Thursday’s Freedom day speeches were not without talks directed to President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress (ANC), but former tourism minister Derek Hanekom elucidated on the whole issue by saying the call isn’t a hate call but a plea to lighten the burdens of poor masses.
Hanekom, who is also a member of the ANC national executive committee, said while addressing hundreds of ANC supporters at the Khayelitsha cadres forum at Noluthando special school as part of Freedom Day celebrations on Thursday, that the call for change within the ANC and in Zuma’s government aren’t acts of hate against the President or the party, but as the best way South Africans call government’s attention to the woes that have befallen the country under their care.
He, therefore, told ANC leaders including President Jacob Zuma to start listening to the people and alliance partners and step down when called to resign.
“If you are the president of the country, serve with honesty and diligence. If you are the deputy president, do the same, if you are a minister do the same. It is not about targeting an individual, but if an individual starts going wrong, that individual must be able to say I hear you. I hear Cosatu, the SACP, I hear the veterans, I hear the integrity commission, I hear half of the NEC.” Derek Hanekom said,
“How much more people must say please Mr. President? Please help us get out of these difficulties times. Not because we hate you, not at all. We love our movement, but we believe you are in a position to help us” he added.
Derek Hanekom was among the ministers axed by Zuma during his loudly condemned cabinet reshuffled which saw most of SA’s respected individuals like Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Jonas removed.
The ANC top members believed that while Zuma had the right to reshuffle his cabinet, party’s officials and alliance partners needed to be consulted. Thus for this move, officials it never followed party’s due process.
Like most other ANC top officials, Derek Hanekom said no consultation was made concerning the matter. A lot of us were expecting something to happen because it goes back to Nkandla, it goes back to the axing of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. We know that comrade Pravin (Gordhan) was brought in to help us resolve the crisis, he said,
“But we know ever since then he has been viewed as someone standing in the way of further corruption. We knew it was coming. The alliance knew it was coming. When the president informed other leaders of the SACP that it was his intention to replace comrade Pravin with Brian Molefe, they said no. It is not about Molefe, but we have read the ‘State of Capture’ report,” he added.
He also told cheering crowd that many ANC officials such as secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa were still not happy with Zuma’s move.
That was wrong. It is not how we conduct our business in the ANC. We must bring people with us, he said, calling on the ANC top officials to put their anger aside and come together to honor the sacrifices made by the likes of Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, by uprooting the rot in the party.
“If we pretend there is no rot and go to the elections tomorrow, we will not get 60%. If we go to elections tomorrow, we might not get 50%. We might not be in government anymore.”
“This transition to the freedom that we seek might come to an end because of ourselves. We must recognize the rot,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President, Jacob Zuma also gave his Freedom day speech where he also targetted his detractors saying those seeking his removal were political hypocrites.
Zuma lashed out at his critics for labeling him as anti-democratic, while failing to engage with him constructively about their criticism.
“Many criticize us and say we don’t respect democracy. But they don’t engage us respectfully or debate constructively as is done in a democracy,” Zuma said.
He, however, reiterated his words about ensuring land redistribution, saying the land question will feature prominently at the June conference of the ANC.