Archbishop Desmond Tutu is not happy about the transformation within South Africa and, ahead of the 2104 elections said, the slow pace is a disillusionment. Tutu said he was relieved Mandela and the other African National Congress (ANC) freedom fighters were not alive to see the terrible development taking place within the country.
Tutu revealed this week that his support of the ANC from 1994 was based on the policies of a sound and capable organization. He declared he would not support the party in the upcoming elections as they party has failed to make significant progress.
The ANC party was not impressed with Tutu’s comment and, responding to the published report, the ANC secretary Gwede Mantashe said, everybody wants to speak for Nelson Mandela, but those who do speak for him do not do so, and that is the problem within the country.
Tutu has always been a outspoken minister and regularly raised issues relating to the ruling party with his honest comments. He has raised his concern over the direction of the ANC for many years. In 2011, Tutu was annoyed that the Dalai Lama was denied entry into South Africa to attend his 80th birthday bash and vowed to pray for the downfall of the ANC party.
Tutu, last year, expressed his sadness at the outset of being excluded from speaking at the funeral of Nelson Mandela and this week continued to communicate his concerns about voting for the ANC. He was then invited to speak at a memorial in London but said it was not the same. As humble as ever, he said the ANC’s snub was hurtful.
Tutu’s daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, expressed her anger at the slow transformation and asked why, after twenty years of democracy, people still lived in shacks and not houses. She asked why service deliveries were not making progress and electricity was not available for all.
An ANC associate, Professor Ben Turok, said, although there was an expression of pessimism in the country, there were remarkable achievements since 1994 and was surprised by the Archbishop’s statement.
Tutu played a pivotal role in the transformation from apartheid to democracy and under the Nelson Mandela rule, and presided over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. This commission focused on restorative justice and was a successful and critical part of transition to a democracy from a flawed past.
Desmond Tutu continues to caution South Africans about their priorities and their ability to make a difference in the upcoming election. He said he did not actively support the “no-vote” campaign set up by former ANC member Ronnie Kasrils. He did say it was a opportunity to shake things up with a campaign aimed at encouraging activists not to vote or to destroy their ballot papers. Tutu said this was a concern of his about how the country was not moving forward.
While Tutu remains cynical about the governance of the ANC, he does reveal a sign of gratitude toward the ANC and the good they have done in the past. Tutu mentioned a impressive achievement of the ANC under the leadership of Jacob Zuma and the world’s largest HIV/AIDS treatment program. The Social grants initiative for disadvantaged people and the increase in generating clean running water and electricity got the thumbs up from Tutu.
Tutu said the truth must be spoken at all times, and could not understand why people got away with wrongdoings. Here in South Africa even communists drive expensive cars, he said.
By Laura Oneale