United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa on Tuesday declared the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) decision to recall President Jacob Zuma a success.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has been under immense pressure to remove Zuma despite the fact that the ANC top six includes staunch Zuma supporters.
However, it was one of those, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who announced on Tuesday the ANC’s “unanimous” decision to recall Zuma.
“We can rightly say that the ANC only reached this decision because of the continued, consistent pressure exerted by opposition parties, civil society and the media, who played a critical role in exposing institutionalised corruption such as #GuptaLeaks,” said Holomisa.
He said it was encouraging that those who campaigned for Zuma to vacate his office had free access to media and radio talk shows. This, he said, demonstrated that the tools of democracy and a free society work.
He added that the ruling party’s much vaunted self-correcting nature was “a damp squib” because South Africans, especially eligible voters, had realised that the ANC has lost its moral high-ground and had relinquished its status as South Africa’s liberation movement.
Holomisa said the ANC must own up to the prevailing mess and immediately charge Zuma and “his fellow gangsters” if the party wanted to be taken seriously.
“Regarding the future, the UDM is positive, but [we] recognise that it will take the nation years to recover from the damage caused by the tangible effects of Zuma’s administration on the lives of our people on a daily basis. It will also take time to convince the international community, the ratings agencies, and investors that South Africa no longer has a weak and corrupt government that easily succumbs to the influence of pirates and privateers,” Holomisa stated.
However, he stressed that only half the battle was won and encouraged South Africans, opposition parties, civil society and the media not to rest and lower their guards but to ensure that “the culprits” face the full might of the law and that the billions of stolen rands are returned.
“South Africa has learnt several harsh, but valuable lessons in this experience. One thing that should be done to curb corruption in government – perpetrated by political deployees and officials alike – should be the appointment of specialist investigating units, with forensic auditing capacity, as well as dedicated courts to expedite the prosecution of offenders,” suggested Holomisa.
The UDM leader said he was hoping that Zuma’s departure from office also signalled a departure from an almost “cult-like hero-worshiping” of certain individuals owing to their “struggle credentials”.
He added that there was no place in South Africa’s history for people who have tarnished the legacy of the country’s freedom fighters.
“We must draw a line in the sand and start from scratch to create a corruption-free government that works in the service of the people,” he concluded.