Gumede on the button
For former ANC members, long accustomed to the practices and processes of the ANC, breaking ties allowed them an opportunity to make a critical assessment of what was untenable, unconscionable and unacceptable in the party they had left. Freed to reflect on what did not work and what posed dangers to their former party, they were very well placed to pioneer a new and better way of doing things.
Leaders of COPE knew from their cumulative and close experience that leadership battles in the ANC were going to be dangerously and deadly serious because of the ruthless and unrelenting pursuit of increased personal stature, wealth, position and power by those in contestation for top leadership position. Nothing and nobody would be allowed to stand in the way of their self-aggrandisement. They saw, as former members, that the ANC was going to morph into a kind of mafia that would tear itself apart.
That is why COPE did exactly what William Gumede proposed in his op-ed last Sunday, namely, “change the way it (the party will) elect its president, leaders and representatives”.
COPE’s new constitution gives each party member, in good standing, the democratic right to vote for the party president on an individual basis using technological means readily available at elective conference time. This fully meets Gumede’s advocacy for individual members voting for the party president directly. As a result of this innovation, dirty slate politics has been rendered void, inconsequential and irrelevant so far as COPE is concerned.
COPE also meets another of Gumede’s criterion, namely, that the ANC embraces “South Africa’s constitution as a social democratic one” and to make it “the new ideological blueprint” for itself. Our members saw this as patently lacking in the ANC and COPE acted by fully and committedly embracing the national constitution in its own and modelling its logo to be fully reflective of the national flag.
COPE can ready tick all of the boxes on Gumede’s list because it chose by volition to be as good as the ANC of yore that its members once identified with and belonged to before it went completely astray and spawned state capture on a scale hard to conceive. The parting of ways with the ANC was both inevitable and the only possible way for its former members to perpetuate the glorious values and ideals that it once upheld and so proudly strove for.
Gumede is on the button!
Farouk Cassim (COPE councilor)
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