It is now history that in March I left the DA and formally joined my new political home, the ANC. With a month having passed since I took this life-changing and important decision I thought it proper to reflect on my journey so far.
After all, if as they say a week is a long time in politics then the more than four weeks I have spent in the ANC rightly feel like a long enough period worth reflecting on.
My decision to join the ANC was a well-considered move which unfortunately, albeit expectedly, elicited polarised views from friends and former acquaintances.
Depending on which side of the political fence these people sit they either received the decision positively or decided to vilify me in what I maintain smacks of political immaturity from people purporting to be democrats and liberals.
After my decision was formally announced, everywhere I went and on social media platforms I was approached by people, some of whom were total strangers, who either congratulated me on “the best move” or those who berated me for what they deemed to be a “stupid move”.
For example,one woman commenting on my Facebook post told of her disappointment and even threatened to “unfriend” me - a threat I never even bothered to check whether it was carried out or not because frankly I could not be bothered.
There were many other comments which were so insulting that they do not warrant my attention nor being repeated in this respected publication.
However, it is the warmth with which I was received in the ANC that I choose to focus on. For every insult directed at me there has been an outpouring of support and love from many communities across KZN and the country. I still keep the latter positive messages on my phone as they serve as a reminder to me that my decision was the correct one indeed. These are the messages that keep me going and keep me eager to serve the ANC diligently.
Since joining the ANC, I have been out and about engaging with ordinary members of the public, mainly in my hometown of Pietermaritzburg. Despite having very little rest in between the many engagements I have found the experience very fulfilling and humbling.
When some of my former friends-turned-detractors warned that I would find a divided ANC, I found the contrary.
I have been amazed to see the unity of purpose displayed by ANC members everywhere. Over the past couple of weeks I have met thousands of ANC volunteers and leaders from all levels all working towards the same goal of improving the lives of all South Africans.
When we conducted door to door campaigns in various areas, I witnessed an ANC that is caring and truly concerned about listening to the electorate. That respect is reciprocated by the electorate, contrary to what some would want us to believe - that the ANC is on the verge of being rejected at the polls.
Like myself, the thousands I have interacted with over this short period are more than convinced that the plan detailed in the ANC’s manifesto is the one that will see the economy grow, thus allowing the country to deal with the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. No other party has produced a more convincing plan to turn South Africa around and rejuvenate the economy.
From the streets of Imbali townships to the rural areas of Umshwathi, I saw hope in people’s eyes. When I listened to some of those people it became clear to me that the ANC indeed remains the only true hope for many ordinary South Africans.
This convinced me even further, but not my detractors, who continued to “warn” me about the ANC. Although I knew that such warnings had one objective - to convince me that my decision was a mistake - I listened.
They warned that the ANC had too many problems and joining such an organisation is a recipe for disaster. The ANC is no doubt a massive organisation and for anyone to think there will not be any problems in this organisation would be impossible and even naive, to say the least.
I did not join the ANC for reasons of political expediency or any position. I joined because I saw an opportunity to be part of the solution for the country - something I have always strived for.
Perhaps the problems within the ANC are more pronounced and more talked about because this is a party in power.
But I think it is also because the very same organisation is never shy to talk about these issues openly and even to confront them, while other parties continue to gloss over the faults emerging in their own ranks.
Despite the “warnings”, in the ANC I found an organisation willing to tackle the problems head-on, even in circumstances where it may mean it is being seen as weak.
One such example is the decision to act on the Msunduzi and other municipalities across KwaZulu-Natal.
Some political pundits have argued that such a move of placing the capital city under administration just under a month before the crucial elections worked against the ANC.
True to form the opposition was quick to claim victory when they knew very well that the decision to put the ANC-led municipality under administration was a culmination of a long and painstaking process of investigation and assessment by both the government and the ANC.
This was a decision by the ANC-led government and anyone who says otherwise is claiming easy victory by telling lies. This, by the way, is the same opposition that has always blamed the ANC for wanting to act against the municipalities it leads.
Taking such a decision knowing very well that it had the potential to backfire proved to me once and for all that the organisation is willing to sacrifice political expediency for the needs of the people - in this case the people of Msunduzi .
It is for the above reasons that I am more convinced than I ever was that mine was a sound move made at the correct time. It is for this reason that on May 8, I, like millions of other South Africans, I will vote to grow South Africa by putting that mark next to the ANC on both ballots.
* Mchunu is a member of the ANC and a former leader of the DA in KZN. He writes in his personal capacity.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.