Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Interesting sideshows...

We are less than a week till national conference time. It's very much the JZ show now, although there are still some unknown unknowns. JZ is winning friends all over the show now. He delivered a speech at WITS yesterday to commemorate international human rights day. He said lots of platitudinal stuff, then launched into campaign mode. He told us that a leader tackles the problems facing the average Joe. This includes AIDS, crime, Zimbabwe, and corruption. All of Mbeki's major cock-ups. It was a very impressive speech, which he clearly did not write, but I hope he took to heart. And all this with Tokyo Sexwale sitting on his right hand side, with Zweli one seat further down. That did make for a fascinating stage show indeed. Tokyo for VP anyone? Not a bad compromise if it shakes out that way...

Anyway there are plenty of fascinating side-shows going on. In last week's mail and guardian, ferial haffejee interviewed mo shaik on the future of south african politics. mo is shabir's brother, long-time shady-ass mofo, and of course senior bureaucrat (mainly in the department of defense. arms deeeaaaal).

Mo was remarkably arrogant, describing in great detail what a zuma presidency is going to look like, where the major challenges lie, and most remarkable, how some of the more senior figures in the mbeki government will "serve" in the new one. Remember, Mo is nowhere near being a senior ANC member. He has never been on the NEC. He is just an enigmatic power-broker who became famous when his brother got drilled in court.

Trevor Manuel, one of the people whose future Mo plots, took exception, and wrote this open letter, which appeared two days later... Makes for a fascinating read, and it quite reassuring in many ways:

Open letter to Mo Shaik

Trevor Manuel, Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, 9 December 2007

Dear Mo

I observe from the comments you made in an interview with Ferial Haffejee (Mail & Guardian editor) that you said of me, "I see a great role for him. It would be great to have Manuel stay on as finance minister, but the challenge is this: When you have been part of the macro-economic stabilisation programme, do you have the right mind-set for a period of heightened implementation? Would he have the flexibility of mind?"

I suppose it is incumbent upon me now to say: "Thank you for the mention, bwana." But, of course, I will not.

Mo, like you, I have the ANC in my entire being. The privilege of serving this movement in any capacity has always been a part of that commitment. Being elected to serve as part of the collective of its National Executive Committee since 1991 has been a tremendous opportunity for learning and for my political development. And, the joy of being called by its two successive presidents in state, Mandela and Mbeki, to serve as South Africa's Finance Minister is unsurpassed.

The emphasis, Mo, is on service. Service to my country and people becomes an act of love - it is clearly not a job, nor could it ever be an undertaking for notional power or the salary. And yes, the assignment as Finance Minister is one that I draw great pleasure from. But be assured that the opportunity I speak of is not something I will grovel for, nor do I ever wish to be beholden.

So, I observe that I might not have the qualities of flexibility that you are looking for - I am sorry that I fail you so. I also see that you see a great role for me - that is wonderful. But who asked you? You would know that your comments are exceedingly arrogant and gratuitous - but how do you claim this right?

I was so struck by the force of your attitude, I thought that I had missed a trick. I then checked the published list of nominees to the NEC - your name should have been in position 139, between Shabangu and Shiceka - but it was not there. So what is the source of your raw power?

Your conduct is certainly not something in the tradition of the African National Congress. It is obvious that you have no intention of becoming part of any elected collective within the organisation, yet you arrogate to yourself the role of determinant. Despite your glib references finding "synchronicity between the government and those in Luthuli House", you, quite frankly, act to undermine both the government and Luthuli House.

My plea to you is simple - it has taken 96 years of the most unimaginable toil and sacrifice to build the ANC into this formidable movement, it could be destroyed in five days at Polokwane - don't do it!

The ethos of the ANC over all its life has been Umfutho Kubantu, a movement of the people at its service. You have no right to turn this organisation into something that serves your ego. The task of building a deep and durable democracy that impacts on the lives of all South Africans is incomplete. Do not destroy the only vehicle capable of delivering that democracy.

Comradely greetings

Trevor Manuel

PS. The same message goes to the other self-appointed recent spokespersons for the National Democratic Revolution such as Patrick Craven, Fikile Mbalula and Jeremy Gordin.


Greg said...

Very, very interesting.

Paul said...

Ja, i didn't catch the interview, but saw the letter. Trevor is the bomb!