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Who will save the ANC from itself?

And in so doing emancipate the state and empower participatory democracy?
A culture of individualism exists within the party. Whether its secretary-general steps aside at the end of April or not will be telling, says the author. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South Africa faces two major problems today: a governing party that is devoid of leaders who embody the principles of a government of the people by the people and thus believe that to lead is to serve; and the rise of populism within the ANC, led by powerful individuals who hold sway over government leaders.

The true value of democracy

In his classic book Liberalism Against Populism: A Confrontation Between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice (WH Freeman, 1982), political scientist William H Riker says “the true value of democracy is to serve as a sanitary precaution protecting us against an abuse of power”.

“It enables us to get rid of a government and try to replace it by a better one.”

This may be true for many countries, but for South Africa participatory democracy equates to the ruling ANC being kept in power by voters who continue to support the party despite its lack of accountability, the self-serving behaviour of its leaders, and its failure to deliver a better life for all.

This means the value of democracy espoused by Riker will not materialise anytime soon because there is simply no willingness from South Africans to replace this government with a better one.

Struggle branding

In ‘Twenty years of South African democracy: Citizen views of human rights, governance and the political system’, political scientist Susan Booysen shows that the despite the perceptions of communities that the political class is failing them, and disillusionment with local representatives, citizens remain loyal to the ANC because they deem it as working better at national government.

Booysen notes that this has emboldened the party to develop a post-apartheid brand that is centred on monopolising liberation such that it “delivered the country from apartheid”.

Parenthetically, I note that I have yet to meet an ANC leader in government who doesn’t think their party is entitled to govern for eternity.

However, it is not those who walk the corridors of power in Pretoria we should be worried about – we should be very concerned, rather, about the unelected in government but elected at party level individuals who are at the centre of the power that shapes who becomes the future ANC leader.

Turf war

The current factional battle for control of the party, one that has seen the introduction of a step-aside resolution for those facing criminal charges, means the war extends beyond the current President Cyril Ramaphosa versus ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule row.


Moreover, it had been ongoing within the ANC even before the (former president Jacob) Zuma years, where powerful actors who exert growing authority on those with government roles do so in such a way that it filters to national and local government.

Not only has this trend led to the rise of populism within the governing party, it has also created space for said actors to undermine democracy.

Individuals who have a substantial effect on who gets into government have entrenched a culture where political actors in government are more concerned with individual benefits than the public at large.

Whenever there is an organisational turf war underway within the ANC, a sense of concern must stir within us in as to how such a fight will affect our fledgling democracy.

Opening up social and economic problems, factional battles are grounded in populism and ideologues that are incapable of addressing the two persistent and ingrained problems – that much is evident.

And evidence there is.

We have seen example after example of how each ANC congress produces resolutions and programmes that are socialist and/or egalitarian-oriented yet are drifting apart or ill-suited for tackling South Africa’s challenges.

The party itself is a casualty

It might be that the centre is not holding within the ANC, however it is also true that the party is evolving – and not for its own advancement.

Today, under pressure to maintain their positions, stay on the gravy train, and maintain the ‘It’s our time to eat’ mantra, the tentacles of populist political leaders has taken hold.

In failing to groom future leaders who are about servitude and advancing democracy, elders within the ANC have instilled a culture of individualism, position and power above the greater good.

This has led to the party being captured by people who have become exceedingly rich and powerful through shady deals and alleged corrupt practices.

It was last Monday (March 29) that we heard Ramaphosa’s announcement that party members facing criminal charges had 30 days to step aside or face suspension.

Ironically, even as the 30-day countdown for Magashule to step aside continues, supporters on either side claim to be fighting for the integrity of the party, and to save the party.

But who will save South Africa from them?

If Magashule does not step aside at the end of the month, will the party charge him?

What will become of the top six? And where does this leave those who support Magashule, which includes key individuals within the national executive committee of the ANC?

If Magashule emerges victorious, where does this leave the ANC president?

Ultimately it does not matter which group of leaders prevails – I remain unconvinced that any of them can save the ANC or change the current trajectory of their beloved movement.

Looking to them to safeguard our democracy by putting the country above personal gain is a tall ask.

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With reference to the notes / sub headings in the above article:
(1)”Booysen notes that this has emboldened the party to develop a post-apartheid brand that is centred on monopolising liberation such that it “delivered the country from apartheid”.
(2)”Individuals who have a substantial effect on who gets into government have entrenched a culture where political actors in government are more concerned with individual benefits than the public at large.” and
(3)”This has led to the party being captured by people who have become exceedingly rich and powerful through shady deals and alleged corrupt practices”

The headings sums up the total mess that the anc has lead sa into – for a split second when one forget about political parties, all i can say is that Nelson Mandela would have been deeply disappointed in the anc’s achievements (if any) and standards in the the past 20+ years. For sure the deplorable state was not what he had in mind for sa – but now the damage is done by a currently totally incompetent anc – nothing to brag about or write home about – infights in the anc is the party’s eroding cancer – anc comes first, we’ll think about sa and its citizens very, very much later, probably too late

Just disband now. The damage is done.

You write: “…the value of democracy will not materialise because there is simply no willingness to replace this government with a better one.” The Nats always used to say “one man, one vote, once only”. I guess then they were right since the result is the same, no matter how many elections we have, only one party will rule forever.

Too much rot. The “stalwarts” and the recognized names from the past all need to go. They just keep moving them around portfolio’s like they are masters at what they do BUT they fail. Ask Tina

The only hope is that ordinary decent ANC supporters (yes there are) take back their branches and thereby the NEC and cadre deployment.

Zuma and Ace captured the country by capturing the branches by way of fake members or at best paid-for members co-etched into voting as instructed.

Our reality is that 1.2m ANC branch members run this country. Not the 16m-odd people that voted for the ANC.

It is that simple.

Taking back the branches will however get ugly and potentially get violent.

It cannot be SAVED!

Its in a POVERTY trap, and no effort to restore any credibility will help.

They all stole.

No one can save the ANC from itself as they are unredeemable and all tainted by corruption and now crimes against humanity.

I say this with no fear and no favour, the entire organisation has to go, no matter how many elections we have the ANC will and want to rule until Jesus comes, that is a fact. We have the tripartite alliance that unanimously supports the ANC, then we have the infamous youth league, then we have Sascoc at the various universities, then we have ward counsellors in local areas, then we have DG’s and DDG’s in the provincial government, then we have communities in the ANC stronghold and ANC runs townships. Let us not forget MM’s, Mayors, DM’s, etc.

With all the above how on earth can we collapse this organisation to its fullest, we will have to penetrate every area they govern even that will not be enough. Bite the Head of the snake. To be honest I would rather have Donald Trump as president here because then I know everyone will get fired.

The entire organisation has to go, s bad as its sounds the whole organisation must go. We have a serious problem in SA, it’s only with time when things will literally implode, EWC, Regulation 28, Emigration Tax, VAT, CGT, EDT, Sugar Tax, Carbon Tax, Digital Tax, Import Duty Tax, the list is endless. If taxpayers like myself can constantly pay my taxes so can we pay for a consistent State? We have to get what we pay for. I can go live in Sandton or Camps Bay or Clifton (I wish…lol). What is this of redistributing wealth when the very same wealth you redistribute is rotting before your eyes? Scandinavian countries and Nordic countries are always amongst the biggest foreign donors for social projects, the secret is the citizenship and the value the State returns back to the citizens. If I pay 70-75% taxes then surely children get decent schooling, medical care, safety and security, access to adequate housing etc. The citizens do not mind paying extremely high taxes but the basic needs are taken care of that is why they can take on huge social projects and always meet the UN foreign donor target. The problem is that the masses want too much and do not deliver that same value in return, eg. give you housing, instead of learning to build and acquire skills we will have no housing problem if housing is provided by the State and citizens can pool community skills together and basically build their own homes, we will have no housing shortage. Secondly, the migration to the WC adds pressure on existing ratepayers and taxpayers, the province has to then run and provide basic services to people that are not based here. That creates a bottleneck in the supply of services. Thirdly if I want services to be provided I should d…mn well give back to the government too. Look at the actual housing beneficiaries, I worked for HS in Cpt, then look at those who receive. My first priority is the elderly I would not mind them actually being the very first people that need support above all else. The next is to cut grants if you have 2 babies (no grant). Look around you it is only a matter of time when these land invaders go to affluent areas. This one is long my humble apologies.


Keep fingers crossed

Please do not save the ANC

Ironically the ANC is hellbent on adoption of Feudal principals from their colonial enemies. Their goal is not to enrich the masses, but to control them and syphon from them. Very much in line with the current and historical tribal systems. Everything is to be owned by the “lords” or “kings” with the only difference being skin colour and, hence, should not be scrutnised or criticised.

The ANC should (at least) be two parties by now. But which faction will keep the ANC name-plate?

The ANC operates like a collection of gangsters , thieves and general incompetents of the lowest order. I think democracy cannot work if the majority of the voters have no idea how cause and effect is connected and just vote for their grants or to keep their overpaid government jobs.

The popular IQ test is a test for the skill of deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning skills are required to come to logical conclusions. Therefore, it is impossible for individuals of below-average IQ to make intelligent and logical choices because they are unable to connect the principles of cause and effect. Consider the average IQ of any population and see how it reflects in their everyday choices and manifests in the appearance of their environment, their level of employment and their economy.

In this sense, politics is a nationwide IQ test. When the ruling elite abuses their supporters through corruption and a lack of service delivery, it simply reflects on the mental capability of the voting majority. The fact that the ANC has a 60% majority, even though it has forsaken its principles long ago, indicates the level of mental capacity of its supporters.

This is how democracy allows a nation to turn its environment into a manifestation of its mindset. How does anybody improve this reality? Is this phenomenon fair or not? Well, as a natural phenomenon, this expression of mental capability can only be fair.

“Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process of reasoning from one or more statements to reach a logical conclusion. Deductive reasoning goes in the same direction as that of the conditionals, and links premises with conclusions.” Wikipedia

The political elite will rather have the ANC split, than to lose their place at the trough. It is a zero sum game for them, which they are willing to play. (JZ played the game and won, so everybody now wants to roll the dice.) If they win, they win big. If they lose (JM), there might still be enough stooges to give them a second chance somewhere else. The reason for behaviour such as this, is that they have nothing else of value to barter for the riches they covet. They can’t start a business, they can’t go back to a previous job or profession, for there is nothing to go back to. They have no other skills, or hidden potential. All they can do is politics. When you have so little to put on the table, that is when you are willing to do anything that will give you something for nothing. The same applies to their supporters, who are equally bereft of potential, education, skills or aptitude. They act like lotto players, who buys the ANC ticket, in the hope that some of the wealth their leaders amass, will trickle down to them. Because they value themselves so low, they are willing to accept t-shirt and all-day-pay, in exchange for their vote, which was gained through blood, sweat and tears. Unless we, as a nation, start improving ourselves and understand the value of our vote (and ourselves), unscrupulous politicians will keep on handing out horse droppings as figs and we will keep on holding out our hands for more. It is only when we put in the effort to improve ourselves, that politicians and political parties will stop holding sway over us.

And isn’t the ANC battling to pay its staff, provident fund contributions and debts – perhaps liquidation will save the ANC from having to determine who will save the ANC from itself.

The ANC must NOT be saved, it needs to be purged from the universe.

The ANC doesn’t need saving…. South Africa, the country, needs saving…

Seems like every one might be racist here. Look at all these opinions.

Businesses should run a country – not ideological morons voted in by morons with an IQ of 2.

End of comments.



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