ANC must learn to tolerate robust political debate
The Times Editorial: The ANC yesterday finally met Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza, who has faced a barrage of criticism over his comments about the ruling party.
A short statement issued last night said the party's secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, had met Khoza at ANC headquarters, Luthuli House.
"We are happy that this interaction took [place] in a cordial atmosphere and was fruitful.
"The meeting resolved what was perceived as a stand-off and addressed a variety of issues related to governance and business leadership," the party said.
But Khoza has had to endure four vicious attacks by senior party and government officials.
Mantashe, at a press conference two weeks ago to discuss unity among the ANC's leadership, started the attacks on Khoza, who had made highly critical remarks about the party in Nedbank's annual report.
Khoza wrote: "Our political leadership's moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past ..."
"South Africa is widely recognised for its liberal and enlightened constitution, yet we observe the emergence of a strange breed of leaders who are determined to undermine the rule of law and override the constitution."
Mantashe then launched a highly personal attack on Khoza. But there is little to glean from the ANC's sparse statement apart from the reference that "a variety of issues related to governance and business leadership" had been discussed.
We hope it was not a private session during which Mantashe attempted to browbeat Khoza into submission.
South Africa desperately needs robust debate about where the country is heading and the leadership required to continue to strengthen our democracy.
Shooting down Khoza for spelling out concerns that are widely felt will not help anyone - least of all the ruling party.