Communists travel First Class

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From socialists to socialites

It has been interesting to note the personal attacks from ANC alliance leaders to the potential breakaway party to be launched by Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa.

Several ANC leaders, including spokesperson Jessie Duarte, Women’s League President Angie Motshekga, and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, have taken swipes at Lekota and Shilowa’s personalities and their personal taste.

Duarte for instance said that Lekota had always looked for publicity, while Motshekga called the two men dogs. Motshekga was quoted as saying that she had always known Lekota to be “attention seeking and very loud”. Of course, several alliance leaders have also spoken about the two men’s taste in whisky, wines and cigars.

From where I am sitting, this seems quite rich coming from an alliance where its leaders have become seriously out of touch with the majority of people. I have often travelled on SAA and, while making my way to the back of the plane, I have passed South African Communist Party chief Blade Nzimande in business class. What is even worse is that quite often, there would several prominent trade union leaders also in business class, and once there were about five or six portly characters wearing T-shirts proclaiming “Forward with the Workers’ Struggle”. I can’t remember but I think I saw a Cosatu emblem on these T-shirts.

I thought to myself, is this what we have been reduced to: overweight men in union T-shirts sitting in business class? Are the workers even aware that their union dues are being used to fly these comrades in style? This is not to talk about the fancy cars that always pick up our esteemed leaders, including Comrade Nzimande.

So what if Lekota likes publicity? So does just about everyone who enters politics. In fact, if you are a private person, you would probably not entertain a career in politics.

So what if Shilowa likes good whiskies, good wines and expensive cigars? So does probably most of the ANC alliance leadership.

The point I am trying to get to is this: gentlemen and ladies, please don’t play the man, play the ball. Deal with the issues, don’t deal with the personalities. There are many people out there who are completely confused by all the latest happenings in our political space and I hope that they will make up their minds based on who acts the most mature and intelligent in the next few months.

I don’t think anybody is going to be won over by the party who calls others the best names. I think people are going to be won over by whoever projects the best ability to deliver.

I have no doubt that those who have decided to remain behind in the ANC will feel bitter and angry about being betrayed by Lekota, Shilowa and their supporters. The challenge to all of them is going to be to avoid the personal attacks and to attack the new party on its inability to deliver (if that is the case) or their lack of experience in delivery.

Attack them if you feel their policies are not properly thought through. But please don’t point fingers at their lifestyle when your own leaders live as opulently.

Let us have a fair and decent fight ahead of next year’s elections. You owe it to the workers who allow you to live in style.

- Ryland Fisher


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