One of the most unfortunate circumstances that have characterized democratic processes in South Africa is the puddling of falsehood that anyone who possesses scandalous past, questionable character and arrogant behavior does bear good leadership qualities. It is no surprise that individuals such as the current president of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, is still seen by many as an embodiment of what a real cadre should look like. It is also not surprising that certain members in the ANC would see nothing wrong about all the fiasco that takes place in both the ANC as a liberating movement and the SABC as the public broadcaster. It is indeed mind boggling that certain members such as Zizi Kodwa would not hesitate to deface their political image just to defend the personality, Hlaudi Motsoeneng the COO of SABC, at the expense of the public in whose name the broadcaster is established, a typical example of the obvious decay within the ANC.
While some are still wondering what will ever happen to Mr Motsoeneng, others are hell bent to defend him despite his breath taking irresponsibility. And while many in the ANC, of course behind the facade as created by the party’s Chief Whip, Mr Jackson Mthembu, that the ruling part is concerned about the disheartening lack of good leadership at the SABC, continue to applaud Motsoeneng for acting as nothing more than a noisy overgrown baby that failed to mature, as professor Jonathan Moyo would put it, the majority of ANC members and its substructures including the ANC Youth League are still determined to defend the man who is himself the very core of the problem. Even more discomforting is the reality that many in the ANC fought for freedom of expression, free media reporting and, most importantly, against censorship during apartheid. Perhaps it is high time the ruling ANC realized that defiance and arrogance pay no dividends in politics.
Perhaps what the ruling party needs to do to rectify these challenges which obviously have a direct bearing on its credibility as a liberation movement is to do away with treating history as a qualifying criterion for critical positions in its structures. They need to decease their tendencies of personalizing the historical in their attempts to select good leaders. In fact, the fact that some of its members were part of the struggle for liberation should not be seen a given that they have good leadership qualities. Also, the fact that others are too vocal in parliamentary committees and other gatherings should not be confused with possession of good leadership qualities to lead the party and subsequently rule the country. Clearly, there are good leaders in the ANC who possess qualities of what a good leader should look like; there are also those who have shown commitment to serving the movement who also possess good leadership in their respective departments. Lastly, there are those who hold leadership experiences but have no history of serving in the fight against apartheid who possess the necessary skills and qualities to lead.
These groups could still be chosen on merits rather than on historical grounds and could still prove to be good leaders. Surely, the current leadership in the ANC is fast becoming a venomous seed geared towards destroying the movement from within. The sooner this is addressed the better. And unless this is addressed, the current weakening and cracks in the party will continue to deepen.
By Thompson wa ka Mabunda
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