Cape Town. 120208 R-L. Co ordinator for Kairos South Africa, Father Edwin Arrisson, Bishop Sibotas and Rev.Joe Setloane share a moment after the Kairos meeting at St Georges Cathedral. Photo by Michael Walker

Theological organisation Kairos Southern Africa will soon launch the KwaZulu-Natal leg of its campaign to collect a million signatures in support of a document, “A Word to the ANC in these times”, that it has sent to the ANC.

In the document, Kairos expresses concern that factionalism in the ANC, before its Mangaung elective conference, could affect proper leadership and governance and hinder provision of services.

It has raised several concerns with the ANC including governance, leadership, corruption and ethical matters.

The letter has already been handed to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, and in February Kairos launched a campaign to collect a million signatures in support of the message contained in the document.

Kairos, in partnership with the Diakonia Council of Churches, will launch the campaign in KZN later in April.

The KZN launch comes amid raging debate over criticism of the country’s leadership by Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza, which triggered angry reaction from ANC and government leaders.

While the document congratulates the ANC on its successes, it also says that Kairos “expected more of a movement that fought for the best values of humanity and for liberation”.

“But we are also disappointed in ourselves and in the way we have disengaged with this new dispensation and how we have always not exuded hope. The message is therefore directed as much to us as it is to the ANC,” said the Reverend Moss Nthla.

The document raises concerns that factionalism might lead to delegates being asked to vote for up to three “slates” at the elective conference.

Slate voting occurs when candidates are voted for as a group, irrespective of whether all the candidates in the group are capable of leading or holding the posts they are being voted into.

“Such factionalism is often the direct outcome of a weak conception of participatory democracy in our political parties.

“Of concern to us is that disunity and factionalism in the ANC affects leadership, governance and service delivery, especially to the poorest communities,” says t he letter.

Kairos was also unhappy that internal battles in the ANC were often fought in the open in “disrespectful” and “shameful” ways, and were often accompanied by violence.

The body also called for discussion of “the temptation of some to hold on to their economic privilege”, adding that the infamous arms deal appeared to have been the new SA’s “original sin”.

“It diverted our attention, our energy, our time and our resources from focusing on the poorest of the poor.

“Corruption negatively impacts on the psyche and morality of our people – particularly that of the youth, who now believe that this is the only way to make quick money without much effort.

“Corruption seems to have spread into the party political activities, where corrupt means of campaigning/contestation for power are used, thus compromising the leadership before they even get into government.”

The document says that the opulent “American dream lifestyle” being popularised in SA has become the country’s nightmare.

“This is because in order to reach this so-called dream often means self-enrichment, and quick enrichment comes at the expense of the poorest and at the expense of ecology.”

Other concerns include the relatively poor standard of education for the vast majority, and the need for respect for the constitution.

“There is a worrying trend with the ANC to co-opt and promote church leaders who clearly do not have a liberatory perspective, but who might be involved in charity or be willing to uncritically bless the ANC.”

Nthla said that Kairos had since held discussions with the ANC, which had “welcomed” the issues raised. - The Mercury