ANC won’t recover from giving the middle finger to its support base: Trevor Manuel

Trevor Manuel File picture: James Oatway / Sunday Times
Trevor Manuel
File picture: James Oatway / Sunday Times

It’s easier for a drug addict to deal with the problem of an addiction than to call corruption to a halt voluntarily‚ former finance minister Trevor Manuel said.

In an interview with Eyewitness News‚ Manuel discussed the current state of the African National Congress (ANC)‚ the South African economy‚ state capture and corruption‚ and that the ruling party will never recover its electoral support base under its current leadership.

Manuel‚ who served under the leadership of four democratically elected presidents‚ said that that there needs to be “louder conversations within society” about corruption and that there “must be consequences”.

“People must go to jail for stealing from the poor. I don’t think we must second-guess this stuff.

“People must go to jail‚ because‚ when they steal‚ they don’t steal from the wealthy in society – the wealthy don’t need public services in quite the same way.

“They always steal from the poor and I think that is contrary to who we believe whose interests should be represented by government in this country‚” Manuel said.

“To call a halt to all of that voluntarily seems to be incredibly difficult and much more difficult than dealing with the problem of drug addiction‚” he added.

The former minister added‚ in relation to the issue of “state-capture”‚ that “there are all kinds of people who creep out of the woodwork to make spurious allegations about other people‚ avoiding the fact that there are a series of instances now that do reflect that particular parts of government are very captured”.

“The truth of the matter is that an organisation like the African National Congress that has always represented some of the more advanced segments of South African society‚ has lost metropolitan government‚ has lost the organised working class from its support base.

“Given the fact that we are now a modern economy‚ it’s not so much how big a support base we have in the rural areas‚ it’s whether we can advance the economic growth and build tomorrow’s talent‚ and all of that will be happening in the cities‚ and we have lost control of the cities‚” he said.

“The African intelligence were always gathered in the ANC‚ now to cast dispersions on people you call ‘clever blacks’‚ is to say we don’t want your support.

“People who live in urban areas have access to sources of information and resources quite differently from people in the rural areas.

“So when you give the middle finger to that support base‚ they you must carry the consequences.

“I am afraid that my reading of the situation is that the ANC will never recover its electoral support base under this current leadership‚” Manual added.

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