Lindiwe Sisulu has lifted her hand and accepted nominations from some branches for the high office of ANC presidency. Congratulations for her candidacy, as it confirms the ANC remains the most democratic political organisation in the country.
Well, her being in the race for number one spot is not really true, since she is really contesting for a second position, seemingly under a Ramaphosa candidacy of president leadership.
Now that Sisulu has moved out of the shadows of gentle and veiled taunting, and has laid her cards on the table, it’s time to consider what to make of her campaign.
Unpacking Sisulu’s campaign, one finds a number of glaring contradictions. At an organisational level, Sisulu appears to be campaigning for the organisational renewal at least on surface level, yet close examination depicts another scenario.
What is ominous about her utterances and choice themes, laced with a rightful condemnation of corruption, is the undeniable reality that we are led to believe Sisulu dropped from the sky and enters our political world and discourse from space as an innocent in the role of participation.
South Africans are conveniently misled to accept the analysis that Sisulu presents, in which she owns up to nothing and enters our discourse as someone who has never have been part of the 23 years of democratic sojourn.
We must ask: Can we afford Sisulu and others to continue casually misleading SA that she was not a part of this and former administrations?
Can Sisulu first own up to her role as to where we are?
She certainly was not on Mars when South Africa became a democracy and her serving of its three administrations in democracy cannot be expunged in simplicity of argument.
My first and obvious challenge with her campaign revolves around her recently becoming the darling of media. She has, all of sudden, the backing of the conflated media, that for a very long time considered her as acting like a princess who suffered gross entitlement in claim of the legacy of her esteemed parents.
Let it be known the same media that spared her no attack are today giving her support.
It is therefore interesting to know from whence comes the new love the media has for this recent contender for the high office of ANC power.
It is clear her media redemption was made possible once she became public about attacking the ANC president.
Sisulu, like others who are given free air time, has therefore become a darling because she has made Zuma the focus of her attack.
My second challenge with Sisulu is her role at Human Settlements; we do not hear what significantly she has done in visionary leadership to move from the apartheid spatial racism patterns. Her department has entrenched these, notwithstanding that the reality of this was raised on many occasions. Human Settlements, despite the name change from Housing, today still reflects the same spatial racist patterns with Sisulu at its helm.
My third challenge with Sisulu’s campaign is that her department’s budget expenditure continues to be weighed in favour of white conglomerates.
Sisulu must still tell us how her department, since 2012 when the ANC adopted the policy of RET, has given effect to it, since the majority slice of her budget is spent on white contractors and often the very monopolised construction role players.
It would make sense to argue Sisulu warrants letting us in on what she has done meaningfully to implement RET in her department, which receives a sizeable chunk of her annual budget.
We need to know how this was leverage to give effect to the much needed social transformation agenda in which economic transform stands paramount.
My fourth challenge with Sisulu is the fact that military veterans, with her a former MK veteran, still struggle to find a roof over their heads. It goes without saying that surely the minister of Human Settlements, out of respect for those who fought gallantly and willing to lay down their lives for our collective freedom, warrants a sensitive minister to ensure the basic of housing is provided for, particularly since she is a former MK soldier. Can we trust her to lead when she clearly has forgotten her own?
My fifth challenge with Sisulu is her duplicity of what makes for corruption in the SA society. If Sisulu is the champion for a corruption-free society, we as voters deserve hearing her in her own words on her discomfort with the construction cartels, the banks that collude and the manipulation of the currency by a ABSA bank that admitted its role.
It cannot be that with the internal report of the Treasury that lays bare corrupt activities in Treasury, we have yet to hear Sisulu be as bold to condemn these activities in tandem with all others as unequivocally corruption no different to others.
In the sixth instance, Sisulu is currently accused by the DA of having engaged in fruitless expenditure. Her department has spent, over the last three years, an amount of R10million on the frivolity of gifts and flowers. This amount for some may prove insignificant but not so to a society where housing remains a concern.
Housing in this country is still a grave challenge and this money could have assisted in this plight. She warrants sharing with us South Africans the rationale for this behaviour and why we are to trust her judgement to lead the ANC and the South African society.
My last challenge with Sisulu’s campaign is her public attack of the ANCWL and its choice for a candidate. Sisulu bemoans the fact that it is unfair to script the race for high office in binaries of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, for it denies others the chance to catch up, because both had a head start. She went on to be public about criticising the league for its choice of candidate.
This may be on surface level a cogent argument, yet it is not one that does not expose a sense of entitlement on the part of the complainant.
The ANCWL was pragmatic in its response to this rant on the part of Sisulu. Clearly, Lindiwe Sisulu, like all others who have challenges with the ANC structures they belong to, knows where to register her displeasure, but this public attack on the ANCWL is definitely not in line with how things are handled in the ANC.
The ANCWL has welcomed her raising issues with them directly and not the media. Sisulu’s campaign appears divisive and not principally interested in unity.
We dare not afford contenders for high office an easy pass, where they can attempt to confuse us to believe they are our answer when they prove glaring contradictions, questionable in the frame of what makes for corruption.
We dare not allow them to insult our collective intelligence that they share not in the challenges they attribute to this administration.
Shall we allow them to escape the eye of the needle; shall we afford them a free pass only because they are second-generation liberation aristocracy? Or shall we put them through the eye of the needle and ask tough questions of them.
* Bishop Clyde Ramalaine is a columnist and political analyst.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.