DEAR ANC public representative, the beauty of our democracy is that as citizens, we always reserve the right to influence and to ‘be influenced by one another, It is in this spirit that, taking a cue from President Jacob Zuma’s political report yesterday, I write this open letter.
As a citizen, I am thankful for some of your sacrifices and commitment to our country: However, I must confess that, like your president, I am troubled by tendencies you have developed. Almost all of you applauded in agreement with the president’s analysis of the state of your organisation, particularly when it comes to leadership, What I do not understand is that when some of us – and those in the media – make the same analysis you are quick to label us as people with “secret agendas”.
It is unfortunate that it appears as if you – the public representatives – are no longer tolerant towards constructive criticism. Many of you are short-tempered and demonstrate autocratic tendencies. It is a pity that you’ve lost objectivity on a number of issues and even fail to think independently.
You are now relying on party caucuses to think, analyse and decide for you. Hence you cannot even explain some of the controversial decisions you and your party have supported. Meetings in your wards and constituencies are now a privilege and not a right as our constitution asserts. The agenda of what is supposed to be inclusive community meetings is decided by the caucus, regional executive council and branch executive council.
Arrogantly, you and your cronies assume that you own someone or some areas hence creating the so-called ‘no-go’ areas. Soon, through democratic means, people will remind you that they are not owned by anyone, as they are responsible for their destiny. Some of your greed is amazing. Your families and friends are the only ones to benefit from government tenders. You seem to forget about the fact that among us citizens, there are those who are still condemned to deprivation and are therefore forced to beg, to prostitute themselves because of their economic and social conditions.
There are those who are gripped by poverty, who are fearful of the future because they know that tomorrow will be worse than today. The principles and discipline associated with our national struggle no longer apply to you; you are now political gods who covertly terrorise those with opposing views.
While one understands that like the majority of us, yours was a humble and poor beginning, it always saddens me watching you misusing that experience to address your selfish ends, However, I find comfort in the fact that your own president is speaking strongly against corrupt people like you, and because of that you will soon learn that being in power does not give you licence to mismanage.
One hopes that soon your organisation will realise that you are an embarrassment to it and the community you purport to represent, and that being an ANC representative in government has nothing to do with corruption and the lowering of standards. Surely that is not a positive image.
As a patriot, I appeal to your conscience, to begin to listen to the cries of the poor and the destitute. I appeal to you to use the responsibility given to you by the vote of the same people you now despise, for which some had to pay the ultimate price so that the plight of our country can be free, to advance the cause of freedom from want. I humbly ask you to learn from what chairman Mao Zedong said in Classics of Tyranny, where he warns against such behavior and attitudes.
In his plea to political leaders he said: “Never adopt arrogant attitude of great power chauvinism and become conceited of victory… Modesty helps one to go forward, whereas conceit makes one lag behind.”
I hope I will meet you after your NGC, as changed leaders. It is never too late for change.