognisant and conversant with the facts that the Movement is gravely ill in factionalism and tearing as divided in its soul ravaged by the conflicting colours of capital that confirms a malignant tumour that eats away at the soul of the Movement. It equally understood that not one person is to blame for the ANC’s state, therefore not one person can assume to be the answer in fixing the ANC.
Conference then decidedly placed the burden and hopes to work for that unity on the shoulders of you and all other eight-five in one ANC team. It in a sense gave you a day old infant; fragile, susceptible, helpless and in need of tender care and consistent attention. Permit me to use the analogy, it placed unity in the hands of a proverbial hostile divorcing mother and father and summoned them to forget about their differences, egos, self-interests and justified claims of revenge and work together to nurture the baby unity, for without unity there would be no union called ANC.
By the same token when the 54th Conference mandated its leaders to work for renewal it was not the first time since its 53rd Conference equally exacted that same mandate. In as much a unity is not a person, renewal equally so is not to be deliberately misunderstood as the antithesis of a certain person or a group. Organisational renewal is exactly what it means the organisation in all facets in all spheres and across all expression of structures of leadership and accompanying membership surrenders to renew itself in serving the ideals for which it remains trusted to lead. Renewal therefore is personal, and starts with naked self-introspect. Renewal was never a group calling others, thieves in self-righteousness, defending corruption in one way but condemning it loudly another way. Renewal’s call cannot be abused by anyone who essentially hopes to benefit from your leadership. Renewal, Comrade president, as you know is a conscious decision to change at fundamental level in ethos, practice, and persuaded by a higher calling the opposite of self-interest, a sense of finding the core again.
Cadre President of the ANC, we have heard you speak of a transition; indeed, I am not averse to that because transitions should occur in mature organisations among mature leaders and in respectful environments. We have heard you articulate it as a functional reality that is currently unfolding between mature ANC leaders immanent in yourself and your predecessor in the ANC and still SA president till 2019. We however have also heard the doublespeak in you on this transition, particularly in your CNN interview and later BBC interviews. In such you were intimating a transition that is not easily readable, hence some concluded you rushing home to ensure that the sitting president is disallowed to deliver SONA 2018. What shall it be, because the choices for the ANC and you as its leader are not as simple as they appear?
Comrade President, there are those who see your election in the frame of heaven has come down to earth, they forget you have been around since 2012 in deputising at both organisation and State levels. They forgot you are the leader of Government business and that includes the SOE’s. The new board of Eskom is welcomed, yet I confess my pessimism as one of those who foresee the imminent privatisation of the SOE with a crop of already empowered BEE beneficiaries ready to benefit again. May this not be the case?
Cadre Ramaphosa, while you were in Davos, there are those back home insisting you deliver the SONA 2018, it appears for them a natural conclusion, however you as a mature politician should know, this has all the shades of a political trap, that could scupper the very premise for your ascendance to power. You will forgive me for seeing you at times appearing swayed if not pressurised to want to yield to this temptation of the moment, I therefore implore you stay the course and do not insert yourself into a SONA 2018, your time for delivering SONA’s will come.
Maqabane, may I also suggest that you desist the natural temptation to slip back into CR17 campaign mode. I know across the Atlantic Donald Trump has decided he will be the forever campaigning president when he four months into his first term unequivocally registered an interest to run for the second term. Campaigning is exciting though also intense, but some people struggle to get over campaigning. Now I can appreciate that your eye is really on the big prize that being to lead SA come 2019. For now lead the ANC build the movement, entrenched its unity call and lead from the front on its policies, resolutions and adopted programmes. Leading SA will come when the time is right.
I am sure some trusted strategists around you will be advocating continue with the CR17 campaign. At Davos in your CNN Amanpour interview, perhaps not sensing she was cleverly leading you into a trap, no different to what Karima Brown of 702 recently did, for which you later, we are told apologised, you appeared not able to resist the temptation to say your campaign was run on the principle of eradicating corruption. I had wanted you to say the ANC ran campaigns against corruption. Cadre, this is how easy; one can be duped into abandoning your ANC president role and fall back in campaigning mode. You are the president of the ANC not of a faction, not of a group neither of a claimed group of self-proclaimed angels be they in business, politics, historical in ANC presence, the clergy, academia, organised labour, Tripartite alliance or civil society. Resist the temptation to be lured back into campaigning mode.
Comrade Cyril, the 54th Conference unequivocally resolved on radical economic transformation, land redress through expropriation, free education a change of Reserve Bank and other pertinent choices. Please do not entertain any sweet-talking of these be it from anyone you lead or yourself. These resolutions constitute the will of the masses; nor entertain any downplaying of the 54th conference in its resolutions. Upon you and your team’s shoulders lay the responsibility to give meaning to the hitherto deferred economic emancipation of the South African masses. Do not allow any diluting of the clarion call to transform the SA economy regardless what it may cost in friendship, comradeship, business associate-link or narrow international interest.
Maqabane, every ANC president is as strong as the NEC he leads, meaning the team that one is elected to lead, is essential, one must not remotely assume one can lead without them. Every one of them no dissimilar to you as the president was elected by the same conference. Let the NEC count in what it is constitutionally mandated to do. Let the office bearers for their mandates count. Let leadership count for the unity and renewal mandates exacted against its existence. Let it count for the reality that the 54th elections delivered a very tight contest and the ANC is still working for this envisioned unity as not yet attained, meaning to pretend the ANC is one, is necessarily an exercise of expediency that usually results in careless decisions with unintended consequences.
Lastly, Care Ramaphosa, resist all temptations of those who want to carry you on their shoulders into Mahlamba Ndlopfu before your time. Do not be over anxious to take over the South African Presidency, it is a hot-seat and taken in the wrong time will be more heated. In the game of golf they say never swing on another man’s honour, meaning swing and stroke when you suppose to. The facts are no president in democratic SA has ever finished two terms, and whether we want to admit it or become embarrassed by it, it is our history nevertheless, it threatens being made practice, and if a practice it is almost a norm.
I have often heard many claims on a Mandela having served only one term. In my assessment perhaps a more appropriate claim is that he really served half of that one term, since his deputy led SA given the international demands of his iconic status. I have elsewhere postulated the jury remains out as to what a Mandela in his second term may have become. History has not afforded us to know and probably Madiba’s true wisdom lies in this that he correctly read the challenges of second term and was at an individual level maybe not ready to deal, with what it may have resulted in for his personal legacy, hence he opted to leave after one term.
The, adage, patience has killed no one remains true. I am convinced the ANC will be returned to power come 2019 because I do not accept the peddled lie engineered by a DA opposition and propagated by some even in the ANC that the masses have turned their backs on the ANC. Hence my advise wait and let South Africa vote you to lead it as it did with three of four of its democratic-era presidents. So far the ANC has elected you to lead it as an organisation; it remains an esteemed honour and humbled privilege. I do not accept the notion that you were denied to lead back then, your time is now. I want to believe you ready to lead the 6th administration that is anticipated to start with a 2019 election. You too if you bid your time will be entrusted to lead. Resist those who tell you, you going in now will make such a huge difference, they may not be telling you the truth.
You have my support in as far as you are ready to give true effect to the 54th Conference mandate as exacted against your leadership. I however withhold the right to publically challenge any ANC leadership that will attempt to downplay, veer – off, fall in temptation of an ill focus of that which was bestowed. We will hawkishly watch any attempt to work against the fundamental principles of unity and renewal as the body of this unsolicited advise note delineates.
I continue to respect the elected ANC leadership of whom you are the head. I have confidence in the ANC, I still vote ANC, it is the only Movement I know, since I was raised in it. Serve this Movement not the interest of anyone. Lead as directed by the ANC not anyone outside of the ANC.
Clyde N.S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator and Writer
Chairperson TMoSA Foundation (Thinking Masses of SA)
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