CityPress - - Voices -

The con­di­tions that brought about the al­liance’s ex­is­tence are fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent, but this dif­fer­ence has never been suf­fi­ciently scru­ti­nised in the ANC and in the part­ners. In the strate­gic goal of creat­ing a united, non­ra­cial, non­sex­ist, demo­cratic and pros­per­ous coun­try, the ANC is sup­posed to lead the whole of so­ci­ety and not only an al­liance. The ANC was con­ceived as an or­gan of uni­fi­ca­tion and the lead­er­ship of a united peo­ple – not fac­tions in the form of a Tri­par­tite Al­liance. Our for­mi­da­ble lead­ers – Chief Al­bert Luthuli, OR Tambo and Nel­son Man­dela – were al­ways po­lit­i­cally con­scious of this re­spon­si­bil­ity and never failed, in their ac­tions and con­duct, to make this con­nec­tion. A weak and limp­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, as is the ANC to­day, is not able to lead the na­tion.

How, then, can it lead a gov­ern­ment? As Man­dela said, many rul­ing par­ties turn into “mere con­veyer belt[s] of gov­ern­ment de­ci­sions”. No one needs to be con­vinced about the truth of this to­day. The ANC has in­deed be­come the “con­veyer belt of gov­ern­ment de­ci­sions”. Go to any ANC na­tional or pol­icy con­fer­ence, or even an na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing, and ob­serve how state bu­reau­crats con­test for de­ci­sions. This aside, what is bla­tantly ev­i­dent is that there is no lead­er­ship and, un­til we ac­cept that we are the ar­chi­tects of our own mis­ery, we will con­tinue look­ing for scape­goats and point­ing fin­gers at “enemies” out­side the ANC.

With a new gen­er­a­tion that has no ex­pe­ri­ence of apartheid and racist rule, it is be­com­ing more dif­fi­cult to blame oth­ers for the wrongs of the ANC. South Africa needs com­mit­ted and de­ci­sive lead­er­ship by ex­am­ple, not lead­er­ship that preaches one thing and does the op­po­site. For many years, in count­less na­tional and pol­icy con­fer­ences, the mem­bers of the al­liance have dis­cussed their prob­lems and chal­lenges: ed­u­ca­tion, health, the cre­ation of de­cent work and sus­tain­able liveli­hoods, ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and land re­form, and the fight against crime and cor­rup­tion. But, with no proper strate­gies for im­ple­men­ta­tion (de­spite so-called strat­egy work­shops), no plan is ful­filled. The rec­om­mended short-term so­lu­tions that go with the oc­cu­pa­tion of of­fice are not im­ple­mented, or are eas­ily changed by newly ap­pointed ministers at na­tional level and by mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cils at pro­vin­cial level. When prom­ises turn out to be empty, the blame is laid on apartheid.

As long as the Tri­par­tite Al­liance ex­ists, there can be no res­o­lu­tion. Each al­liance part­ner has its own prob­lems. Ques­tions about the over­ar­ch­ing ob­jec­tive of the al­liance to­day lead only to more ques­tions. Why have two par­ties in one to con­fuse the masses? Why is the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) not con­test­ing elec­tions alone? Why is the ANC still a lib­er­a­tion move­ment, and who does it in­tend to lib­er­ate? Why is the SACP speak­ing of build­ing so­cial­ism through the ANC, and is the ANC not com­pro­mised by al­low­ing a party that has em­barked on the “road to build­ing so­cial­ism” to have ac­cess to state power through it? How can na­tion­build­ing take place un­der such cir­cum­stances?

The cli­mate in the ANC dis­cour­ages the ask­ing of such ques­tions. They, and many oth­ers, re­main hang­ing in the air. Not only is it in­tel­lec­tu­ally harm­ful and se­ri­ously dan­ger­ous to sti­fle crit­i­cal thought and ex­pres­sion – it also stops dis­cus­sions about na­tion-build­ing. If truth be told, there is noth­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary any longer in the Tri­par­tite Al­liance. Noth­ing but de­gen­er­a­tion. If an or­gan­i­sa­tion fails so dis­mally to ar­gue the case of its mis­sion. peo­ple stop tak­ing it se­ri­ously.

As a re­sult, the ANC has lost di­rec­tion and be­come an as­sem­blage of fac­tions poised to de­feat one another at ev­ery na­tional con­fer­ence. The de­feated re­tire to lick their wounds and wait for the next elec­tions. The win­ners make sure to build si­los in which to pro­tect them­selves for the time they are in charge. They sing praises to them­selves and “the leader”, and do their best to loot the state of its as­sets. Un­masked: Why the ANC Failed to Gov­ern by Khulu Mbatha

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