ANC and government leaders who have lost public confidence must step aside to honour the values of former South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani.
This was Eastern Cape premier and ANC provincial chairman, Phumulo Masualle’s message yesterday at the Chris Hani Memorial Lecture in Cofimvaba.
Masualle, who is also a member of the SA Communist Party, said it was senseless for leaders to stay in power, even when they were the source of disunity in the country.
Masualle highlighted there was a need for today’s leaders to be honest and trusted by the public, as was the case with the likes of Hani and the ANC’s longest-serving president, the late Oliver Tambo.
“As leaders we should serve our people selflessly without personal benefits for ourselves,” he said.
“We need to have leaders who will strengthen the ANC of OR Tambo to be able to protect and fight for the marginalised and majority of our people and restore its glory and dignity.
“If that cannot be the case, we must criticise each other internally and, if it is agreed that someone must step aside, they must oblige because this ANC belongs to no individual,” he said.
“We need leaders who will unite the ANC and make it attractive and trusted by all and sundry. “Those who are the cause of disunity must step aside so that the struggles of the likes of Chris Hani do not become in vain.”
Masualle said although the Hani generation had successfully waged battle with the apartheid regime and defeated it, the freedom was incomplete until the fall of capitalism.
“The struggle continues.
“We might have achieved political freedom in 1994, but we are yet to achieve economic freedom for the majority of the people of this country as the wealth still rests in the hands of the minority.”
The question though, said Masualle, was just how far was everyone willing to go despite persecution and ridicule in the fight for economic emancipation of the black majority.
Masualle believes many can learn from from Hani’s “militancy and determination to fight for the cause of our people”.
He was referring to “The Hani Memorandum” for which he and six others were expelled by the ANC national executive committee in 1969 – and later reinstated.
Hani’s outspokenness against and criticism of his own organisation should be encouraged, as long as it was done internally he said.
The disagreements and factional fights in the ANC today, said Masualle, were mainly over the control of state resources.
This was derailing the radical economic transformation agenda for the majority of black South Africans, he said.
Chris Hani district municipality mayor Koliswa Vimbayo, who also spoke at the event, committed her municipality to several service delivery projects it would embark on to celebrate Hani’s legacy.
Among other things, Vimbayo said the municipality, in keeping with Hani’s values and fight against inequality, would provide assistance to emerging black business people in the area.
The municipality would be having no less than eight programmes organised to celebrate Hani’s life this month, including a marathon at his village of birth, Sabalele, this weekend. — firstname.lastname@example.org