Fight to head the ANC intensifies

Lindiwe Sisulu is seen as positioning herself as a leader of an opposing wing of the ruling party.
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Image: GCIS

South Africa’s justice minister fired the latest salvo in a war of words between those who want President Cyril Ramaphosa to remain the ruling party’s head and those who want him ousted in December at a conference where its members will vote on senior leadership positions.

Minister Ronald Lamola, a Ramaphosa ally, unleashed a verbal attack on Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who is seen as positioning herself as a leader of an opposing wing of the African National Congress.

He was responding to Sisulu’s recent criticism that the nation’s top judges are “mentally colonised.” Lamola said her comments could not be passed off as debate but as an attack on “the very institution that is to uphold the constitution” and goes against the grain of everything that the ANC wanted to change before the nation’s first democratic elections in 1994.

Read: Sisulu didn’t criticise the judiciary, she insulted it

Sisulu appears to be aligning herself with the wing of the party loyal to former President Jacob Zuma. That group has opposed Ramaphosa’s attempts to implement political and economic reforms and crack down on graft, which plagued Zuma’s time in office.

Key to Ramaphosa’s drive to renew the party after nine years of scandal under Zuma’s tenure is respect for the rule of law and the rebuilding of the institutions that underpin the constitution. Persistent attacks on the judiciary and a drumbeat of corruption scandals under Zuma undermined business confidence.

Zuma faces a trial over corruption charges linked to a 1990s arms deal and was last year sentenced by the Constitutional Court to 15 months in jail for refusing to testify at an inquiry into state corruption that the government said saw R500 billion stolen during his rule. His imprisonment sparked riots that triggered the worst violence since the end of apartheid, with more than 350 people killed. He is currently appealing an order to return to jail after his release on medical parole was ruled invalid.

While no one has formally announced the intention to run for party president in December, Ramaphosa is expected to seek a second term.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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It is the age-old story – the clash between the political systems of “rule of law” and “rule of man”.

The rule of law is inherent to the system of individual freedom and independence characterized by property rights and the private ownership of the means of production. This sophisticated system incentivizes peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation between strangers. This is the ultimate democracy where every man is the king of his castle and the law protects his castle, he does not need an army to do so. The consumer enjoys an abundance of alternatives and has freedom of choice. Entrepreneurs enslave themselves to consumers as part of a competitive process to provide the best product at the best price. The consumer is king.

The alternative system known as collectivism comprises the sharing of the means of production. This is counter to human nature because individuals tend to demand the right to control the fruits of their labour. Therefore, collectivism is impossible without oppression by demagogues and dictators. This is the rule of man. In this system, the dictator is the king and the citizens are slaves. There is no mutually beneficial cooperation between strangers and everybody wants to plunder everyone else. Consumers suffer a lack of alternatives and poverty is endemic. Now everyone needs private security to protect his person and closest belongings.

This is the fight within the ANC. One half carries the flag for the Rule of Law. The other half carries the banner of dictatorship and oppression. The voter who has to make the call does not realize what the consequences will be. The outcome of this fight depends on the position which the average voter occupies on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. With 50% unemployed, the odds are terrible.

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