Be very care­ful, ANC - the ruled

Grocott's Mail - - MAKANA VOICES/NEWS -

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.

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