There is no doubt that the 54th national conference of the African National Congress (ANC) will be a watershed moment for the party and for our country’s future. I urge you to look to your organisation’s past in order to guide the future.
South Africa made the choice by voting the ANC into power in 1994 because they felt it was best placed to govern the first generation of democracy, forging a new nation.
This year, the world’s eyes are cast towards Gauteng as you look to elect a new leadership. Like all South Africans, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) calls on you to ensure that the party seeks to elect the leadership the country deserves.
To be given the mandate to govern is a privilege. We do not have any preference among the ANC candidates seeking leadership posts. However, as members of this great society, we do have high expectations for all candidates.
South Africa needs a course correction that will set its economy and politics on the right path. The ANC conference will be yet another chance to begin that correction — business hopes the opportunity will not again be missed.
Although there is a deficit of trust that currently exists in South Africa between citizens, business and government, it is not insurmountable. We believe we can restore South Africa to the right path. BLSA will invite the next leaders of the ANC to join us in our Contract with South Africa and Integrity Pledge.
We are not asking for much –– simply the bare minimum requirement for any leader and any political party that is seeking the highest office in the land: that is, a strict adherence to the Constitution of South Africa, a commitment to build a nonracial and nonsexist society, and a unwavering commitment to growing our economy.
We expect the new leaders, whoever they are, to prioritise the eradication of state capture throughout our institutions and, most importantly, put in place policies that can jumpstart our economy and promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth and transformation.
Think of the early successes that the ANC delivered in areas such as housing, water and electricity provision and healthcare provision –– specifically in the fight against HIV and Aids. We need to return to that focus and translate it into job creation, improvement in areas of education and broader healthcare as well as the safety of our citizens.
The leaders must strengthen all chapter nine institutions as well as the national treasury and the South African Reserve Bank. They must respect the independence of the judiciary and implement much-needed reforms to state-owned enterprises, which have been a drain on the country’s fiscus.
In January, the ANC heritage will be 106 years old. It is time to pause and reflect whether you wish to squander that heritage through the court-managed chaos that South Africa has lived through over the past ten years, or steer our country back to the right path.
Leaders who prioritise the people of South Africa, seek to restore confidence in our institutions and avoid unnecessary politicking will always find a willing partner in business.
Published on Huffington Post (14 December 2017)