The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has urged members of South Africa’s ruling ANC party to “follow their consciences” when they elect a new leader next week. Members of the ANC will gather at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg from Saturday (16 December) until Wednesday. One of their tasks will be to elect a new party leader in place of President Jacob Zuma, who has been mired in controversy and allegations of corruption.
President Zuma is currently waiting to hear whether he will face prosecution on corruption charges. Last week, the country’s High Court ruled that Zuma’s appointment of Shaun Abrahams as state prosecutor was invalid. The court set aside the appointment saying that there was a conflict of interest in the President appointing somebody to decide whether or not he should be prosecuted.
The current favourite to succeed Zuma as ANC leader is South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. A close second is Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife. Ramaphosa is the only candidate so far to secure nomination in ANC’s electoral process which involves local branches and state conferences. But nominations can also be made from the floor once the conference gets underway.
In a message to ANC members, Archbishop Thabo said that South Africans have “been waiting, praying and anticipating a renaissance of values-based, ethical and moral leadership for nearly ten years. We are now on destiny’s doorstep.
“As people of faith, our hope is always in God and not in any political party or in whoever a party may choose as its leader. But, as church leaders said in a joint statement over this weekend, we do need political leaders of integrity who will put the common good above all else.”
He said that destiny was not a matter of chance, but of choice, and he said that representatives at the ANC conference “have the opportunity of a lifetime: to put all factional, partisan interests aside, to follow their consciences and to be the architects of a flourishing South Africa.
“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not come – all we have is today,” he said. “Your choice, your votes will determine not only your future, but the future of your children, your grandchildren and their grandchildren’s future.
“I have a simple message: Make your decision as if you were going to die tomorrow. You are not a voter for the ANC, not even a delegate. You are an awakener.
“You are the voice of tomorrow’s South Africa. You face a moment of decision in which you will shape your destiny and the destiny of our beloved country.”
He said that the vote had the potential to “open the window of equality of opportunity for all South Africans” or to risk “another decade of moral famine.”