There are many chal­lenges for ANC

Wracked by frac­ture and fric­tion, the rul­ing party’s po­lit­i­cal health is in jeop­ardy

Afro Voice (Western Cape) - - Comment - KIM HELLER Kim Heller is a writer and so­cial com­men­ta­tor

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?

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