Rampant corruption must still be fought, Pityana tells Freedom Day marchers in PE
After celebrating 23 years of freedom, South Africa now stands to lose its hard-won democracy through a corrupt president, SaveSA leader Sipho Pityana said yesterday. The activist and businessman is leading the SaveSA campaign, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
But speaking at a Freedom Day Rally at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide, Pityana said the country’s problems would not immediately be solved once Zuma was recalled as corruption had become systemic to the ANC.
About 500 people gathered at the stadium following a march from Njoli Square.
“This Freedom Day is very relevant. It is [firstly] a moment to recall how much it has cost to get this country free and secondly to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that freedom that we have today,” he said.
“We don’t – within the same generation – want to lose it. That is what Zuma is doing, he is handing it over to those that have captured him. “Why is the ANC not recalling [him]? “What kind of ANC is capable and willing to tolerate a leader who is so immoral, so corrupt and so greedy and who cares for nobody but himself, his family and his cronies?” He said it was time for the ANC to act. “The motion to remove Zuma is not a motion of the opposition but of the masses of this country,” he said, to massive applause.
Pityana said Zuma had recently stated that he was prepared to step down but was waiting for the instruction from the ANC.
“If the ANC does not ask him to step down, it means the ANC believes South Africa must be condemned to a corrupt and greedy leader.
“Then it means the ANC does not believe we deserve a better leader.
“Then it means the ANC is not prepared to offer anything better,” he said.
“It is important for people to know that this thing is systemic. Zuma is the face of it but it has become institutionalised. We have corruption that has become deep-seated in the institution of government. “But it is not irreversible. “It only starts by removing Zuma.” He said past leaders of the ANC like Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki would not have been happy with the turmoil in the party.
“They would have been deeply disappointed by the lack of courage in the ANC leadership today,” Pityana said.
“He couldn’t care about the progressive development of this country in order to lift the poor from where they are.”
Former Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob thanked those who attended and called on the crowd not to be disappointed by the turnout.
“You may have expected more people here, but do not be disappointed. This is a long struggle,” he said.
The South African constitution provided for the right to housing, health care and social security.
“Why have these rights not been developed for our people?” he said.
“Because our government has been tardy. Because [it] has employed corrupt ways of doing the work.
“Many people in our government want to make money.
“That is why there hasn’t been economic transformation.”
He said while no one could describe Zuma as an honest and transparent leader, there were still good forces within the ANC, and he called on them to act.
Thobile Ntola, of the newly formed South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), said: “We have agreed that we have to save South Africa not only from Zuma but also from the ANC government.”
Anglican Bishop Bethlehem Nopece said: “This government was set in place and was trusted, but that trust is gone and therefore the people of South Africa need to unite and do something.
“This government of President Zuma must fall and when it falls it must fall with all that is evil in it.”