THE ANC turned 101 last month, and the road it has travelled is filled with both tears and joy. As we continue to fight and raise our voices to shape our democracy, those in leadership should never forget why John Langalibalele Dube and other comrades met in Bloemfontein in 1912 and founded the South African Native National Congress.
They were not motivated by selfenrichment or popularity with the oppressed masses. Their mission was to bring about democracy and a better life for all.
The road they took was filled with difficulties. Some resigned and decided to go it alone, but those who believed in the cause remained true to the spirit of liberating the oppressed.
Now, 101 years later, that spirit lingers, but the character of the party’s membership and leadership has changed. The democracy seized in 1994 has given rise to people who use the ANC to enrich themselves.
The party has become a stepping stone to state resources in the form of tenders. The spirit that drove leaders to dedicate their lives and risk banishment, and even death, to bring about democracy is gone.
What drives the nation today is how much money is to be made from the government system. Who among the leaders today, from the ruling party and the opposition parties, is willing to work for the advancement of the country without a fat reward?
Politics has turned into a career and that is why we have so many splinter groups claiming to be our true representatives.
Though we celebrate with the ruling party and take pride in the road it has travelled, the ruling party should remember that it originates its power and legitimacy from the people on the ground. The scrapyard of history is full of former liberation organisations that ended up useless soon after taking power because they abandoned their true mandate, which is to serve the people.
Sitembiso Dlukulu, Motherwell, Port Elizabeth