A commemorative plaque to honour South African freedom activists killed in detention by apartheid-era security police will be installed at Johannesburg Central Police Station where Ahmed Timol died 33 years ago. Looking at the plaque are former friends of Timol, now in government, from left: Essop Pahad, Minister in the Office of the State President; his brother Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Charles Nqakula; Minister of Justice and Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils.

It is a great pity that you have chosen this path of an anti-ANC grouping, Essop Pahad says in a letter to Ronnie Kasrils:

My dear comrade Ronnie,

For more than 50 years we worked together as comrades in the structures and leadership of the ANC and the SACP.

I always value your friendship, comradeship, heroism and passionate commitment to our movement and our freedom Struggle.

As a comrade and friend, I must emphasise that I categorically and emphatically disagree with your approach in the so-called “Sidikiwe! Vukani! (We are fed up, Awake!) Vote no” campaign.

This is in essence a desperate anti-ANC campaign in favour of the opposition parties. Whatever the differences we have with the ANC or even serious concerns about developments in the ANC and the government, I do not believe that a hostile anti-ANC campaign will contribute to assisting the movement to correct the mistakes and take steps to fight corruption, factionalism and disunity in the ANC and the alliance.

Comrade Pallo Jordan put it most succinctly when he wrote: “Terrible deeds that compromised the movement’s principles were committed in the course of the Struggle. Some opted to leave the ANC at such moments. Chris Hani, like most of us, chose to remain in the ranks to rectify the errors and heal our self-inflicted wounds rather than leaving and surrendering the movement to the untender mercies of those likely to undermine its values.” (Business Day, April 10).

I believe it is also a good guide on how to conduct ourselves in relation to the current developments in the ANC, the alliance and the government.

The ANC, notwithstanding serious problems within it, remains the most effective instrument to bringing about fundamental change and transformation in our country in favour of the poor and workers, the continent and international relations.

Given your deep commitment, which I and many others share, to the struggle of the Palestinians for freedom, democracy, peace and justice, I frankly don’t understand how a mass solidarity movement in support of the Palestinians can be built in our country without the active involvement of ANC cadres, members and leaders.

It is, therefore, a great pity that you have chosen this path of an anti-ANC grouping. It is not too late to remedy the mistake.

I remain convinced that the country, the continent and progressive forces in the world want and need a strong, united and cohesive ANC. I believe many of our comrades and veterans share my wish that you rethink the position you are taking.

Yours in the Struggle,

Dr Essop Pahad

Editor, The Thinker Magazine

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

The Star