‘Tambo would have kept ANC on track’

The unveiling of the statue of OR Tambo at the international arrival section of the OR Tambo airport in Kempton Park.
Revealing an icon The unveiling of the statue of OR Tambo at the international arrival section of the OR Tambo airport in Kempton Park.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Had struggle veteran and longest-serving ANC president Oliver Reginald Tambo still been alive, none of the challenges faced by the ruling party would exist.

This is according to ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang, who delivered a Tambo memorial lecture at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital Resource Centre on Thursday night.

The lecture was organised by the OR Tambo district municipality

Msimang, who was Tambo’s private secretary, made reference in his speech to the reported love triangle scandal involving mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe and finance minister Tito Mboweni.

He said there was no accountability in the ANC and discipline was poor in its ranks.

“These are leading members of the ANC.

“Tambo used to say the purpose of our struggle is to defeat the apartheid regime, and replace it with a democratic and ethical system of government,” Msimang said.

“It’s not ethical that people in leadership would feature in these things.

“OR would have said in this case we want to establish the facts and decide on the right course of action together with others, because he was very consultative and would say they must refute it in a credible way,” he said.

Msimang said leadership should be accountable morally.

He described Tambo as a well-rounded athlete who was a good horseman and tennis player, and a talented choir conductor.

“He had a good brain and was such a modest man.”

Msimang said the difference between the leadership of Tambo and now was that one would have expected ANC leaders to get everybody to talk about how to resolve a deepening  crisis such as occurred during the Zuma era, as Tambo had done with the Morogoro consultative conference in 1969.

Msimang added it would be a good thing for citizens to ensure leaders accounted for their actions.

Turning to the recent attacks on foreign nationals in Johannesburg, Msimang said xenophobic behaviour did not belong in the ranks of the ANC, and SA — as a leading economy in Africa — should embrace its counterparts from the rest of the continent.

Sport, recreation, arts & culture MEC Fezeka Nkomonye-Bayeni lauded Tambo  for the way he had sacrificed everything for liberation.

She said the provincial government had resolved to celebrate Tambo on some public holidays.

“He had the responsibility to gather people with different views.

[Today] we love factions. No-one wants to emulate Tambo and be a unifier.

“In these coming conferences, think about that,” she said.