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[FIRST ON EWN] Rasool: WC ANC has lost moral compass

Speaking exclusively to EWN, the former Premier and ambassador to the US, says the party has lost the values once admired by so many two decades ago.

FILE: Ebrahim Rasool (centre) poses with WC ANC secretary Faiez Jacobs (left) and ANC regional leader in Cape Town Xolani Sotashe. Picture: @Xolani Sotashe/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The ANC in the Western Cape has lost its moral compass and needs to restore ethical leadership if it is to be victorious in the province again, says former premier and ambassador Ebrahim Rasool.

Speaking exclusively to EWN ahead of an address to the ANC’s weekend lekgotla in Worcester, Rasool said the party had lost the values once admired by so many two decades ago.

Factionalism had led to its downfall and poor performance at the polls.

"Even people who voted against the ANC did not question its innate and inherent morality. Clearly the ANC has in a sense vacated the moral ground and now has to share that with others, particularly those who are populist parties like the EFF and particularly with civil society," he said.

Reflecting on his time as provincial leader, Rasool said the party had the courage to deal with popular leaders perceived to be on the wrong side of the law.

"I think today we must recover from what is perceived to be leadership impunity and restore ethical leadership at provincial and national level."

Rasool has returned to Cape Town after six years abroad, first as South Africa’s ambassador to the US and more recently as a scholar in residence at Georgetown University where he is now a senior fellow.

He is the only provincial chairperson to have successfully campaigned for the premiership.

"The undoing of the ANC was when we allowed factions into our body politics as soon as we gained power in the Western Cape."

Rasool has told delegates that they needed to elect a leadership that struck a balance between skill and political charisma.

On the national succession debate, Rasool has advised the provincial executive not to muddy the waters further.

"Stay out of national politics for as long as you can and don’t add another layer of contest or division into a fractured province already, but have a major interest in restoring ethical leadership."

Rasool said there was a tendency for the provincial citizenry to punish a provincial leadership in reaction to what’s happening at a national level within the party.

The former ambassador has ruled out returning to active politics in the Western Cape, but says he has an obligation to share his experiences with the ANC as it prepares itself for the 2019 provincial elections.

"I have done my time in the Western Cape. I’ve moved from provincial politics, absorbed all the blows that come with it and I’ve almost been catapulted into a global role that I enjoy thoroughly, that I think suits my talent base and so I’m not here to contest for power in the Western Cape."

Rasool’s two books are due for publication soon.