Message from former Pesident Kgalema Motlanthe

  • Kgalema-Motlanthe
Let me start by apologising for being unable to attend the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards banquet. Prior engagements have made it impossible for me to do so, in the process robbing me of the opportunity to be part of what should amount to a honorific occasion.
by KGALEMA MOTLANTHE | Aug 18, 2017

I am more than pleased to express these words on such a grand occasion for our former Minister of Finance, comrade Pravin Gordhan.

This is a deserved honour for comrade Pravin. I would be remiss if I did not also thank the organisers of the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards banquet for recognising the sterling work of comrade Pravin both as the former Minister of Finance and his personal capacity as an active and critical citizen.

Certainly, in both roles comrade Pravin has been at the receiving end of untold pressure, frustration and animosity from forces hell-bent on undermining our system of democracy for their own ends.

It has not been easy for him. Yet it would appear that history has as much changes as it has continuities. At some level the challenges that comrade Pravin has faced, are continuous in intensity with those thrown up by the era of the liberation struggle.

Recognising comrade Pravin for all this effort he has selflessly made in contributing to the maintenance of the values that underline the society envisioned by our forebears, is among the greatest gestures ordinary South Africans can make to show appreciation.

It is both encouraging and uplifting to realise that one’s sacrifices do not go unnoticed.

Our country is engulfed in a crisis of massive proportions. At all levels, economically, politically and socially, our nation is unravelling. Gains that have been painstakingly made since the April 1994 democratic breakthrough that saw in a new dawn for our nation, are evaporating under our very noses.

Times like this call for commensurate action. These are times that call for clear-eyed articulation. Men and women of unbending moral stature are called upon by the imperative of our age to speak out against moral turpitude in our public life.

It is not easy. It will not be easy. Many will have to suffer. Many will have to put aside personal comforts in order to reclaim the vision which scores of our leaders have sacrificed so much for.

Comrade Pravin is one of those who have enthusiastically answered this call.

In so doing he has stepped into the massive shoes of Sophie de Bruyn, Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu, Ruth First, Amina Cachalia, Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Oliver Tambo, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Bantu Biko, Moses Kotane, JB Marks, ZK Matthews, Bill Andrews, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada and hundreds more who put premium on a grand vision and set about pursuing that vision with all their might.

This vision was driven by a transcendent moral purpose that is for all time. This vision will outlast all of us, yet this vision is vulnerable to human failings. As such, its survival is predicated on inspired, conscious human effort.

Comrade Pravin is among those individuals who have stepped up to the plate to grasp our common destiny by the scruff of its neck. For this he will suffer the inevitable consequences; if we cannot join him in this epic struggle, at least we can cheer him on.

I am therefore pleased to join many of you at this event and indeed around our country, in congratulating comrade Pravin for a job well done.

Comrade Pravin, while we say more power to your elbow, we also want you and many more like you to understand that, though we may not fully grasp the extent of your unpleasant experience, we are completely behind you.

This is, after all, in the nature of the human struggle. Lorraine Hansberry, the playwright and painter, nailed it when she said: “The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.”.

Yet, the way I see it, prompted by conscious effort, time and circumstance have a way of weeding out the impurities in human experience. You are on the right side of history for sure. Time and tide will confirm that.

Congratulations and everything of the best.


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