Former President Kgalema Motlanthe delivering the keynote address at the launch of Oxfam’s South African chapter at Constitution Hill. Picture: Luyolo Mkentane.

Johannesburg – Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has lashed out at the political crisis in the country, saying it was characterised by a morally corrupt and unjust leadership.

He also spoke out against the controversial state capture phenomenon, and said the divisions among leaders threatened the country’s cohesion. The ANC stalwart said they found themselves in a time where robust national discourse was “facing a deficit”.

Motlanthe made the remarks during his keynote address at the launch of Oxfam’s South African chapter at Constitution Hill in Joburg on Thursday.

He admitted that the hard fought for democracy was presently facing “numerous challenges”, adding: “Our ultimate goal is to deepen democracy and ensure no one is left behind its prescripts and promise … We face difficult times. It is critical that our hope for the future is not extinguished.”

Without mentioning any political party by name, Motlanthe said many former liberation movements had fallen to the “sins of incumbency” and had forgotten that they remain accountable to the people who put them in office.

African leaders, he said, were tasked with ensuring that citizens of their respective states experienced a meaningful change in their socio-economic lives.

On state capture, Motlanthe said the government and the state were being abused for “kleptocratic ends” and that it was the downtrodden who felt the consequences of these “deplorable acts” the most.

The state capture phenomenon came to the fore following the release of public protector’s State of Capture report, which shone the spotlight on the influence President Jacob

Zuma’s controversial friends, the Guptas, wielded in the awarding of state contracts, and appointment of cabinet ministers.

Motlanthe said: “The challenges that we face require that we act now, and that we act collectively, as African population cannot be fed with political slogan and jargon that has been in the public discourse.”

The former president also spoke against women abuse and characterised femicide as among the “unspeakable ills that strangulate society today”.

He said Karabo Mokoena’s life was snuffed out in the most unimaginable ways. Her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe has been arrested and charged with her gruesome murder.

“Statistics show that South Africa’s femicide rate is five times higher than the global figures … Women in our society live in a constant state of fear,” said Motlanthe.