THE RISE AND FALL OF BANTU HOLOMISA*

On September 30 1996, Bantubonke Holomisa was expelled from the ANC by unanimous decision of the National Executive Committee. Holomisa had been an ANC member for a very brief period, joining our organisation in 1994. Yet, in that year, he had emerged from the December National Conference as one of the most popular of our leaders.

And now, just over two years later, he is out in the cold. What went wrong? What lessons can we draw as the ANC from the rapid rise and fall of Holomisa? Was this outcome inevitable?

What responsibility, if any, do we have collectively, as the ANC? Was our December 1994 conference too easily swayed by considerations of popularity? Did we do enough to politicise Holomisa and others like him who rocketed into leadership, but with very little experience of our movement?

Or was the rise and fall of Holomisa the inevitable result of his own ego, arrogance and political immaturity?

To answer these questions, we need to consider another question: What kind of a person is Holomisa? What are the social forces that have shaped his outlook and personality? What makes him seek to undermine the ANC, the movement that has spearheaded the liberation of our country from three centuries of colonialism and many decades of apartheid? What is it about Holomisa that leads him on his dissident path, at the very moment that we are, collectively, in the midst of a vast historical process of transforming our country for the benefit of all its peoples?

As we review the Holomisa story, these are the kinds of questions we must ask ourselves.

The military man

Bantu Holomisa was nurtured by the old bantustan Transkei Defence Force, itself a proxy of the apartheid SADF. Holomisa has never demonstrated the slightest reservation about this background.

On the contrary, he likes to boast about it. "I was never a sergeant", he recently wrote. "From the word go, I became a career officer...After completing my instructor's course in 1977, I passed a selection to undergo a candidate officer's course whereafter I graduated as a lieutenant in 1978. Thereafter I did my training in Transkei, South Africa and abroad. The training included...combat team commander's course...counter-insurgency course...I also participated in many military exercises." (Sunday Independent, 20 August 1996)

Reading this, you get the impression that it is just a plain professional career with its own academic curriculum. But we are talking, here, about the late 1970s and the decade of the 1980s. This is at the height of the student uprisings, of mass mobilisation against the bantustans, of devastating military destabilisation of the whole of southern Africa, and of escalating MK activity. While hundreds of thousands of patriots bravely joined the liberation struggle, Bantubonke Holomisa was climbing up the ladder of a bantustan army, under the tutelage of the apartheid SADF.

"Counter-insurgency", he proudly tells us, was one of the things that he studied at Voortrekkerhoogte. Again, this is not some innocent pastime. Counter-insurgency doctrine is about how to smash liberation movements and popular struggles. It is the doctrine that informed the apartheid destabilisation of southern Africa, and the low intensity warfare waged within our country by the CCB, Vlakplaas, and other third force units.

We began by asking: what social forces helped to shape Bantu Holomisa? The SADF clearly imparted certain professional skills, and his success as an officer has given him a personal confidence. For a young black person to rise rapidly as he did, in the midst of a deeply racist institution was, in itself, a not insignificant personal achievement.

But Holomisa's first confusion is his tendency to treat this background as a purely professional, ideology-free achievement to be listed on his CV. When Holomisa joined the ANC shortly before the April 1994 elections we were, of course, aware of this background. The ANC has consistently shown a spirit of reconciliation. It would, however, be appropriate for Bantu Holomisa to be just a little less boastful about his own dubious military past. But he clearly has no regrets and sees no reason to make any apology whatsoever.

"A military intelligence project that went wrong"?

In the space of a mere nine years, Holomisa rose rapidly from lieutenant to major-general, a rank he achieved in 1987. To what did he owe this rapid rise? There is no doubt that he is an intelligent and ambitious individual. Are these qualities the only explanation for his rapid advance?

Vlakplaas commander, Eugene De Kock, recently claimed in court that "Holomisa was a military intelligence project that went wrong". De Kock was trying to explain why Vlakplaas and other apartheid dirty tricks structures had become involved in the 1990 coup attempt against Holomisa. "Plans were made to stage a coup against Holomisa as he was no longer a government front man." (Star, 24 September, 1996).

De Kock is categorical that by 1990 Holomisa was not an apartheid "front man". This can mean only one thing, in at least De Kock's opinion, Holomisa had once very much been a "front man".

Can we trust De Kock? It would be very wrong to simply go on the word of a convicted mass murderer. But De Kock is not alone in making these allegations. Other former apartheid-era intelligence operatives have also gone on record, speaking of the web of connections maintained by the Department of Military Intelligence to Holomisa's Military Council.

Yes, it is true, that Holomisa, in later years played a very useful role in exposing some of the work of the SADF's Department of Military Intelligence (DMI), including the notorious Goniwe "death signal" sent by General Joffel van der Westhuizen. All of this was after the DMI and Vlakplaas had launched a coup attempt against him.

But where does Holomisa obtain the secret files that he leaks from time to time, to suit his own whims and fancies? His sources are clearly linked to the old apartheid DMI structures. What is his own historical connection to these personalities? Why do they trust him to handle this material, rather than providing it directly to the TRC, or the new National Intelligence Agency?

Holomisa's 1987 coup ­ why did Pretoria tread softly?

There are other related questions. In particular, why did the SADF choose not to suppress the TDF coup against Mantanzima led by Holomisa in 1987? Just one year before, Pretoria imposed an undeclared blockade against Lesotho because it was unhappy with the support Leabua Jonathan was giving to the ANC. The blockade quickly led to the toppling of Jonathan. In 1988, when Rocky Malebane-Metsing tried to emulate Holomisa's coup in Bophuthatswana, the SADF moved in swiftly and quashed the military uprising.

Why, in 1987, did Holomisa receive a completely different reception? What did the SADF know about Holomisa that led them to assume that he would not be a problem? Did they have reason to feel comfortable with their star pupil from the "counter-insurgency" course?

To be fair to Holomisa, the SADF miscalculated badly. Holomisa exploited the breathing space he was afforded, and refused to play Pretoria's game in the latter part of the 1980s.

Colonel Craig Duli

But there are also other troubling questions that arise about Holomisa from this period. A central personality in the anti-Holomisa coup attempt of 1990 was TDF Colonel Craig Duli. Press stories have focused around the killing of Duli in the course of the coup attempt. According to Duli's widow, Nontobeko, Duli only received light wounds in the fighting, he was captured alive and taken to Ncise military base where he was executed. Mrs Duli made these claims recently in giving evidence to the TRC.

Mrs Duli told the TRC that she, in turn, was given the information by General Mdluli Mbulawa, a former Transkei chief deputy commissioner of police ­ who was himself to be assassinated in December 1994.

Similar evidence was given to the TRC by one of Craig Duli's co-conspirators, Sabelo Wana. He told the commission that, when Duli walked out of the government building they had tried to occupy, he was only lightly wounded in the thigh and above the right eye.

Others, like convicted killer Eugene De Kock, who was involved in supplying arms to Duli for the coup, have even claimed that Holomisa was present at the execution of Duli, and that he gave the orders.

Holomisa has always denied these claims. He has said that Duli died of his wounds on the way to hospital. As for the allegation that he was directly involved, he has said that he was nowhere near Duli at the time of his death, instead he was at a mass rally in Umtata when he heard of the Duli capture and subsequent death.

Again, it would be wrong to jump to hasty conclusions, especially if it means accepting Vlakplaas Eugene De Kock's words over those of Holomisa.

What, however, is not in dispute is that Colonel Craig Duli and Bantu Holomisa had been very close friends over many years. They regularly visited each other's homes. Duli had been number two in Holomisa's governing Military Council.

They fell out in the course of 1989. Yet, Craig Duli was very quickly in touch with Vlakplaas, with elements in Military Intelligence and other disreputable apartheid dirty tricks networks. Was Duli the DMI agent all along? Or did Duli suddenly acquire these contacts? Or were they networks that the two former friends, Duli and Holomisa, had long shared?

What are we to conclude from all of the above?

We cannot be sure that Holomisa was ever a knowing agent of the aparheid security forces. Such an allegation should only be made with the greatest circumspection. All that we can say is that we do not entirely rule out this possibility. Either way, however, what is inconstestable is that Holomisa's development was deeply influenced by the military academies of the apartheid SADF. It is an influence about which he remains absolutely uncritical.

A personality full of contradictions

From around 1989 through the early 1990s, Bantu Holomisa used his position as military leader in the Transkei to play a progressive role. He was the first to free political prisoners. He unbanned the PAC and ANC before FW de Klerk. When returned exiles, like comrade Chris Hani, were persecuted, he offered a safe haven. The Transkei delegation at the multi-party talks played a consistently progressive role. It was also in this period that Holomisa began to expose DMI operations, like the "Goniwe" death signal and the details of Operation Katzen, an operation to destabilise the liberation movement in the Eastern Cape.

None of this can, nor should it, ever be denied. Of course, we can only speculate whether all of this represented a genuine change of heart on the part of Holomisa, or whether it was purely an opportunistic change of horses.

It was against this immediate background that Holomisa joined the ANC in 1994. His plucky defiance of the apartheid regime and his sharp wit made him one of the most popular figures on our electoral list. The way in which the De Klerk regime constantly demonised him, only helped his popularity amongst the majority of South Africans.

But Holomisa's grasp of broader political realities, his understanding of democratic debate, and of how a progressive political movement like the ANC functions ­ all of these were very limited. He remained, essentially, a military man, schooled in the military academies of the apartheid regime, and uncritically proud of his time as "head of state" of a bantustan.

Sadly, his popularity fed his arrogance, and the resulting swollen head increasingly undermined even his sense of military discipline. He was unhappy that he was only given a Deputy Minister's post in the new democratic government. He began to feel that he was above the organisation, and that his popularity made him "untouchable".

The TRC episode

Matters began to worsen when in May 1996 Holomisa went before the TRC. There was, of course, nothing wrong in principle with Holomisa giving evidence to the TRC. The ANC has been encouraging all its members to give their fullest co-operation to the TRC process.

It was, however, a little surprising that Holomisa, an ANC deputy cabinet minister and NEC member, decided to give his evidence without properly discussing the matter with the ANC Truth and Reconciliation Committee. After all, it makes sense to attempt to co-ordinate our input so that we are able to cover the maximum of serious human rights abuses in the short time available.

After the event, Holomisa explained that he was giving his evidence "as former Transkei head of state, and not as an ANC member". This underlines the point we were making above, Holomisa was always ambiguous about his ANC membership. He felt himself to be a VIP, above the organisation.

He also attempted to explain his actions by saying that he "had consulted the ANC" because he had given President Mandela an advance copy of his three-hours of written submissions ­ as if dumping a mass of files on our President was a realistic consultation. The fact is he failed to exercise the most elementary courtesy by at least warning a fellow cabinet minister, or the ANC leadership collectively, that he intended to make serious allegations against her before the TRC.

In the course of his TRC submission, Holomisa alleged that a fellow ANC cabinet minister, Stella Sigcau was the recipient of a "R50,000 bribe from Sol Kerzner" during her time as a minister in the old Mantanzima Transkei cabinet.

By Holomisa's own admission, this was a tiny part of his extensive TRC submission. It was extremely naive of him, however, to think that this issue would not become the main focus of media attention. The media was delighted at the spectacle of an ANC deputy minister attacking an ANC cabinet minister in public. The "Holomisa-Sigcau" dispute quickly occupied the front pages, to the detriment of the much more serious, apartheid-era human rights abuses to which Holomisa claims he was trying to draw attention. (This precisely underlines why it would have helped his own cause if he had discussed his input collectively).

Holomisa was censured by Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, for his ill-considered reference to Minister Sigcau. Instead of accepting the censure in a disciplined and constructive way, Holomisa struck out publicly. In the following weeks and months, he levelled increasingly hysterical attacks and all kinds of wild allegations against a wide range of comrades, including Thabo Mbeki, Steve Tshwete, Tokyo Sexwale, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Kadar Asmal, Zola Skweyiya, Derek Hanekom and President Mandela himself.

This conduct underlined another feature of Holomisa's politics. In many cases the allegations he levelled appeared to be constructed on the spur of the moment, but at other times he purported to be "unveiling" confidential information that had been at his disposal. If he thought he was providing genuine information, so much the worse. It emphasises Holomisa political style ­ palace political intrigue, military council scheming, in which you store up "information" against comrades as an "insurance" to be disclosed at the appropriate moment. As it happens the allegations fell flat.

Holomisa walked out during proceedings of the ANC NEC disciplinary committee, referring to it as a "kangaroo court" in the media. He also walked out of the NEC to which he had chosen to appeal, and then immediately published complaints that he was not officially informed of the NEC's decision. He threatened to take the matter to court ­ but has since, quietly backed down, since he has not a leg to stand on. But he still tries to portray his expulsion as the work of a tiny "cabal" ­ the fact is, the NEC decision to expel him was unanimous.

The general had become a loose cannon. The anti-ANC press, of course, loved every minute of it. One journalist openly admitted that when she didn't have any headline-grabbing story, she would phone Bantu Holomisa. He would unfailingly provide another outrageous headline.

How clean is "Mr Clean"?

Holomisa launched his 1987 military coup in the Transkei in the name of stamping out corruption. In the course of his quarrels with senior ANC leaders in 1996, he kept making wild allegations about corruption. So what is Holomisa's own track-record as "head of state" in the Transkei between 1987 and 1994?

The Transkei of Mantanzima was certainly riddled with corruption, the details of which have often been exposed by journalists and by a string of trials and commissions. Unfortunately, Holomisa's Military Council did not reverse the trend of corruption.

On the contrary, reports of the Auditor General, the National Department of Finance, the Special Investigating Unit headed by Judge Heath, the Browde and the Judge White Commissions of Inquiry, and even the reports of the former Transkei Auditor General have shown that corrupt practices spread to all levels of the Transkei administration and parastatals in the 1987 to 1994 period. These findings have also all been confirmed by various Presidential Task Teams and the government of the Eastern Cape.

Holomisa pleads not guilty to the allegations, and he attempts to lay all the blame upon the financial and other pressures deliberately placed on his administration by the apartheid regime in Pretoria. There is no doubt that Pretoria did try to squeeze Holomisa's Transkei, once they realised that he was not as co-operative as they had hoped. But if Pretoria was applying the squeeze, there was all the more reason to shepherd resources carefully and responsibly.

There is not the least excuse for the massive waste of public funds from fraud, theft and abuse of state assets, financial maladministration, improper promotions and improper salary increases, the registration of "ghost" workers and a host of other corrupt practices that flourished in Transkei during the rule of Holomisa's Military Council.

The following are some of the facts that have started to emerge about the Transkei during Holomisa's rule:

None of this can be explained away by a simple reference to "pressure from Pretoria". Holomisa presided over a Transkei in which corrupt practices of all kinds ran rampant. The new South Africa, and particularly the citizens of the Eastern Cape are now paying for this vast and wilful wastage of public resources.

The "head of state" and economic populism

In trying to understand the Holomisa personality we have already mentioned the military academies of the SADF and TDF. His term as a bantustan "head of state" was another formative experience.

Holomisa was unlike most other bantustan leaders, partly because his own social origins were different from the general pattern. He sought actively to build a support base that was broader than an inner-circle of family and clan. His project was built less on a network of "traditional" leaders and village headmen, characteristic of most other bantustan dispensations. Indeed, his was a more "modern" project ­ his support base was built around a bantustan bureaucracy of professional soldiers, police and administrators; and not just the very upper echelons, but also the lower and middle ranks. The majority of this constituency were "commoners", like himself.

But it remained, of course, a bantustan project. The only way that it could briefly assume some resemblance of working was through profligate spending, banana republic promotions, inflated salaries, and all the other forms of economic populism we have noted.

Once more, Holomisa is unapologetic. He has given interviews to the media saying proudly that "civil servants in the Transkei were better paid than anywhere else in South Africa".

Of course, much of the corruption that flourished in Holomisa's Transkei was qualitatively different from that associated with the Mangopes or Mobutus of the world. In these latter cases, we find a corruption of lavish personal life-styles and vast, private bank accounts in Switzerland.

The corruption that flourished in Holomisa's Transkei belongs to another variant also commonly found in third world countries, often under the rule of military juntas led by junior officers. This is a banana republic "Robin Hoodism" ­ robbing (not the rich) but the public fiscus to feed (not the poorest of the poor) but a relatively marginal, third world professional stratum of fellow junior officers and bureaucrats.

This economic populism is, of course, absolutely unsustainable. In the end it is the popular classes who are the major victims. Wild spending sprees result in crisis conditions that open the doors wide for IMF-imposed structural adjustment programmes. Holomisa's contribution to this kind of crisis has been partially obscured because his rule coincided with the final years of the apartheid and bantustan dispensation. But the people of South Africa, and particularly of the East Cape province are now paying dearly for Holomisa's economic populism.

Where to now, Holomisa?

Since his expulsion from the ANC at the end of September 1996, Holomisa has been moving about the country addressing meetings. He has launched a so-called "National Consultative Forum", and he has announced that he will attempt to launch this as a formal national, political structure in July this year.

Will the new party be based on any political vision? Or will it simply be based on Holomisa's inflated ego and an odd assortment of grievances? The answers to these questions are already obvious from the speeches and statements made by Holomisa over these last few months.

In the first place, he is trying to mobilise around a sense of dissent and grievance against the ANC. His ears are keenly attuned to any debate within the movement, and he tries to grab hold of this for his own purposes.

He has tried to enflame emotions around "corruption in government". He has struck out against the "sunset clauses" ­ "What I can say...is that the Sunset Clauses have brought hardship and confusion. The civil service is in a mess." (New Nation, 21 February 1997). He has picked up on the macro-economic debate: "The RDP has been abandoned. It must be revisited. The macro-economic policy of the ANC undermines the RDP." And, above all, he tries to present himself as the victim of an ANC "run by a cabal bent on conducting a witchunt". By contrast, he portrays himself as an ardent disciple of "civil liberties", as Mr Clean in person.

To an unsuspecting observer all of this might seem plausible enough. But the moment you think twice, it all begins to fall apart.

If Holomisa is really Mr Clean, a warrior bent on exposing corruption, then why is he speaking to Lucas Mangope about the launch of the new party? Mangope is facing no less than 208 charges of fraud for misappropriating millions of rands when he was the tin-pot president of Bophuthatswana!

If Holomisa is really so concerned about "civil liberties", then what is he doing talking to Roelf Meyer, and especially to Hernus Kriel? The NP is a party whose murky past is now more evident than ever before. This is the party of death-farms, of secret burials, of poisonings and mass brutality. When the ANC negotiated with the NP, it was not to flirt with it politically, but to ensure as rapid and as peaceful a transition process as possible. What Holomisa is now doing, flirting under the table, is a very different matter indeed.

If Holomisa is really so concerned about the "Sunset Clauses", which offered certain transitional guarantees to former incumbents in the state apparatuses of apartheid South Africa, then why does he spend so much time in Giyani and Umtata trying to woo aggrieved bureaucrats from the old bantustan apparatuses? These are those elements who fear the "Sunrise" and an end to their own protected privileges.

In September last year, he lashed out at government for its failure to inform people about the real constraints we are facing. (The Sowetan, 24 September 1996) reports him saying that the budget deficit "made it difficult for the Government to deliver massive housing, health services and grant subsidies to poor people. He blamed the local and provincial governments for not holding feed-back meetings with residents to explain these difficulties..."

Do you think that he is following his own advice, patiently explaining to people the very real constraints under which we are operating? Of course not. He is opportunistically picking up on a garbled version of the debate around government's macro-economic policy (GEAR), and blaming that for the failure to deliver.

There is no political consistency, no vision, no ideology. The only consistency is the continuous, demagogic attempt to whip up grievances against the ANC and its leadership.

"Every Jack and Jill" ­ a politics without principle

When journalists ask Holomisa whether his "new party" will be to the left or right of the ANC, they are met with a blank stare. Holomisa, of course, has no intention of limiting his opportunism to the left or right. He will only say that "every Jack and Jill will be welcome" in the new party (New Nation, 21 February 1997).

But you cannot build a consistent and principled political movement out of this. If Holomisa had spent a few years in a street committee, or the branch of a mass structure, or in a shop-stewards local, instead of just studying at Voortrekkerhoogte, he might realise that this is not going to work.

You are not going to impress COSATU by just randomly picking up on its concerns around GEAR. This is especially the case if, on the ground you are mobilising for instance, largely on an old bantustan ethnic ticket, in the Rustenberg area around a core of expelled NUM members associated with the "Five Madoda".

You might impress militant students for a few hours with rhetoric about slow delivery and the need for "civil liberties", but then you are going to puzzle them deeply when security police informer and agent provocateur, Sifiso Nkabinde, serves as the KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of your National Consultative Forum.

You might put your finger on some real challenges by talking about blockages in delivery and a state apparatus that is often bureaucratic. But then, if you are Bantu Holomisa, you are going to have to explain your own dismal track-record in the Transkei when you were "head of state" there.

No doubt, Holomisa will receive some financial backing from those forces that hope to weaken the ANC. But his is a political project that is based on a large ego and the vague hope of mobilising people around grudges and grievances. Any grudge, any grievance, "any Jack or Jill" will do.

The media in South Africa

What social forces have helped to shape Holomisa? We have already highlighted two formative social institutions ­ the apartheid military academies, and the Transkei "Military Council". There is one other significant social institution that has played a critical role in his career: the media.

Holomisa is very much the product, even ­ one might say ­ the construct of the media. The media in our country has some specific features, and to understand the Holomisa phenomenon, it is important to unpack these.

On the one hand, we have a free and relatively robust media, qualities which the ANC hopes to foster and safeguard. We do not want a lap-dog press. However, there are also some very serious limitations to the media in our country which need to be overcome.

The combination of all of the above has resulted in one further peculiarity of the South African media:

­ At a popular level, readers or listeners or viewers rely on the media for information, but they often invert (sometimes very mechanically) the values being propagated. In the past, the demonisation of the ANC, or of a Chris Hani, back-fired very widely for these reasons.

This has, of course, been generally an excellent outcome. But, given the crudeness of the distinctions made in much of the media between "militants" and "moderates", for instance, demagogic militancy (without any substantive politics behind it) has often been a cheap road to a short-lived and shallow popularity.

Most comrades in our ranks have consistently declined to abuse this shallow, media-generated popularity. But there are also those who have exploited their media "notoriety" for personal ends. Bantu Holomisa is one obvious example.

Demagogy fuels its own fall

When Holomisa first joined the ANC, we knew that we were dealing with an individual who had a complicated background. But we genuinely hoped that he would find, in the ANC, an organisation in which he could grow, and in which his skills could develop. Sadly, there has been a different outcome.

Holomisa will not be the first to leave the ANC in pursuit of a demagogic project that is not sure if it is to the left or right of the ANC, but only that it is anti-ANC.

It is possible that Holomisa will, for a time, manage to patch together a very odd assortment of constituencies into a rag-tag oppositional force. He will certainly seek to mobilise disgruntled civil servants whose bloated bantustan privileges are threatened (he is not even abashed to speak to Mangope); he will be fishing in the troubled waters of "provincial boundary" disputes; he will seek to play the Xhosa card in Gauteng and in the mining centres, hoping to appeal to migrant workers whose consciousness is more ethnic than proletarian; he will comb KwaZulu-Natal for expelled ANC elements exposed as third force operatives; and he may even receive some support from rabidly anti-ANC whites looking, after their disappointment with the inepitude of Buthelezi, for a black front man to lead their anti-transformation agenda.

There may be some very temporary and partial successes for Holomisa down this path. But there is no longer-term viability for this hodge-podge project.

If we were living in a country with shallow political traditions, a country in which mass organisational experience was limited, then there might be cause for concern that demagogues like Holomisa would successfully exploit the difficulties of transition.

But the broad mass of people in our country are steeled in struggle and organisation. Our people are not naively waiting for a "saviour". Our people are clear: nobody is above an organisation, and popularity is not something to be abused.

This is the first key lesson that we, as the ANC, draw from the Holomisa story:

We must continuously foster and deepen the organisational capacity and involvement of millions and millions of South Africans. Herein lies the critical difference between the ANC and opposing political parties. The ANC is not just a party of mass support, we are also a party of mass participation. The ANC is not a fan club. So long as we remain true to this tradition, so long will demagogic projects be broken on the rock of a politically mature mass base.

Naturally, some of our grass-roots organisational and mobilisational capacity has been disrupted over the past three challenging and complex years. This has been due, in part, to the necessity of assuming huge new responsibilities of governance.

But our President's January 8th speech and our January NEC lekgotla resolutions strongly commit us to rebuilding the ANC as a movement of mass participation.

The second key lesson that we draw from the Holomisa story is:

The imperative of conducting ongoing, systematic cadre development at all levels of our organisation. As the result of our immense success we have drawn into our movement tens of thousands of new members. This is a huge accomplishment, but we cannot just assume that all our members, or even leaders, are schooled in Congress politics. What is more, cadre development is not just the inculcation of a predetermined "line", it is also about traditions of collective leadership, of ongoing team-work as opposed to individual competition. It is also about sharing knowledge and experience, an imperative that is more than ever necessary, now that we have our leading cadreship spread across a huge variety of institutions.

Holomisa could have played a constructive role in the new South Africa. Sadly, his personal arrogance and political immaturity, themselves the product of his own particular institutional formation, have carried him off on a different journey. For us, as the ANC, what is now important is not a tit-for-tat, polemical engagement with Holomisa. The most important is for us to collectively discuss, analyse and understand the nature of demagogic projects that present themselves as "radical", but which are, in practice, thoroughly reactionary. Above all, let us build and foster the most powerful safeguard against demagogy and opportunism, a mass-based ANC that is led collectively by tens of thousands of active cadres, and which empowers grassroots, mass participation.

Issued by the African National Congress
Department of Information and Publicity

This article first appeared as an insert in the final edition of the New Nation on Friday 30th May 1997.