Be very careful, ANC - the ruled
Political maturity is beginning to take shape at the strategic leadership level of the ANC. Members of the NEC one by one at different times have come up condemning the perpetual infighting depleting the already fragile soul of the organisation.
They’ve realised the significance of breaking the silence on internal infighting tearing the organisation apart. Interestingly, ANC parliamentarians are beginning to assert their legislative authority too.
They’ve been amenable for quite a long time to the detriment of the democratic project, which came into being as a result of hard-won struggles.
South Africa belongs to all who live in it and not to a paltry section of the population belonging to a specific political party. The ANC in Parliament has realised that it’s being outpaced and humiliated by their counterparts occupying opposition benches.
Their courage and resolve to defend the untenable has compromised their integrity, credibility, moral standing and intelligence. History has recorded out of context deliberations meant to shield unethical, immoral and unlawful perennial behavioural patterns.
Irreparable damage has been done in the name of defending the once glorious movement.
Political counsellors, liberation struggle icons, astute analysts, professionals in different fields, and concerned citizens, raised their concerns about the direction the country was taking.
Instead of lending an ear and opening the space for qualitative engagements, insults were hurled at them. Certain individuals have retracted their statements underpinned by diatribe in an ambiguous manner.
Such individuals were left loose to spew gutter politics through the length and breadth of Mzantsi. This evinces that the collective political centre collapsed a long time ago.
If it was in place, appropriate measures enshrined in the party constitution would have been effected.
The collapse of the centre is preceded by the following processes: intellectual decline, ethical dissipation, moral decay, distortion of political and ideological outlook, factionalisation of the mindset and subjugation of top mandarins by dubious forces. This state of affairs creates sufficient space for people to operate outside their own party Constitution.
Continual violation of the Constitution makes organisational discipline a mockery. The violation of the country’s Constitution should be understood against this backdrop. This paradoxical situation is a sign of the blurring of lines between the state and the party.
Blurring of lines between the state and the party was once a dominant feature in other countries within the global context. Such countries have disintegrated and presented an opportunity to the mushrooming of right-wing politics.
The fact of the matter is that damage with far reaching ramifications has already been done. These strategic blunders have opened the political market.
The former has laid the basis for politics of re-alignment and tactical alliances.
The NUMSA congress held in Cape Town during the course of this week would also shed some light on the possible re-alignment of forces within a tactical alliance framework.
It’ll be naïve of them if they think they’ll pursue their journey alone.
Some level of pragmatism on their part would be required. A purist approach in a competitive political market tends to frustrate the ultimate objective.
Tactics guide any organisation towards the realisation of its objectives. It’ll also depend on how they define their political and ideological trajectory.
This will inform their strategic and tactical choices. The launching of an alternative independent union federation to Cosatu in 2017 will test the steadfastness of the latter. Indications are that an alternative party to the SACP will also be launched in due course.
The launching of the independent federation could be perceived as a precursor to the launching of a political party. This implies that the tripartite alliance will face a tough time, come 2019.
It’s my considered opinion that the ANC has commenced the process of isolating itself from the mainstream. The National Party in the past made the same mistake of not listening to public sentiments expressed by a multiplicity of forces.
I leave this one in the hands of historians to make a determination whether history repeats itself or not.
To turn the tide around within the ANC framework would require leadership with a big heart and who are prepared to bite the bullet. Do we still have people of such a calibre in our midst?
The deeply entrenched and institutionalised patronage system could be a trammelling factor to the cleaning up of the organisation. The unending schisms may eventually lead to the demise of the “once potent and glorious organisation”.
As the SABC saga unfolds in Parliament, one could see that the derailment of the developmental agenda was on track. Importantly, in order for organisations to survive in a highly competitive environment, they have to dispose of primitive organisational orthodoxy.
Unorthodox perspective could be the best way to make an organisation relevant to rapidly changing 21st century circumstances, going forward. Conservatives will always cling to ancient perspectives due to the lust for power.
To sustain their relevance and hegemony, they may resort to malfeasance practices. Attempts to modernise the party by enlightened minds could be perceived as a menace to their vested interests.
Decapitation of the advocates of modernisation could be seen as the best option in order to obfuscate alternative perspectives. Restoration of the African culture in a distorted and misguided manner could be used to promote the politics of bantustanisation, ethnicity, tribalism, and patriarchy.
In the Eastern Cape Province in particular, the bantustanisation of politics and institutions of governance, for example, the Provincial Administration, municipal administrative wings, and key service delivery points, have become a norm.
This makes things easy for the political Mafia to get close proximity to the disbursement of state resources, using remote controlled proxies located within these localities.
The lack of political experience on the part of the provincial leadership and shenanigans contributed to the loss of key municipalities to the opposition. Support in the BCM area has declined. This has made the ANC in the province a true reflection of a rural party under a ruralitarian leadership.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality factor is going to bring up many issues that could embarrass the province further.
I still repeat, the movement has technically lost elec- tions in the Makana area and the implications are huge. The ANC should be worried about that area because many things might come up, not for good reasons. No one is to be blamed. The ANC must blame itself.
Lastly, Nathi Mthethwa, ANC NEC member and Minister of Arts and Culture, has conceded that intra-party infighting has largely contributed to the decline in the support of the organisation. Key municipalities have been lost as a result of ANC problems.
He hit the nail on the head and should have mentioned the fact that the organisation lacks the intellectual ability and moral authority to unite its members.
Having failed to build unity and cohesion within its own ranks, would it be in a position to transform the South African landscape into an equitable society? I feel vindicated that, sufficient consensus exists within the ANC that it has deviated from its mandate.
This nullifies the notion of the “national democratic revolution” on track. These developments are necessary in order to translate alternative perspectives into reality.
Society evolves, it’s not static. So, as we traverse, let’s innovate and create our own reality.
Christian Mbekela is a strategic work consultant specialising in HR, EE and risk management, former Sayco NEC member and he was part of the team that re-established the ANC Youth League. He is currently doing his PhD in the Sociology Department at Rhodes University.