Heart and soul of ANC in disarray – Pahad

The branches of the African National Congress (ANC), which he referred to as the "heart and soul" of the party, are in disarray, former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad said.

Speaking at the Oliver Tambo centenary talks in Pretoria on Tuesday, Pahad said, "We still belong to our branches. The heart and soul of the ANC are the branches. The majority of these branches are in disarray. My own branch is in disarray."

Pahad said he was saddened by the current state of the ANC and its leadership.

He said the once glorious movement faces a terrible challenge and crisis of leadership.

"It's in my view a crisis of perhaps ... not recognising what are the serious problems and what needs to be done to address these challenges."

Pahad is among many ANC struggle stalwarts who have spoken out against the party's current leadership headed by President Jacob Zuma.

He said the ANC was the only home stalwarts like him knew and he intended dying as an ANC member.

"What we don't want is the ANC to die with us. It would die if we do not regenerate the movement."

Explaining his reasoning that the ANC branches were in a mess, Pahad said he has been waiting for a renewal of his membership card for just under a year.

"Every time I ask, they say Comrade please come give us a political class. What is most required is not so much what veterans can do... it's in your hands. You must make sure that the movement gets back to its values."

He said waking up to a city which is led by the Democratic Alliance is most unfortunate and it was a nightmare.

Pahad urged the ANC to follow Tambo's leadership.

He said Tambo was always ready to face up to problems and never resisted change.

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) was faced with another motion of no confidence tabled against Zuma at the weekend.

This followed a Sunday Times newspaper expose detailing the Gupta's influence on cabinet appointments.

The ANC NEC resolved to have an inquiry into state capture established.

Dr Essop Pahad in debate with Ronnie Kasrils at SABC 3's Interface studios

OPEN LETTER TO RONNIE KASRILS

My dear comrade Ronnie,

For more than 50 years we worked together as comrades in the structures and leadership pf the ANC and the SACP. I always value your friendship, comradeship, heroism and passionate commitment to our movement and our freedom struggle. I continue to regard you as one of my closest and dearest friend and comrade.

As a comrade and friend I must emphasise that I categorically and emphatically disagree with your approach in the so-called Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no campaign.

This is in essence a desperate anti-ANC campaign in favour of the opposition parties. Whatever the differences we have with the ANC or even serious concerns about developments in the ANC and the government, I do not believe that a hostile anti-ANC campaign will contribute to assisting the movement to correct the mistakes and take steps to fight corruption, factionalism and disunity  in the ANC and the Alliance.

As comrade Pallo Jordan put it most succinctly when he wrote: “Terrible deeds that compromised the movement’s principles were committed in the course of the struggle. Some opted to leave the ANC at such moments. Hani, like most of us, chose to remain in the ranks to rectify the errors and heal our self-inflicted wounds rather than leaving and surrendering the movement to the untender mercies of those likely to undermine its values.”(Business Day, April 10, 2014). I believe it is also a good guide on how to conduct ourselves in relation to the present developments in the ANC, the Alliance and government.

The ANC, notwithstanding serious problems within it, remains the most effective instrument to bring about fundamental change and transformation in our country in favour of the poor and workers, the continent and international relations.

Given your deep commitment, which I and many others share, to the struggle of the Palestinians for freedom, democracy, peace and justice, I frankly don’t understand  how  a mass solidarity movement in support of the Palestinians can be built in our country without the active involvement of the ANC cadres, members and leaders.

It is therefore a great pity that you have chosen this path of an anti-ANC grouping. It is not too late to remedy the mistake.

I remain convinced that the country, the continent and progressive forces in the world want and need a strong, united, cohesive ANC.

I believe many of our comrades and Veterans share my wish that you re-think the position you are taking

Yours in the struggle,

Dr. Essop Pahad
Editor - The Thinker Magazine