17 March 2016
The African National Congress (ANC) has historically shown leadership in challenging times. In the early 90’s the leadership of the ANC courageously took the steps needed to bring South Africa back from the brink of civil war. Now, more than ever since then, the ANC needs to courageously steer the country through a mounting crisis: allegations that President Jacob Zuma ceded his executive power to his rich friends – the Gupta family. These allegations are serious because they are a gross violation of his oath of office in which he promises to devote himself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people.
The recent revelations by senior members of the ANC suggest that the party still has bold and courageous members who have both integrity and the capacity to deal with the challenge it faces. The majority of South Africans, by voting the ANC into power, indicate their faith in the party’s leadership capacity. That capacity counts in a time of crisis like now.
Those who have broken silence against the interference in Government by the Gupta family, or who have challenged organs of State that are being used for personal and political gain, are to be commended. They are not disloyal but South African patriots who put the country and its freedom, in short the common good, ahead of their party or personal interests.
The Jesuit Institute urges that independent investigations into the alleged corruption are instituted and should prima facie evidence emerge prosecutions must take place.
South Africa faces surmounting political challenges and is in an economic crisis. The free fall of the currency has been hastened, amongst other factors, by interference in Government. The events of the last few days have led to another dramatic fall in value against global currencies and further risked the country being downgraded. In a country where unemployment has already spiralled out of control the socio-economic consequences are potentially lethal. The ANC needs to act now to stabilise what is within its control.
Catholic Social Teaching says that the State is an instrument to promote, amongst other things, the “common good.” At this time the ANC needs to be unrelenting in using all its resources to pursue the common good. At this critical juncture it is the leadership of the ANC that can and must act boldly.
Opposition parties need to act wisely and with restraint and not use the current crisis for conceited political gain because the very future of the country is compromised. This is not a time for opportunists to make political capital out of national crisis.
The National Executive Committee of the ANC is due to meet in the next few days – this provides an opportunity for the ANC to show leadership. South Africa needs decisive and clear action at this time to address the serious political crisis the country faces. The current challenges are not insurmountable. The ANC must act decisively now for the common good and in the national interest.
For more information:
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ
Director: Jesuit Institute South Africa
+27 11 482 4237/ +27 82 737 2054
Dr Anthony Egan SJ
+27 11 482 4237/ +27 72 938 4553