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ANC swallows itself by the tail as a way of getting rid of parasitic corruption

Rebellious behaviour has always been a feature of what is now an ailing party that lacks the capacity to contain the ambitions of dangerous men and women.
Like someone who has fallen ill but refuses to get help, the party would rather remain sick and continue to decline, says the author. Image: Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters

Within the ANC, there have been leaders who are known for not wanting to press hard during debates about the state of the party, organisational renewal and, at times, internal conflict due factionalism – and one leader in particular.

Instead this leader avoids confrontation and any risk of getting wounded by an unyielding opponent in a power struggle for the soul of the party.

In particular, and having seen what happens to dissenting voices, this leader seeks refuge in lying low and proceeds to enact minor reforms because he dreads confronting his comrades’ corrupt tendencies, corruption itself, and the parasitism that is eating away the party.

Most of all, this leader is terrified of what any attempt to address these issues will provoke.

The arguments in this article are attentive to the matter of parasitism, a practice where an individual or group in power exploits the resources meant to serve the people they are leading – crowning this parasitic practice by using the stolen wealth to create sinecures, maintain power and disburse the stolen resources to family and friends.

Read: Who will save the ANC from itself?

Wednesday (May 5) saw the ANC temporarily suspend the membership of its Secretary-General (SG) Ace Magashule with four important conditions that effectively prohibit him from:

  • Mobilising support through the structures of the organisation,
  • Representing the party on any forum,
  • Making public pronouncements on matters affecting the party, and
  • Carrying out his duties as SG.

This is a significant development for the ANC and in particular President Cyril Ramaphosa, who up until this moment has been perceived as embodying the leader mentioned at the onset of this column.

The step-aside rule must be understood as an action by a leader who, not wanting to directly confront the biggest problem afflicting the party – corruption, would rather opt for minor reforms enacted through resolutions taken by the collective.

For the disillusioned observer, the turmoil within the ANC might make for interesting developments, but the developments do not reveal anything new, nor do they signal a party that is undertaking organisational reform.

Quite the opposite – the ANC’s senior leaders are thoroughly frightened by the idea of party reform that would go against corruption, parasitism, cadre deployment and using leadership positions to self-enrich.


Further, this stance of fighting corruption within the organisation contradicts the modern political tradition of holding leaders accountable, be it at party or government level.

Over the years, it has become evident that successive leadership of the ANC would never risk punishing intransigent members who brought the party into disrepute. In fact, some became elevated to ever higher positions.

The rise of former president Jacob Zuma illustrates the capacity of ANC members to commit themselves to individuals of great ambition who serve a particular purpose despite a cloud of allegations hanging above them.

They tie themselves and are unyielding in their support for a particular leader. This in turn emboldens the latter to equally refuse to yield an inch against any disciplinary processes.

Magashule’s alleged refusal to accept his suspension is a case in point, so is the supposed letter written by him that rejects his suspension and proceeds to suspend Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the ANC.

Rebellious behaviour has always been a feature in the ANC, but over the years it has become common by leaders who occupy senior positions within the party. This is made possible by a feature that I have repeatedly emphasised in my columns – that of an ailing party that lacks the mechanism and capacity to contain the ambitions of dangerous men and women.

In a sense, it is the ANC’s own body politic that has made rebelling against its decisions a habit and given credibility to individuals and factions who undermine its rules.

Poetic justice

It must be seen as poetic justice by former president Thabo Mbeki and his unwavering supporters, who for years were accused by their comrades of dividing the party and possibly being the catalyst to its disintegration.

It turns out it is those comrades, many of whom are now National Executive Committee and National Working Committee members, who will undoubtedly be responsible for breaking up the ANC with their resolutions, reforms and factional battles for power.

There is no doubt that the suspended (for now) Magashule will go toe-to-toe against individuals he deems responsible for his suspension.

Make no mistake, he has powerful support in the form of influential leaders behind the scene as well as a few branches and even regions.

If a lesson can be drawn from this reflection, it is that the ANC is the sick man that refuses to get help and would rather remain sick and continue to decline – for the greater suffering of South Africa.

While the step-aside rule and current suspension of Magashule does not suggest a party changing for the better, it points to a snake that at this point is eating itself.

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Cut that serpent into multiple bits and put in on the stake to eat.

The root cause of all the problems in South Africa are:
1) When the Dutch arrived in 1652 they encountered people who were still living in the Iron Age. By contrast, the first University in
the Netherlands opened in Leiden in 1575. Bologna in 1088 was the first in Europe.
2) There was an obvious difference in development between the Europeans and Africans. Could this development gap be overcome?
3) Possibly, but in SA the population grew from 15,2m in 1955 to 59m in 2020 with the vast majority being black. That is growth of 43,8m people or 288%.
4) The tax base in SA is simply too small to lift millions of people out of poverty. 5.8% of the population is paying approximately 92% of all personal tax and they are also paying about 85% of all VAT. Mathematically, it is impossible.
5) These are gigantic problems and the ANC is not able to solve them. In fact it is getting worse.
6) Everything else is just noise.

Please don’t confuse me with your fact tendencies.

Breeding is what the indigent are famous for !! Caring for their kids – not so much.

” ..the ANC’s senior leaders are thoroughly frightened by the idea of party reform that would go against corruption, parasitism, cadre deployment and using leadership positions to self-enrich.”

We, the uninitiated would prefer to read the names of those reviled here instead of being left in the dark. Or are you too nervous?

There is nothing new here, and the ANC is not unique in its criminality and plunder. The thinking man knows that the perversion of the law enabled the looting by the ANC. When voters give power to those individuals among them who endeavor to plunder the shared resources and allow them to appoint the judiciary, the prosecuting authorities, the investigators and the police, then the legal framework will protect plunder and assist and enable criminality.

“Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property. But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain–and since labor is pain in itself–it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor. It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds”. – Frederic Bastiat “The Law”. 1850.

The ANC made two fatal errors.

1 In 1949 it decided to operate outside of the Rule of Law. Understandable as it was in the face of apartheid and colonialism, it meant that, once you cross that line, you don’t know where to stop.

2 in 1994 instead of becoming a “broad church” in order to win and cling to power, it should have unbundled into its natural groupings — communists, nationalists, liberals,free marketeers, unionists and so on — and joined with non-ANC parties supporting those views. Instead it formed into a money-grabbing sydicate with no more values or principles than a mafia family.

If the ANC swallowed its own tail I do recommend large quantities of Underberg digestive , otherwise involuntary vomiting will occur.

End of comments.



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