ANC looks at the state of our na­tion

CityPress - - Voices -

A good so­ci­ety does not emerge “ripe and ready for har­vest­ing at the point of trans­fer of power”. Hav­ing cap­tured the beach­head in 1994, the [ANC] sought to trans­form the state. This led to the forg­ing of a vi­brant mul­ti­party democ­racy based on a Con­sti­tu­tion that en­joys the al­le­giance and sup­port of the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of South Africans.

How­ever, weak­nesses in the state have hin­dered the speed at which so­cial change can be im­ple­mented and the ex­tent of mass in­volve­ment still leaves much to be de­sired. There has been progress in forg­ing a sense of na­tion­hood and some mea­sure of ac­cul­tur­a­tion. But dis­par­i­ties in spa­tial dy­nam­ics [es­sen­tially, that races and classes still live sep­a­rately] con­spired to un­der­mine this.

Ri­val­ries among the world’s big pow­ers con­tinue. There are on­go­ing at­tempts to un­der­mine the re­la­tions China is build­ing with de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

In the past 20 years of our demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion, we have seen an in­creased growth of trade re­la­tions be­tween our coun­try and the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China.

China-South Africa trade and in­vest­ment have in­creased quantitatively and qual­i­ta­tively.

Africa’s col­lec­tive GDP, which re­cently was more or less equal to that of Brazil, will al­most dou­ble by the mid­dle of the 2020s. So will con­sumer spend­ing. The cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture deficit that the con­ti­nent is suf­fer­ing from is a boon.

Poverty and in­equal­ity are set to in­flame pas­sions even as progress is made to deal with them. This is the flammable so­cial tin­der the demo­cratic state has to man­age. What seems to be new, with ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for state le­git­i­macy, is how deeply en­trenched cor­rupt prac­tices [driven by a few state em­ploy­ees, public rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the pri­vate sec­tor] and ar­ro­gance by some in lead­er­ship po­si­tions have be­come, which are di­rectly af­fect­ing so­cial de­liv­ery.

There is clear in­tent and se­ri­ous ac­tion to deal with cor­rup­tion. But when there is repet­i­tive poor man­age­ment of the al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and pa­tron­age in lead­er­ship ech­e­lons, the le­git­i­macy of the state and the polity is un­der­mined.

Over the past few years, a gen­eral im­pres­sion of sys­temic cor­rup­tion has been cre­ated, in­clud­ing un­savoury de­vel­op­ments in state-owned en­ter­prises, strange machi­na­tions in se­cu­rity and tax author­i­ties and un­con­vinc­ing re­sponses to ad­mo­ni­tions for ac­count­abil­ity by rel­e­vant con­sti­tu­tional bod­ies.

When the gen­eral im­pres­sion [of cor­rup­tion] can be di­rectly linked to poor ca­pac­ity in state agen­cies, the high turnover of man­agers’ pa­tron­ages, cover-ups and ap­point­ments that defy any ra­tio­nal logic, the state starts to pro­gres­sively lose the con­fi­dence of the peo­ple.

Fac­tion­al­ism and “money pol­i­tics” were iden­ti­fied as some of the crit­i­cal weak­nesses sap­ping the rev­o­lu­tion­ary core of [the ANC]. Fur­ther, many acts of cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment de­rive from party dy­nam­ics and sim­i­lar chal­lenges af­flict al­lied or­gan­i­sa­tions in var­i­ous cen­tres of power.

The num­ber of peo­ple who be­lieved race re­la­tions were im­prov­ing had dropped to about 30% [of a sur­veyed group] in 2012 [from highs of 60% and more]. The same ap­plies to the con­fi­dence “in a happy fu­ture” for all races.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by the In­sti­tute for Jus­tice and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, the de­sire for a united South Africa has also de­clined.

South African so­ci­ety is de­fi­cient in value sys­tems. Chief among these are val­ues that en­cour­age “greed, crass ma­te­ri­al­ism and con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion. These are ten­den­cies that go be­yond the nec­es­sary spirit of entrepreneurship, am­bi­tion, dar­ing, com­pe­ti­tion and ma­te­rial re­ward that are in­her­ent to a mar­ket-based sys­tem and per­haps to hu­man de­vel­op­ment in gen­eral.” [The quote is from the Man­gaung con­fer­ence res­o­lu­tions].

The ruc­tions at univer­si­ties around is­sues of cur­ricu­lums, con­tent, in­sti­tu­tional cul­ture and sym­bols are a welcome re­flec­tion of young peo­ple tak­ing the ini­tia­tive to ad­dress a patent gap in the un­fold­ing process of so­cial change.

On the other hand, such con­tes­ta­tions also high­light the weak­nesses of the move­ment in lead­ing ide­o­log­i­cal de­bates and in fa­cil­i­tat­ing a “cul­tural re­nais­sance”.

The se­ries of crises at the public broad­caster re­flect a lack of lead­er­ship, ac­count­abil­ity and [good] man­age­ment.

In con­fronting the crises, more em­pha­sis has been placed on re­port­ing pro­cesses with­out a cor­re­spond­ing at­ten­tion to hold­ing those re­spon­si­ble to ac­count for the fi­nan­cial and or­gan­i­sa­tional mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion that has brought the public broad­caster into the crises.

This sit­u­a­tion has pre­vailed be­cause in­sti­tu­tional struc­tures re­spon­si­ble for over­sight have not been ef­fec­tive. There has also been an over­lap in over­sight roles en­abling the public broad­caster to fo­rum-shop.

The trans­for­ma­tion of the SABC from be­ing an apartheid mouth­piece to be­ing a cred­i­ble public broad­cast­ing in­sti­tu­tion [is welcome].

In re­cent years, the SABC has played a very im­por­tant role in the na­tional and lo­cal elec­tions, thereby strength­en­ing our demo­cratic dis­course.


BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND A pro­tester holds up the SA flag dur­ing a ser­vice-de­liv­ery protest. The ANC’s in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion doc­u­ments ad­mit that cor­rupt prac­tices and ar­ro­gance by some in lead­er­ship po­si­tions are di­rectly af­fect­ing so­cial de­liv­ery


BRISK TRADE One of sev­eral China malls in SA


REC­ON­CIL­I­A­TION SA still has to bridge its racial di­vide



A beg­gar on the

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