On Thursday night, he said political developments in the country provided an opportunity for leaders to take a closer look at the fault lines within the party.
They needed to ask themselves questions, such as “how quickly are we going to move from corruption and kleptocracy and have ethical leadership that Mandela and Sisulu reflected in their lifetime?”
Gordhan was speaking at the screening of the documentary Promises and Lies: The Fault Lines in the ANC, at Constitution Hill in Joburg, hours after the high court in Pretoria ruled that President Jacob Zuma would have to reveal his exact reasoning for axing Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Gordhan said the ANC’s values and ethos were being challenged, “if not being undermined. We do want to hear the truth about what is happening at present.”
Gordhan said that as leaders, the ANC needed to confront “certain truths”, such as fighting decay in the organisation.
He stressed that organisations left on their own “can decay or rot”, and lamented that the word “politician” was associated with the “worst form of opportunism” the world over, including South Africa.
“We are living at a time when we have to look in the mirror to check if the tie is straight. Let’s first look at ourselves and have conversations with ourselves - what are our weaknesses, do we have the will to self-correct, the humility to reflect on one’s own weaknesses?” asked Gordhan.
He said the shelf life of former liberation movements was about 20 years before they “lose their sense of purpose, degenerate in one form or the other, corruption and kleptocracy take over and lose (public) office; some sooner, some later”.
He continued: “Are we going to become victims of that history? Are we going to allow this organisation to move in the wrong direction?”
Gordhan said he wondered how the ANC had ended up where it was currently. “(How did it end up) eating up and beating up your own? How did we end up with the MKMVA (Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association) that we have today?”
However, not all was lost. “We have to go back to the ambition we have that the ANC and other organisations will continue to serve the people of South Africa to lead sustainable lives as we move into the future."
“There will always be contestation about ideas and contestation of positions. There is still hope that both the organisation and the country can self-correct or be corrected by its own people. We have hope that we can achieve the aspirations (espoused) in the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan,” said Gordhan.