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Outdated political ideology is the sick man of this country

Essential reading for the ANC as it prepares for its policy conference later this month.

Raise a hand if you don’t mind being retrenched or paying extra tax. Raise both hands if you believe the recent news of recession will not affect your life, or if you’re not worried about the state of national political discourse and where it’s leading the economy.

No hands? I thought not. Given the opportunity, most of us would tell our leaders what to fix and how to do it. 

The political realities of South Africa Inc playing out before our eyes are painful to watch. Yet we dare not look away or ignore that 23 years of ruling power has reduced the once-loved and promising ANC to impotence. 

That’s because the former powerful vehicle of change has become riddled with corruption, patronage, factionalism, infighting and greed. The organisation is dying at the hands of liberators who have been so consumed by self-enrichment that they no longer care about SA’s economic realities. 

Making things worse, many within the ruling elite have clung to their archaic ideological identity and are unable to respond to the fast changing globalised world. Their economic policies are adding to Joe Soap’s struggles and are fuelling palpable social unrest. 

It seems to everyone else that the elite have become increasingly irritated with the poor’s cry for food, shelter and jobs. This is the tragic and heartbreaking paradox of ANC politics: a few newly rich men and women, at the expense of failing public health and education and a new generation of black Africans that are less skilled than their parents.

Worse, the ANC’s “ideology of development” hurts the working class whose well-being it is meant to promote. 

It was never going to be easy, but the ANC is utterly failing to tackle the structural challenges they inherited from the apartheid government. As government they’ve failed to keep their promise of bettering the lives of the poor, creating shared prosperity and adding to the wealth of the country. Instead they are presiding over a near-stagnant economy with chronic unemployment, a rising public wage bill, a social grant too far stretched, a small tax base and growing population – all balanced on the weakest economy since democracy. 

Perhaps more troubling is how a governing clique that is feeling its own decline, needs to reassure itself through meaningless ideology dressed as new solutions. They refute any suggestion that most of their policies pander to socialist ideologies that have few, if any, successful working examples.

I have a vested interest as a voting citizen of this country. Like it or not, the upcoming ANC policy conference will have an impact on you and me. It will determine the new/old/rehashed policy direction they will take not just as a political party but in their governing capacity too. 

I take it as my civic duty, or my public service act, to suggest that ahead of the conference delegates read and consider William Easterly’s The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economist’s Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics.

Oddly and surprisingly, I can’t think of any other book as relevant to the debate on how to reset this rainbow nation’s economic trajectory. By that I mean how to address structural inequality, poverty and unemployment.

I believe Easterly’s book could provide many a political party, policymaker and politician with a probing survey of the ideas behind so many failed development policies tried in Latin America over at least five decades. For the record, Easterly makes his case against what he calls “the ideology of development” with quick-witted writing that doesn’t over intellectualise. It is pleasantly easy to read. 

I am always astounded at how many senior leaders within the Tripartite Alliance use Latin American nations as an example to South Africa. For 50 years or more, development within these countries has been held hostage by all sorts of frustrating ideas and plans aimed at attaining development. It seems our politicians have a hard time understanding this, and the ruling elite are more impervious to it than most. 

Archaic liberators, their ideologies and politics are the sick men of this country and they refuse to get better. The key lesson from Easterly’s book is that the ideological model of the Soviet Union, that we in Africa and Latin America so admire, has not delivered the results imagined.

“Criticise us where we go wrong or fail, but offer solutions too so that we can improve,” ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe has said many a time in his media briefings. 

Well here’s a start Mr Secretary General, but don’t take my word for it. Read the book yourself.

Read more from Mamokgethi:

Quarterly labour force figures paint a grim picture

SA’s unemployed youth will soon rise up and rightfully so

When politics fails the economy, it condemns the nation to fail

If you don’t invest in your country, why should outsiders?

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Very well written Mamokgethi with a powerful start to the article.

It has taken a mere 23 years for the ANC to knock the Nationalist party off from their Ivory Tower of Satanic memories and replace that podium with themselves for the damage done to the people of South Africa. In the 23 years the ANC should have been the shining stars and the example to look up to and follow, but they have plundered the country into recession, uncontrollable debt, ineffective health services, an education system that is in ICU, a slow and questionable Judicial system, a specialist police force which acts with fear and favor in the states benefit, the highest murder rate in the world, uncontrollable crime, State Approved Corruption Schemes, Daily expose’s of wrongdoing, non stop examples of greed through fear, intimidation and power, and a state of mistrust by South Africa’s citizens in everything the government says and does.

In the race to the gravy train and the feeding trough, the ANC have lost their moral compass and unfortunately it will not be found until their is a complete change of the guard, from top to bottom. The very policies they say they will implement are designed around greed for themselves and will remain hurtful to the citizens until all the leeches have been removed and eliminated from the ANC fold.

Until then, question everything you see and hear that comes from the ANC direction.

23 years ago, most of these ANC Ministers had never run a bath, how did we expect them to run a country!!?? But that’s what a revolution brings, and time and time again the revolutionary’s catchword “Freedom” gets the uneducated majority shackled even more! We expect them to do some “essential reading”?? Hardly bloody likely, and even if they could understand what they were reading, they would need to care!!

The only thing that still surprises me is that people are still surprised/shocked/disappointed that this happens. In Africa.

And so much of this has happened before, and I guess will happen again.

“But here’s some advice, boy. Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That’s why they’re called revolutions.”

― Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

“Steal five dollars and you’re a common thief. Steal thousands and you’re either the government or a hero.”
― Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

Are our responses being censored again?


Probably…all media houses in RSA practice self censorship…freedom to positively express is a no no, even on MW…one could rightly think that MW puppeteers are the ruling ANC.

Love the article.
Now if only the old men would read it and take it to heart…

Read? Heart? C’mon

Exactly, more like -Redheart, one more please because I don’t have to stay awake in Parliament anyway!

Outdated feudal and tribal systems and outdated political ideology are the sick men of this continent.

The poor get conned by tribal chiefs, kings, feudal structures and the ‘talk socialist but steal your money’ type politicians.

Time to quote a bit of Bob Marley

“Them belly full but we hungry,
A hungry mob , is an angry mob”.

It means the elite are greedy for more, including the leaders. But those that a genuinely hungry will do what a mob will do.

Thanks MW and especially Ms Molopyane. A great piece. The closing paragraphs of Easterly’s book are enlightening. About governments protecting the rights of minority interest groups, private property ownership, in various forms – intellectually or physically, promoting private businesses and creating the right incentives for people to take and build individual economic freedom (within accepted norms) should be taught/explained to anyone inducted into our parliament on day 1 – before they are told where to find the toilets, free WiFi and free food.
Recent exposures of the political elite here and around the world have taught us one thing. The political elite are servants of the voters – ignore us and you burn. The economic elite are servants of the money in the hands of the voters – ignore us and you fold. Either a vicious or a provisioning circle? Choose? The rest of us are waiting.

The revolutionary ANC has failed miserably. Their souls are sold to greed and power. Riches gave them the false sense of security and made them arrogant and blind to the rising dissatisfaction of the people of South Africa and corruption within their own elite. Statements such as “the ANC will rule until Jesus returns”, “there is only one party that is working for the poor”, etc. is a testimony of their arrogance and illusion. The only question is do we have the leader that will rise up, develop and execute a turn around strategy?

Moral compass’s, corruption, nepotism aside, is any one of them, or collectively, capable of running an entity the size and magnitude of RSA!? The combination of education and democratic culture is lacking from top to bottom, it was a recipe for disaster from the beginning. Some will argue that the ANC’s governance was on the road to success, I’m not convinced, I think it was rolling along on built up momentum and had the worlds ignorant faith in them and booming economy to piggyback on! As I’ve said before, from Robben Island(or exile), do not pass go, straight to the Boardroom of Africa’s biggest entity – And know how to do the job, no chance Sir!

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