South Africa: Nelson Mandela's friend Goldberg seeks ANC clearout

Denis Goldberg (July 2013) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Goldberg called for a leadership clearout of the ANC

Veteran African National Congress (ANC) activist Denis Goldberg has called for leaders of the party to be replaced.

In a BBC interview, he alleged that the ANC leadership, locally and nationally, was riddled with corruption.

Mr Goldberg said that leaders' focus on personal enrichment was threatening freedom in South Africa.

As a member of the ANC's military wing, he was convicted of armed resistance to apartheid and sentenced to four life terms in 1964.

Mr Goldberg was the only white man to be convicted among 10 people on trial for their lives alongside Nelson Mandela.

Huge steps had been made in education, health care and the development of the civil service since the end of apartheid, Mr Goldberg said.

"We have undoubtedly made huge progress, [but] we have more progress to make," he told John Pienaar. in an exclusive interview on BBC Radio 5 live.

Image copyright Keystone
Image caption Apartheid enforced a racial hierarchy privileging white South Africans
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Goldberg said that life in South Africa was better today despite its faults

The economy is three times larger than it was when apartheid came to an end in 1994, he said.

"Corruption is a problem. I personally believe, and I will say it publicly as I do in South Africa, the members of the ANC need to renew the leadership from top to bottom.

"I'm not going to name names, because it's a problem throughout, from national, provincial and local government level."

The ANC veteran told the Pienaar's Politics programme that "a definite attempt" was now required by ANC members to say "enough is enough" and instigate a leadership clearout.

"Let us focus on the needs of our people, not on your needs as new political leaders with access to power, and therefore wealth and personal enrichment, which robs us, in a way, of our freedom," he said.

Denis Goldberg

  • Served 22 years in Pretoria's whites-only Central Prison
  • "Being black and involved [in the struggle] meant you had the support of many people and it meant you got to be part of a community. Being white and involved meant being isolated," he once said
  • Strongly critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and its warm relations with the apartheid government despite Israel interceding on his behalf
  • Worked for the ANC's London office from 1985 to 1994
  • Widowed twice, he now lives in Cape Town

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