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AS THE ruling party prepares to hold its policy conference in Midrand two luminaries have sounded warnings that should be heeded.
First, party veteran MP Ben Turok warned against a growing narrow African nationalism in the party and called for non-racialism and a strong parliamentary democracy that does not decline into a one-party state. He was speaking at the launch of two books in a new series, Ruth First and Albert Luthuli. A clearer vision of nation-building should lead to “what we want to see in the country”, Turok said.
In the same vein, former government functionary Reverend Frank Chikane urged ordinary South Africans to stop voting in leaders who were not delivering on their promises.
He was addressing the Tshwane University of Technology’s business school. Chikane was a director-general and cabinet secretary who served all the presidents since 1996.
He also lambasted public servants and leaders who were in government to pursue personal interests.
Nation-building as suggested by Turok, and service delivery as espoused by Chikane, cannot be divorced.
It is only through a truly united SA that all the ideals that political parties – notably the ruling ANC – aspire to can be realised.
It thus brings into sharp focus the ANC’s impending policy conference. These policies will be further debated during the Mangaung elective conference in December, and will inform and guide future government policy.
A lot of criticism has been directed at the ANC for failing to unite the country behind one common vision, and poor service with some areas still lagging behind in basic services.
It is incumbent upon delegates to put aside the leadership divisions and focus on what the country needs. It is not about them, as Chikane rightly points out, but about the people who have put them into power in the first place.
The “second transition” must indeed herald a SA all can be proud to call home. The ANC national conference is the place to start.