A persistent problem for this beautiful country is a ruling party that is seemingly oblivious to the immorality that taints government and affects South Africa’s reputation – a country so promising, yet failing spectacularly.
Therefore, pardon this article for being attentive to the ANC, but its internal squabbles affect the social, economic and political future of this country.
As commonly observed, the decline and regression of the ANC is playing out not just in public but at government level. Over the weekend (August 29 and 30), the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) met in one of the highly contested meetings in order to produce some sort of solution or salve to soothe its self-inflicted wounds.
It must’ve felt like poetic justice for former president Thabo Mbeki (in office from 1999 to 2008), who must be watching and thanking time for vindicating him. At the height of the unity to oust him, the banded-together group, including the ANC’s alliance partners, now currently divided, claimed he was going to cause the demise of the ANC.
Ironically, were there to be a split in the party, it will be attributed to current President Cyril Ramaphosa and his supporters, and not to the putrid stench of decay from within or the entitled comrades who demand it is ‘their time to eat.’
As things stand now, the battle is about one faction seeking to displace another in the fight not so much for the good of the party, but for control of resources or who gets to steal more.
Like the antagonist in a great work of fiction, the ANC contains within itself the seed of its own downfall, with greed as its primary motivator. The extent to which the NEC can solve the current crisis is therefore limited, because it is the cause of the very problems as evident in the top five division that has caused the members of the NEC to take sides.
Flailing threads …
Another stunning irony of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ collective within the party’s powerful groupings is that they no longer have a common enemy – and now that the ‘Eight Days in September’ (from the title of Frank Chikane’s book on the days leading to the Mbeki’s removal from office) have long passed, nothing holds them together anymore.
What the NEC made clear at its meeting last weekend, without saying so, is that Ramaphosa and ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule cannot both be in the same power structure; they cannot both survive this political battle.
Even more curious is how Ramaphosa survived the alleged Tony Yengeni-led move to unseat him.
Two reason comes to mind.
First, those against Ramaphosa are not as united as they assumed and removing an ANC president (unlike Mbeki, who was not president of the ANC at the time) is not an easy feat and would have required a special congress.
Second, the timing was off – a move against a country’s president during a global pandemic, especially after said president had established a personal protective equipment (PPE) tender corruption scandal investigation was far a greater risk.
Now, the workings of the ANC mechanisms and internal processes are a complex thing for they are often riddled with decisions of appeasement instead of true action against those who bring the organisation into disrepute.
We know that Magashule has been called to appear before the ANC’s integrity commission (IC), while Ramaphosa proactively made contact with the commission and will subject himself to its questioning. The latter is a move seen by insiders as throwing down the gauntlet to former and other current top leaders – in an ‘If you have nothing to hide, did no wrong, or are not engaged in corrupt practices manner, subject yourself to the IC’ kind of way. However, everything must be taken with a pinch of salt when it comes to the ANC, for politics of the stomach and survival are at play.
We also know from the murmurings within the party corridors that the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority are circling around certain members of the leadership.
You will do well to remember that among the party’s new efforts to tackle corruption is that if an individual is being investigated, they must step aside from their position until such a process is complete.
Can leopards change their spots?
Unfortunately for the country that is led by this ANC, this move may come a little too late – those who work for politicians will tell you that their principals are foremost concerned about themselves: their actions are first about self-preservation, with their role as a servant to the public an afterthought.
The latest NEC meeting revealed nothing new. Instead it affirmed what is already known: the once-liberation movement has feet of clay.
In this and in everything else, and when all is said and done, the internal contradictions and struggles mark a great reversal for the country.
The danger of ANC hegemony is bad government and, for good measure, corruption and greed.
This cannot be South Africa’s future. To have this party running government hurts most of all the people whose wellbeing they represent, now and for the next generation.