Yesterday at the Cape Town #ZumaMustFall march, my friend Craig Stewart, who helps lead the Warehouse in Wetton, gave an excellent speech and here, with his permission, is the transcript of what he said, along with the video link if you would like to see him saying it:
This is the draft of a speech I gave at a Unite Against Corruption event in the Company Gardens on Dec 16 2015. The gathering was in response to the actions of President Zuma over the past two weeks and many of the people there had organised around #Zumamustfall. I do think President Zuma is a dangerous liability for SA but the tone of much of the conversation around this has been racist.
21 years ago, led by the audacious hope of Archbishop Tutu and others, we put to death the law of apartheid and celebrated the birth of what we hoped was a new nation, a nation that had taken the road less travelled in breaking down white domination which has caused so much black pain over the past centuries.
But we’ve found that the spirit of apartheid has been much harder to put to death than the laws. The spirit of apartheid is like the mould in my bathroom that keeps coming back in different forms over and over again. This continues to sustain systems of white privilege and reveals itself through the inequities in health, education, housing, employment.
21 years later the struggle to take this road less travelled requires courage, sacrifice and leadership equal to or perhaps more than that which was required in leading us to addressing the law.
As Tshepo Motsepe has said the presidency should be a site to advance this struggle for social equality but that this struggle can no longer be led by a person as compromised and ineffective as President Jacob Zuma and we call on the ANC to recall him.
Under his leadership social spending and jobs are at risk given the irresponsible manner in which the economy has been managed, under his leadership the trade unions have been weakened and their ability to fight for the rights of workers compromised, under his leadership the institutions of democracy have been gutted and under his leadership we aren’t going to make inroads in the struggle against corruption in this country.
The ANC must be encourage to recall President Zuma.
BUT we cannot be naive and fooled into thinking or acting as if President Zuma is the catalyst for all our economic crises in South Africa.
He is not.
If our single goal is that Zuma must fall then nothing will change in South Africa. We, especially those of us in this crowd today who are white,
ignore the fact that our economy’s foundations are the maintenance of white domination and of black oppression and pain. The structures and systems built by apartheid and colonialism remain and it is their role that must fall.
I am a person of faith, I seek to follow Jesus and align myself as best I can with his words and actions. In thinking about this morning and the outcry I found myself reading Jesus’ words about judgement. When we look at the splinter in someone’s eye we should pay careful attention to the log in our own eye so that we can see properly.
And so what is the log in my eye, in our eyes. Are we taking a stand today because our privilege, our lives of careless ease are being threatened or are we taking a stand today because we are tired of living lives where our comfort comes at the epxense of black people, are we taking a stand today because we are tired of being priviledged at the expense of black people?
President Zuma used his position and power to build himself a fire pool and we’ve chanted “pay back the money”. But we used our position and power to build oursevles swimming pools too and its going to take courage and strength to work out how we can pay back the money that built our swimming pools.
President Zuma used his position and power to build himself a private medical clinic, to secure business deals for his family and those close to him. But we have used our position and power — given to us by the spirit of apartheid — to nurture parallel health, education and business systems that work for a few at the expense of the common good. And its going to take courage and strength to work out how we are going to pay back the money?
President Zuma has allowed corruption to thrive and grow but corruption is systemic in our very society, the spirit of apartheid is corrupt and thrives on corruption, President Zuma simply gives it form.
We are here today calling for the recall of President Zuma and that is right but let us not stop there.
Once again as a nation we are at a place where two roads are diverging and its going to take us to have courage and audacious hope to lead us down that road.
We cry out for leadership but are we willing to lead down that road, we cry out for hope but are we willing to live in that hope, we cry out for President Zuma to be accountable for his wrongs but are we willing to do the same, are we willing to ask the questions of ourselves that we are asking of President Zuma, the road that has us acting not out of guilt but out of recognition that we are also complicit and that our role in that system must fall.
Are we willing to take a lesser travelled road in the audacious hope that we can to do something different in the world. Let us take that road today.