JOHANNESBURG – Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng reminded South Africans of OR Tambo’s selflessness and warned about people who love “positions and money”.
Mogoeng delivered the Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture on Thursday and asked the audience what would Tambo do or say in the difficult times that the country finds itself in.
“He [Tambo] was a practising lawyer, and his work was structured in such a way not so much as to make money, but to fight and advance the liberation struggle of his political political party, the [African National Congress] ANC,” Mogoeng said to a loud applause.
“He abandoned the practice, he could easily have said he has a family and has to look after himself, but went out there to tell the world about what the ANC stood for, all that was in the best interests of his people.”
Mpgoeng asked how many South Africans would rather die than be part of “a corrupt machinery”.
“The love for money and positions is dangerous…it is an incurable disease,” he said.
“We need to be Oliver Tambos…but the problem is human beings live positions. Be afraid of any leader who will do anything to become a leader. You can be a good and effective leader without being in a position.”
Leaders such as Tambo and Nelson Mandela were functional leaders, not positional leaders, Mogoeng said. They were ready to give up their positions to the next successor.
“Please stop the insatiable hunger for money…it will drive you to kill.”
Thursday marked the birthday of Oliver Reginald Tambo, one of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle heroes. He lived in the community of Wattville, Ekurhuleni with his wife, Adelaide Tambo, from 1948 until he went into exile in 1960, and then on his return to South Africa in 1991. Tambo served as ANC president from 1967 to 1991.