Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela’s legacy of sincere political leadership based on putting the interests of the citizens first and restoring their dignity is being betrayed by self-interest and greed.
And unless there is an end to the rampant corruption, South Africa could end up as a failing state. This is the stern warning from Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele.
“Mandela led us for five years. Today he is saying I am here, but old. We must continue with the (long) journey because freedom has not been attained. But there is lack of leadership today. Instead, there is lot of self-interest,” Ramphele said on Thursday.
She was speaking to The Star while playing her part in the 67 minutes of community service on Mandela Day at the iThemba Rape and Trauma Support Centre in Benoni.
Ramphele’s warning came a few hours after Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s statement that South Africans would uphold the global icon’s legacy beyond his lifespan.
“There are prophets of doom who say the country will come to a standstill… but I want to reassure the country today, on this very special day, the nation and the entire caring world, it will continue as it has always done,” Madikizela-Mandela said.
However, Ramphele appeared to disagree.
“If we don’t change the way we are governed, this country will end up in a bad way. Five more years of corruption and undermining of our institutions of our democracy will make our country a failing state.”
In a veiled attack on Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota and his former deputy Mbhazima Shilowa, Ramphele suggested that the ongoing leadership battle between the two politicians had a lot to do with their personal egos, and undermined attempts to build a grand opposition coalition to unseat the ANC.
“We are not concerned in people interested in their egos and political leadership squabbles. We want to focus on building a South Africa that can restore hope - that cries for the people.”
Under Agang, all public officials would be compelled to declare their business interests. They and their families would be barred from doing business with the government.
“Where have you seen a leader taking more than R200 million for the upgrade of his private buildings?” she asked, in a reference to President Jacob Zuma’s upgrade to his Nkandla homestead.
Ramphele said South Africans had an obligation to honour Mandela’s legacy.