By Tiisetso ‘Afrika’ Makhele
Dear Comrade Mbalula
I have read, and re-read, your comments made on Twitter regarding the current Chairperson of the ANC in Free State, Comrade Ace Magashule, and his possible nomination to serve as the Secretary General (SG) of the ANC after the 54th Conference in December this year.
In your multiple tweets, you make statements which remain unclear, unsubstantiated and often confusing. I will deal with these details later. Let me state out rightly that I, like yourself, am not part of any faction. I am yet to pronounce on my leadership preferences towards the conference. I also respect your preference for the position of Secretary General, as stated in your tweets. Below are some of my impressions on your stated positions.
Every member has a right to be elected
In its historic document, Through the Eye of the Needle (2001), the ANC states unequivocally that “every member of the ANC has the right to vote for, and be elected into, leadership positions”. Your remark, which states; “Ace Magashule is a definite no no no”, seems to go directly in contrast to this Constitutional guideline, as contained in the document.
If, in your assertion, you argued that Comrade Magashule is suitable to be elected into any position in the ANC, except for the position of Secretary General, your arguments would be even weaker. This is because the document I have alluded to above states, amongst others, but even more emphatically, that collective leadership is one of the principles that should inform organisational democracy. “Individual leaders are elected into collectives which should work as a unit, fulfilling their mandate as dictated to by the constitution. No single person is a leader unto himself or herself, but a member of a collective which should give considered, canvassed guidance to the membership and society as a whole”, the document states.
In your claim that Comrade Magashule will, if elected, kill the ANC, are you deliberately subjugating the principle of collective leadership, or are you affording Comrade Magashule super powers that would allow him to kill the movement, right under the watch of other elected leaders? I ask this because your tweets, given their brevity and limited nature, were unable to provide us with any sensible bases for your claims and conclusions.
On the killing of the movement
In one tweet, you allege that “..the man (Magashule) will finish what is remaining of our movement he will kill it inffect (sic”. I assume once again that you are referring to the possible election of Comrade Magashule as SG in this claim. Again, your tweet is guilty of not unpacking the circumstances and nature of this act of killing.
I am again at pains to understand how you fear that Comrade Magashule will kill the ANC. I will rely on the traits you have identified from your preferred candidate, Comrade David Makhura, as opposed to those of Comrade Magashule. You state that, “David Makhura is good damn good (sic) Leader (sic) hard working and honest cde…” Because you did not provide us with the basis of your narrative, am I wrong to assume that you believe that Comrade Magashule will kill the movement because i) he is not hard working and; ii) he is not honest?
Your statement above is perplexing, to say the least. The statement is also not scientific, in that it does not rely on facts nor history. For example, in the Free State, where Comrade Magashule served as both Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson in the past 24 years or so, there has never been any apparent killing of the movement. This is despite the fact that he had ample opportunity to do so, because he was part of the elected collective.
Throughout those years, Comrade Magashule has been an integral part of teams that have made the Free State to have active and vibrant structures. Compared to other provinces, the ANC in Free State has proven to have relatively better relations with other Alliance partners. It is in this province where the ANC has proved to be leading the state, and not vice versa.
Through the Operation Hlasela Service Delivery Model, which was adopted by the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) in 2009, the Free State government has realised progress in areas of education, health, social development, economic transformation, human settlements and financial management as well as good governance.
The latter is proven by the significant improvement in audit outcomes of provincial departments, municipalities and entities, over years. The above would not be a reality if the ANC had been killed by Comrade Magashule and his comrades. My attempt to understand the basis and the veracity of your wild claim that Comrade Magashule will kill the movement remains in vain.
On lobbying versus character assassination
At its meeting last month, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) agreed that discussions around principles to guide the election of leaders should continue, but must be monitored and “nobody should ridicule or defame any other potential candidate nor should they tarnish the name of the ANC in the process”.
By using a distorted and baseless claim to argue against the election of Comrade Magashule, as well as levelling fact-starved accusations against him, I fear that you may be running in tandem with assassinating his character. This is not the kind of leadership character I expect of a member of the ANC National Executive and Working Committees.
I have, over the past few weeks, drank in your well of political education as you respectfully schooled Trevor Manuel on the glorious concept of Radical Economic Transformation. I will continue to enjoy your insightful, well-written and well-stated articulations in the battle of ideas. I also wish that, even in this instance of your leadership preference, you could author a detailed piece for some of us to understand the basis of your conclusions further. But, until that has happened, I am left with nothing more than confusion, doubts and sheer shock.
Makhele is an ANC member in Bram Fischer Branch, Mangaung Region. He writes in his personal capacity