Time may be coming to an end for the “glorious movement” of the ANC, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said in an outspoken attack during a discussion on the Power98 radio programme Power Talk. The ANC – the African National Congress – has its roots in the anti-Apartheid struggle. It was the party of Nelson Mandela, and has formed the government in South Africa since the end of Apartheid.
But it has been mired in controversy under its current leader, the South African President Jacob Zuma. Zuma has been accused of corruption by a the office of the public protector – a finding he is currently challenging in the High Court; and has been found to have used public money to finance the refurbishment of his personal residence.
In a discussion with Power Talk host Iman Rappetti, Archbishop Thabo said: “Perhaps as South Africans we need to say yes, the glorious movent has done its part. If the glorious movement survives its December elective conference with whomever they elect, would the glorious party survive 2019? And maybe we need to move beyond the glorious movements and look at the glorious people of South Africa,” he said to applause from the audience.
Asked by the programme presenter Rappetti whether the ANC’s time has passed, he replied: “Yes. If the values can’t reside in the glorious movement, let it reside in the people of South Africa.”
He continued: “I’m saying that this is the time for South Africans to take their own destiny into their hands, and to rely less on political formations. Because they’re not leading us into . . . economic emancipation. They’re about power, they’re about resourcing themselves and their nearest and dearest, and for me the poorest of the poor . . . continue to be poor.”
Later in the programme, Archbishop Thabo said: “I always wrestle with . . . the question of when do we call for a withdrawal of moral support for a democratically elected government and I think that’s a deep struggle.”
The discussion was held to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of former ANC President OR (Oliver) Tambo, who died in 1993, a year before the first post-Apartheid elections.
Archbishop Thabo said that South Africans should not abandon the values of what he described as “the father of our country,” adding: “The values of OR as an Anglican Christian who nearly became a priest – his values were probably shaped by that passage in John 10: ‘He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly.’”
After referencing scriptures that mention the thief who comes to steal and rob, he said: “if I see, as a priest in South Africa, that South Africans are not flourishing because there are thieves and robbers who are jumping over the fence to steal the fat of the land, should I just stay in my chapel…?”
The ANC will elect a successor to Jacob Zuma next month when it meets for its 54th National Conference. It will also elect members of its national executive committee and other major party officials ahead of what observers say is the “most important general election in post-Apartheid South Africa”, which is planned for 2019.