There are many challenges for ANC
Wracked by fracture and friction, the ruling party’s political health is in jeopardy
DEPRESSION of organisational disharmony and ideological disarray are among several worrying symptoms which warn of the ANC’s wane in wellbeing. Selfinflicted injury on the tender spine of factionalism, ineffective leadership and policy schizophrenia are causing fragility in the party which will weaken it ahead of the 2019 elections.
Unresolved leadership issues in the NorthWest and KwaZulu-Natal are sparking a crisis of credibility and inactivity within and beyond these two political geographies.
Speaking after the aborted ANC KZN conference at the weekend, ANC provincial coordinator Sihle Zikalala said: “It has transpired that there is a level of frustration from ANC members about what is alleged to be divisive interference from some leaders of the ANC at a national level who peddle divisions in the province.”
After the injurious December conference, the new leadership does not appear to be playing the role of faith healer in the ANC. Over the past few months the new national leadership has recalled political leaders, but the deeply rooted support for these political leaders cannot be recalled and this support is likely to thrive, not abate, in the lead up to 2019.
I recently decried a speech by DA leader Mmusi Maimane at Constitution Hill in May last year, in which he proclaimed that the
ANC was dead and that he was in mourning for what was, in his words, “once a proud liberation movement”.
I dismissed his words then, as I do today as symptomatic of the unhealthy political pulse and ideological deficiency of his own party and I scorned his soothsaying as the empty speak of a man who will mercifully never be president of South Africa.
But today, unless one subscribes to the hypocritical oath of political praise singing, it is crystal clear that the heightened friction and fracture in the ANC in the early Ramaphosa era is a clear signal of a party whose health and longevity appears to be in jeopardy.
The party’s terminal epidemic of making a scapegoat of former president Jacob Zuma, with all its spite, rather than focusing with all its might on meaningful and sustainable solutions for real societal ills – poverty, inequality and landlessness – will inevitably lead to the demise, not rise, of the party.
The country is in critical care and the removal of Jacob Zuma as president was no remedy at all. The ANC’s practice of bypassing the fundamental transformation and reconstruction of the racially contorted power relations and interplay in the economy and society of South Africa will be its death-nail.
The orientation towards political mirage rather than political mastery will, in the end, be the downfall of the ANC. And yet, in seeming oblivion, the ANC remains fixed on the expedient and spent craft of mirage and mythology, a political alchemy spooned up and feverishly devoured by the most desperate in society, but which is little more than a cruel placebo in the hopeless harshness of every day, real-life poverty.
The new dawn, like the rainbow nation gives no real breath or sustenance to transformation or black liberation because it is a sponsored life-support to the ever-greedy engorge of white privilege.
The rainbow nation, a masterful mythical creation, manipulated the national psyche of South Africans with such cunning that many bought into the absurd, morally bankrupt notion that South Africa could be magically transformed from an epicentre of crimes against humanity into a paradise of goodwill between oppressor and oppressed overnight.
And seemingly we are still under the spell of this whitecraft. The new dawn, the remixed, contemporary version of the rainbow nation, is now in play. The new dawn may be the new guiding light of South Africa’s political and business elite but for most ordinary South Africans, the pitch black of poverty will continue to be the morning after.
And already the promise of a new dawn, which has yet to rise, is jaded and fading fast.
Economists point to the fact that the economy shrunk in the first quarter of this year 2.2%, the worst in nine years and that value added tax and petrol are at alltime highs.
An ANC statement on September 16, 1993, entitled “ANC demands suspension of petrol price increase” read as follows “the illconsidered and uncaring decision to increase the petrol price only confirms the government does not have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately, to make ends meet, at heart”.
It is a painful reflection of the ANC and a shameful indictment of its current governance. Statistics SA reported this week that retail sales growth was far lower than expected, as a consequence of VAT and petrol increases.
Newspaper reports have been ablaze over the past few days on how business confidence has slumped after the short-lived business optimism in the first few weeks of the Ramaphosa administration.
But the “Ramaphosa-inspired upswing”, was based on the masterfully created myth of a political superhero with a massive stroke of winning policies and organisational support.
The illusionary whizz of Ramaphobia is already yesterday’s news. But structural poverty, inequality and landlessness remain today’s reality. Will this be the political obituary of an ANC led post-democratic South Africa?