The September 2016 edition of aBr is significant in that it represents eight years of ground breaking journalism in the automotive aftermarket space. aBr’s phoenix like rising was a classic example of the law of unintended consequences, with Words in Action being unleashed through the actions of a cabal of conniving and immoral people, who thought that they had covered all their bases. And I need to add that I use the word people with great generosity.
However, no matter how devious you are, you can never cover all your bases, and no matter how long it takes, the chickens eventually come home to roost. This came to mind after the announcement of the results in the recent municipal elections. In aBr’s case, the chickens were indecent in their haste, with aBr seeing the light of day within two months of the dastardly deed, and a rapid ascent to the top, and becoming the premier automotive aftermarket publication in the blink of an eye, whereas with South Africa’s poisoned politics, the chickens were slow to move.
I feel an affinity with ex-president Thabo Mbeki, because in 2008 he was also a victim of malicious machinations. Mbeki, like me, was a diligent man, who was doing a good job. Yes, he did have a blind spot when it came to HIV/AIDS, but who is perfect? Even Ronald Reagan, who is now considered by many to be the best post war US president, allowed his wife to schedule his meetings and travels according to her astrologer’s calculations. My blind spot is my sense of humour and my silly belief that all men are honourable. This belief has been sorely tested many times!
But back to Mbeki. He was disgracefully shafted by the ANC National Executive Committee. Just listen to some excerpts of a statement on 22 September 2008 by the president of the African National Congress, one Jacob Zuma. “The National Executive Committee of the ANC met over the weekend of the 19th to 21st September 2008, to deliberate on various pertinent issues. After careful debate and discussion the NEC decided to recall Comrade Thabo Mbeki. This was one of the most difficult decisions the NEC has ever had to take in the history of the ANC. We fully understand that the decision comes with a degree of pain to Comrade Mbeki, his family, friends, members of the ANC, ordinary South Africans and members of the international community with whom we interact. Comrade Mbeki has devoted decades of his life to the ANC and our country. The decision to recall him was not taken lightly, but it had to be taken in the interests of making the country move forward. The country needs a strong and united ruling party at the helm of government, capable of galvanising support for the government`s development agenda. As the ruling party we need to sustain the confidence of our people in the ANC and its government. Once this level of confidence is weakened, the ANC has no alternative but to take action.”
Now listen to these additional two lulus, “The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary are amongst the most fundamental principles in our country`s Constitution, which the ANC will always protect and defend”; and “We have made a painful and difficult decision, and we are convinced that it will bring about much needed stability in government and public life and enable us to focus on the challenges facing our country.”
Eight years later, with things unravelling, the words uttered in triumph in those dark days should be heeded by those in power. A mirror would help. What really convinced me that a new dawn was needed is the recent revelation in Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey that our economy lost 484 000 jobs in the first half of 2016. This is dynamite, and should concentrate the minds of the ANC NEC, and all they have to do is to listen to what Zuma said eight years ago, and apply with vigour once again. It’s a painful and difficult decision, but it’s all about much needed stability in government and public life, and crucially we need to focus on the challenges facing our country. A new dawn is needed, and in a hurry.