Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says the ANC government “horrendously sabotaged” the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) by not implementing recommendations like the wealth tax to benefit people who suffered under apartheid.
“The wealth tax would have made our economic situation different today and the rich agreed to paying it,” Tutu said.
He was speaking at a special media briefing at St George’s Cathedral on Wednesday after he had received “numerous requests” to speak about the country’s 20 years of democracy.
“South Africa has the biggest gap between rich and poor. We could have at least narrowed that gap. The ANC undermined the integrity of the TRC. You can never compensate a mother who lost a son or daughter. But we wanted to show that we were sorry for what had happened,” he said.
Tutu said the commission had recommended a R20 000 per annum payout for victims for six years, “but many of those who suffered had died before a mere R40 000 once-off amount was paid out”.
“That is the little we paid out to those who suffered for our freedom. I think because President (Nelson) Mandela only served one term made it difficult for the commission.
“I could call Madiba, my dear friend, at any time and speak about the (TRC) recommendations,” Tutu said.
“I feel deeply burdened that this is what we did to the people who prevented a bloodbath in our country.”
Asked about the ANC’s current leadership, Tutu said: “There are some good people within the ANC and then there are some mediocre ones. The ANC shamelessly shot themselves in the foot. In the past the ANC stood for the society we wanted.
“I am an old man, and with the rest of those who struggled with me wanted to cheer the young leaders of today… but that’s not the case.”
Tutu said he would vote in the May 7 general elections, but not for the ANC.
“I won’t be telling you who I am going to vote for though,” he cheerfully told journalists.
“I won’t vote for them (the ANC). I dreamt of a society where people had really mattered. But still many of our children are being educated under trees and in mud schools,” he said.
Tutu said although the country had made many strides, the problems it faced needed urgent attention.
“Many more people have running water. We have mixed races in relationships.
“We have to be proud of our nation and our constitution.
“We have all these wonderful things, but ons moet ook die waarheid praat (but we must also speak the truth),” he said.
Tutu’s message to South Africans was simple: “Think carefully before you make your cross. Don’t vote mindlessly, don’t vote (like) cattle.
“Pray deeply before you go to the voting station and ask God to direct you in the right way.
“That cross you make will determine life for the next five years.
“I pray after May 7 we could all walk tall together as South Africans.”