NC MP Makhosi Khoza has announced she is leaving the ruling party to join civil society organisations in their fight against corruption.
Addressing the media on Thursday morning at Liliesleaf Farm, northern Johannesburg, Khoza said the ANC she grew up in had become an alien, corrupt party she no longer recognised. However, she said she was not leaving the values and mission of the organisation.
“I am joining the people who want to protect the beauty of our South Africa,” said Khoza. “I am joining the new anti-corruption movement of society and faith-based organisations.”
Following the announcement, she wrote a lengthy speech detailing exactly why she left the party she joined in 1982, when she was only 12 years old. Khosa has apologised to South Africans for being complicit in the “degradation” of the ruling party. She said she stayed longer with the hope that it would self-correct.
Read her full unedited speech below:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Firstly, let me thank all of you for finding the time in your hectic schedules to be with me today. This represents the first media conference that I have called in my personal capacity. I intend to clarify a number of issues that have put me on the spot recently.
I became associated with the African National Congress (ANC) in 1982, at the age of 12, because I could not live in a country that was unjust, unfair, corrupt, oppressive and exploitative. I sacrificed my childhood, and my teenage years, without second thought, as a response to my deeply held conviction for the vision, values and virtue of this organization.
As a child, I spent more time with the ANC than my own biological parents. As a political child, learning to walk, the ANC provided me security of step; a safe platform, reinforced by morality, integrity and principles; and a clear pathway, carved out through the laborious sacrifice of comrades Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada Nelson Mandela, and the numerous others who spent their lives behind bars for our liberation. The ANC I joined was the only moral authority and voice against injustices.
The ANC I joined, and know saw itself as the central organiser and inspirer of a vast popular upsurge against apartheid; and a uniter of all who had a stake in the future of this country”
The ANC I joined, and cherished, was premised on the principles of justice and fairness; morality and unity. It was non-fascist and democratic. It valued freedom of speech, and open dissemination of ideas and truth.
The ANC I joined placed its Constitution on an unshakable pedestal above all else, pointed out by Rule 25 (1) (a), reading: “All members without exception, must abide by the constitution of the ANC”; and rule 4.15, reading: “I am joining the ANC voluntarily, without motives of material advantage or personal gain”. It was a party that respected and upheld the Rule of law.
The ANC I joined used its Constitution as the cowhide in its shield, and the blade in its “inklwa” spear. To, as Rule 5.2 (b) points out, “take all necessary steps to understand and carry out the aims, policy and programmes of the ANC”; “to explain the aims, policy, and programme of the ANC to the people”; and “to deepen my understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic problems of the country”. I still hold my shield close and spear steadfast, ANC, yet this is what you persecute me for?
The ANC I joined and the one that I know, has no policies which say, as members we must defend corruption, promote and protect scandalous leaders or be complicit in the breaking of our country. No, the one I knew sought a prosperous society for ALL South Africans, not just the comrade-in-chief and his cronies. It is one that sought to rescue ALL Africans trapped in the grips of poverty, unemployment, destitution and hopelessness. It is one that, as Rule 2.1 reads: “aims to unite all the people of South Africa, Africans in particular for the complete liberation of the country from all forms of discrimination and national oppression.”
So, as I reflect on where we are as the ANC, I have been convicted with the unassailable truth, that this is no longer the ANC I joined and know. It is an alien, disguised by a brand, that so many noble souls gave their lives to build. It is an alien that tramples on the sacrifices of innumerable years in prison, banishment, exile and separation from families. It is an alien that seeks self over Ubuntu. Comrades of my beloved party, open your eyes and see, there is a new alien and corrupt ANC; and if we continue to follow stupidly, blindly, we will never truly be free.
This new alien and corrupt ANC breaks and violates every clause of the ANC’s own Constitution that I know, so how then can we expect it to uphold the supreme law of the land? As it demolishes a century-long legacy and strangles the moral conscience that was once held so dear, how then can we expect it to overcome the oppressive disunity so rife in our country, and bring the type of social cohesiveness that as a nation we so crave.
How could we allow our country to be broken when our Constitution is imprinted with the blood of Victoria and Grifitis Mxenge, Mduduzi Makhoba, Stanza Bopape, Mathew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlawuli, Jabu Ndlovu and her family, Khopho Masuku, Buyi Xulu, Skhumbuzo Ngwenya, Reggie Radebe, Ruth First, Dulcie September, Chris Hani and the numerous other comrades who paid the ultimate price so we could be free and prosper as a united democratic constitutional country. Call me ill-disciplined, charge me for bringing the ANC into disrepute, but I will not stand down, because their lives cannot be in vain. There is nothing worse than being shackled in cowardice and fear moral chains when the future of our generations is being plundered, looted and destroyed. Their children, our children, deserve better.
I am told there is something called self-correction, and that this ANC, “just needs to self-correct”. Comrades, that is nothing but holding on the hopes of yesteryear. The new alien and corrupt ANC, dear friends, is incapable of self-correcting. The unprincipled, selfish, visionless leaders of this new alien and corrupt ANC are either lying to the country, or delusional, if they claim they could, or even aspire to self-correct.
We see the manifestation of their disdain for the plight of our people everywhere we look. We have seen how the Marikana massacre claimed innocent lives of poor workers. We have seen how they promote corrupt members into positions of power; mayors, deputy mayors, ministers, deputy ministers. We have seen how they are willing to deploy incompetent or severely compromised connections into strategic government departments. We have seen how they disregard the needs and wishes of communities during the local government elections. Don’t they see what we see? Or are their eyes too dazed by gold for them to notice?
This new alien and corrupt ANC will never self-correct. What level of impetus is needed to catalyze such change? At the municipal elections the ANC lost the City of Cape Town, which houses the legislative arm of government, did it self-correct? It lost City of Tshwane, which houses the administrative and executive arm of government, did it self-correct? It lost the City of Johannesburg, which houses our constitutional court and is the economic hub of the country, did it self-correct? It lost Nelson Mandela Bay, how ironic, a metropolitan named after our pinnacle stalwart, did it self-correct? It lost Ekurhuleni, the gateway to Africa which houses OR Tambo International Airport, again how ironic. It is needless to mention that the ANC have been on a downward spiral, did it self-correct?
What will it take for the ANC to self-correct? Does it know about the over 36% expanded unemployment in the country, with 56% of that being youth? Does it care about the 18 million grant recipients while our borrowing is standing at almost 50% of GDP? This, is not sustainable. Does it agree that mathematics and science are key to liberating Africans? Then why do we rank 139 out of 139 in mathematics and science in the world, despite spending more than 10% of our budget on education? How can it grow our economy when, despite being stuck in the lowest growth band, still maintains a bloated cabinet as part of its patronage dispensing scheme? Has it noticed that it is in the process of collapsing almost of all of our State-Owned Enterprises? How many dreams have been destroyed in the public service sector in South Africa? What will it take to self-correct?
Is this new alien and corrupt ANC capable of gearing our population to participate as champions, operators and creators of wealth in an extremely disruptive global economy? Can it save jobs in key industries in the face of fierce global competition? How can it create an enabling environment for high-tech industries and innovation when it is obsessed with looting and defending self-interests and corruption?
How many businesses have to close down and how many people need to lose their jobs on account of failed policies on investment, competitiveness, innovation and productivity before the ANC self-corrects? Instead, in pure contradiction, the ANC enters bilateral trade agreements that strangulates small and medium enterprises. This is the antithesis of self-correction. Comrades, People of South Africa, this self-correction is not coming.
There is no chance in today’s ANC to survive unless you have the ‘smallanyana’ skeletons in the closet. This ANC will not self-correct because the politics of patronage run deeper than roots to the core of the earth. Corruption has been institutionalized. If we were to prosecute all known corrupt cases including those implicated in the GUPTA e-mails, almost 80 – 90 % of the ANC leadership at all levels of government would have to replace their shiny tailored suites and pretty dresses with orange overalls. Their only natural home is prison and this is the only self-correction measure at our disposal. They are therefore hanging on to power and giving directionless directives so that they can be protected. The control of the state apparatus is not to advance the liberation of our people but to shield the leaders of this new corrupt ANC from going to the new home that awaits them. No matter how long it will take, South Africa must be exemplary in the African continent by jailing all corrupt leaders. Corruption is the one single factor that is responsible for the continued suffering of our people. It is responsible for making being black and African synonymous with pain and suffering.
The ANC single handedly molded my moral character and conscience. I am a product of years of political classes and Umrabulo. To say I have sucked the political wisdom, commitment to the will of the people, and the courage to speak truth to power, from the breasts of phenomenal women within this movement, is not an exaggeration. Women such as comrades: Challotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophie Du Bruin, Ray Alexander, Rahima Moosa, Ida Mntwana, Ruth Mampathi, Dorothy Nyembe.
During the last few months of persecution, and consequent reflection I had to humble myself before my ANC elders in order to make an informed decision as to how to proceed. As an African woman, I understand that we still live in a patriarchal society where women continue to be treated with disrespect. I do not believe that the full emancipation of women can be realised under the new alien and corrupt ANC as some of its leaders have consistently shielded perpetrators of violence against women; and treated women as sex objects; rather than the pillar if society that they are. The alien and corrupt ANC does not value nor respect intellectual women. We are subject to consistent condescension, ridicule and contempt, just because we are women. Thus, my first logical step was to consult women of honour and substance within the ANC.
During my consultation with Mama Getrude Shope, one of the very few surviving stalwarts of the ANC and the ANC Women’s League, I observed the pain and agony inflicted on her by this new alien, corrupt and disrespectful ANC. It left me crushed and broken. When she literally dropped her face, shook her head, starred on the floor in anguish, I knew straight away that our black, green and gold flag, our symbol of resistance and mission, had been highjacked. I listened with horror at how the ANC humiliated our stalwarts as they sought to intervene and rescue the ANC mission. They insulted, belittled and discredited our true veterans and stalwarts, such as: Comrades Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, Mavuso Msimanga and all our living moral legends.
This fueled my decision to stand up against the new alien and corrupt ANC.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the South African Women’s Collective (SAWOC) for standing by me during my persecution at the hands of the ANC. I want to specifically thank the following leaders for affirming and supporting me publicly. They were, and will continue to be my foundation as I continue the fight for the old ANC’s moral mission which is encrypted in my moral conscience, in pulse and veins: Comrades Sisi Barbara Masekela, Selma Browde, Getrude Shope, llse Fisher, Jacky Sedibe, Sheila Sisulu, Lindiwe Mabuza, Joanna Nkosi, Joyce Serote, Kgomotso Matsunyane, Mpho Roberta Masondo, Nethalie Dinat, Ntombazana Botha, Palesa Morudu, Ramni Dinat, Renosi Mokate, Shanthie Naidoo, Sibongile Twala, Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, Thandiwe Masekela. It was also humbling to get a warm hug from Mama Winnie Mandela during the ANC policy conference this year. I received political guidance, warmth and support from Comrade Frene Chinuala who taught me that, quote: “never measure yourself with the standards of men because yours may be much higher as a woman”.
I would also like to thank the African Leadership Initiative, a fellowship which taught me how to move from success to significance. I have the support of incredible leaders, who have become family to me. In particular, I would like to thank my mentor and founder of the African Leadership Initiative, Isaac Shongwe, for his support and guidance.
Standing here, I do not feel alone. I can feel the ooze and thunder of the presence of the ANC Secretary Generals that I respect so much. Comrades such as: Sol Plaatjie (1912-1917), S. Msane (1917-1923), T.D Mweli Skota (1923 -1927), E.J. Khalile (1927 – 1930), Rev. E Mdolomba (1930-1936), Rev. J. Calata (1936-1949), Walter. Sisulu (1949 – 1955) D. Nokwe (1958- 1969). I also have to record that I consulted Comrade Kgalema Montlante, one of the ANC’s Secretary Generals still living, who continues to exude honour and truthfulness.
As I break my pent-up silence for my beautiful country, in defense of all its people; against the lies, deceit and betrayal of the ANC mission, I do so in honour of all men and women who fought and died for this country.
Standing here, I am not alone. I can feel the manifestation of the ANC Presidents whose honorable lives were dedicated to serving the people of South Africa, Africa and all of humankind. I am talking of the men of dignity and rectitude, such as: Dr. J.L Dube (1912-1917), S.M. Makgatho (1917-1924), Z.R Mahabane (1924-1927 and 1937-1940), J.T. Gumede (1927-1930), Prixley kaIsaka Seme (1930-1936), Dr. A.B Xuma (1940-1949), J.S. Moroka (1949-1952), Chief Albert Luthuli (1952-1967), O.R. Tambo (1967 -1991), and Dr. Nelson Mandela (1991-1997). I have also tried to consult with former President Thabo Mbeki, who was unfortunately on one of his many African and humankind missions.
As I embark on this very difficult journey, and continue to speak truth to power, I know the road ahead is going to be torturous. Not just to me, but my children Zama and Mlando who have been my shield and strength. Zama, Mlando, thank you. What I know for sure, my children, is that now is not the time to retreat. The eyes of the 56% unemployed youth weigh too heavily on me. The oppressive disunity engulfing our country cannot simply be shrugged off. The people of this country are in desperate need of leaders with courage, compassion, high moral standing and who have their interests at heart. We cannot stand down. Being a Member of Parliament for me is not merely employment. It is a calling to be a public servant, to serve, which many have forgotten.
History teaches us that the moral battle is the most difficult of them all, yet the noblest of all battles combined; evident from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the death penalty of Socrates, the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, Martin Luther King Jr and Chris Hani to the sentencing of our very own Comrade Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. I am therefore not naïve to what lies ahead; but I will do it anyway. I know my late husband Ntela Sikhosana, who left me on this earth with young children at the age of 28, would want me to stand up. We both knew that to unshackle our people, especially from the very comrades we fought side by side with, require men and women of honour and integrity.
I am an African woman, socialised in UBUNTU philosophy, and married to the principles of compassion, interdependence, interconnectedness and interrelatedness. As an African child, I was taught that respect is a supreme virtue. I was also taught to apologise when I was wrong.
I want to offer my unconditional apology to the people of South Africa, the ANC true veterans and stalwarts for having been complicit in the degradation of the ANC. I held onto hope that, despite the consistent disregard for the people of South Africa, and the undermining of our Constitution, that the ANC would self-correct. I ought to have been more critical about the happenings under the black, green and gold flag, which has evidently now been captured. I ought to have been more assertive about the pain it was subjecting South Africans to. I own my responsibility, and apologise, humbly and profusely.
“Rather late than never, they say”, so, in my lateness, I have decided that I will no longer tap dance with the deadly, greedy hyenas and wolves. I have come to realise that decolonising, reconstructing, reconfiguring, reconciling, and growing South Africa cannot be pursued on an amoral and immoral platform. I will not be led by leaders who have lost legitimacy and credibility. I will not be led by leaders who are corrupt and tolerant of corruption. I will not.
I know that I am not the only one feeling this way. As members of the ANC we have become a political family that has a stronger bond than our own biological families. I therefore, want South Africans to know that there are many good comrades within the ANC who cannot come out in the open for fear of being victimised and persecuted. The new alien and corrupt ANC is vicious and heartless. I have firsthand experience of that. We therefore need to give these good comrades stuck in the glorious days of yesteryear time to gather strength and courage to oppose this new alien and corrupt ANC.
I am asking for men and women of virtue from all racial groups, classes, faiths, genders, ages and traditions to join the crusade to rid South Africa and the entire African continent of corruption. I am joining the people who want to promote and protect the unity of our beautiful South Africa. I am joining the many voices that are truly declaring this, the century of Africa, absent of corruption; and committed to a prosperous continent free of pain, diseases and suffering.
I am joining the new anti-corruption revolution of civil society and faith based groups.
I am joining the belief that the century of Africa is indeed the century of women, because siyinzala bantu. It is our children that are robbed their innocence when they become child soldiers. It is our students that are crying for free and decolonized education. It is our husbands and boyfriends that are standing at the corner waiting for the moral leadership to grow the economy so that they can have their dignity restored. It is our children that make up 56% of the unemployed in South Africa. Rise Woman Rise! Rise against corruption! Rise for Unity in our land! Rise for hope in our youth! Rise for Prosperity for all South Africans (PASA).
I am taking with me the good ANC I know. The one that stood before the alien invaded. I am inviting all the comrades of honour who like me see corruption as public enemy number 1, to join the crusade to save South Africa; to save the ANC African mission of 1923; to redirect this county’s trajectory back towards the vision of the Freedom Charter. Comrades, we are not yet free. The new statutory laws will never be fully realised if we allow ourselves to be under the siege of corruption. This new alien and corrupt ANC does not want to create a conducive environment for job opportunities because it needs our people to compliment their social grants. This new alien and corrupt ANC is hell bent on keeping our people stuck in poverty and suffering in perpetuity, as their voting fodders. I reject this. We should all reject this. We should fight for the restoration of our dignity. There is no dignity in unemployment. There is no dignity in suffering.
In conclusion let me quote Anton Lembede the first ANC Youth League President who said the following in 1945 at age 31: “We need young men and women of high moral stamina and integrity; of courage and vision. This means we have to develop a type of youth – not pleasure loving, frivolous, dissolute, light minded type – but youth of stoical discipline, trained to endure suffering and difficulties. It is only this type of youth that will achieve national liberation of the African people.”
So it is now, with a heavy heart, that I have to say, that this is no longer the ANC that I know. This ANC is alien and corrupt. This is not Madiba’s, Chief Albert Luthuli’s and O.R. Tambo’s ANC. THAT is the ANC that I am.
I want to free myself from the ugly, nasty, vicious, factional, inherently corrupt and unprincipled contestation for positions at the 2017 ANC conference. I reject this alien ANC’s mission. I reject its leaders. I understand that the branches of the ANC who elected me, in absentia, to represent their interests in parliament, would have expected me to finish my five-year term. I want to apologise to the branches. It is not out of disrespect. As you have seen, I have been persecuted. You have also seen that the new alien and corrupt ANC wants me out as I refuse to protect corrupt leadership. I refuse to be fired, by unprincipled, immoral leaders and will not give them the power to make a mockery of the importance of the rule of law. Let me also take this opportunity to make it unequivocally clear that I am not going to the DA.
I am not leaving the ANC. I am ONLY leaving the alien and corrupt ANC. The values of the old ANC, Madiba’s ANC, still lives within me; and I will give it life again, one way or the other; for the sake of those who went before, and for the sake of those to come.