Bravery and courage needed to keep the ANC alive: Mdumiseni Ntuli
“The ANC will not live forever if we do not prepare it to live forever.”
This was the central theme of the speech delivered by KwaZulu-Natal ANC secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli.
He said this while honouring the late party stalwart Harry Gwala at the marking of Gwala's centenary birthday in the Midlands on Thursday. Gwala was an iconic leader of the liberation struggle and in 1992 was honoured with the Isithalandwe award for his role in the fight against apartheid.
“The ANC has the capacity to die and it will die if we do not protect it. That is why it is said, let us protect, build the party and hand it over to the next generation in perfect form,” said Ntuli.
He said while the current challenges facing the ANC differed from those of Gwala’s generation, the party could draw from his wisdom and astute leadership, that he said was honesty, bravery and courage.
“We must understand that the ANC is not going to live forever unless we prepare it to live forever. The biggest task to do this, is to do as the greats like Harry Gwala did. We need to understand that each period of the struggle has its own challenges,” said Ntuli.
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Among challenges faced by the ANC now, he said, were money and greed.
Emphasising this, Ntuli drew from what he said were warnings from former President Nelson Mandela.
“Problems that are affecting the organisation were identified many years ago. President Mandela raised that after 1994 we did not do enough to protect our movement from the staffriders who were joining the ANC at the time because they wanted to circumvent it for their own agenda,” he said.
“We also failed, when we realised this, to purge those people. Mandela called them mercenaries.”
Ntuli said the decay in the ANC had since grown worse, though it could still be fixed.
“To solve this, we need to be brave like Harry Gwala, have courage and capacity to speak the Right thing, even when it is those close to you who did wrong.”
Proposing a pathway for “saving” the ANC, Ntuli said while the party had agreed on renewal, there had been a conversation on what a renewed ANC would look like. He called for this discussion to take place urgently.
“We have to sit down and speak of how a renewed ANC would look. If we have consensus about what a renewed ANC will look like, we must also agree that some in the organisation will not be able to be part of a renewed ANC — they will not make the cut.”
The secretary called on all party members and leaders to call each other out for wrongdoing, even when it is their friends.
“If I don’t tell you that you are wrong, the cost of your wrongdoing will be heavy on the movement.
“The little that many do that is wrong combined contributes to something that is damaging to the reputation of the ANC — it undermines the movement of Harry Gwala.”