The NkosazanaCyril show­down

Grocott's Mail - - MAKANA VOICES -

Pres­i­dent Zuma de­liv­ered his 8 Jan­uary speech at the Or­lando Sta­dium, Soweto, in a cel­e­bra­tory mood.

His the­atri­cal an­tics were in­tended to re­flect a per­son in charge of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The mul­ti­tudes gath­ered at the sta­dium may have re­as­sured him that his or­gan­i­sa­tion has re­gained lost ground.

Singing and danc­ing as usual oc­cu­pied the cen­tre stage. In fact it has be­come so fash­ion­able that one might think the core busi­ness of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is danc­ing and singing.

It masks a lack of in­ter­nal in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­ity devel­op­ment, knowl­edge devel­op­ment and the gen­er­a­tion of new per­spec­tives and has con­trib­uted to the de­for­ma­tion of the ANC.

Sub­stan­tive is­sues are per­ceived as time con­sum­ing. In­ter­est in read­ing to ac­quire new in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge has de­clined.

Be­cause of this huge knowl­edge gap, the or­gan­i­sa­tion is lost in na­tional public dis­course con­cern­ing the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the coun­try. Its in­abil­ity to play an in­flu­en­tial role in the pro­duc­tion of knowl­edge means it re­lies on quan­tity rather than qual­ity.

Events in Par­lia­ment showed that as­tute ap­pli­ca­tion of mind to is­sues could dis­or­gan­ise a party re­ly­ing solely on its quan­ti­ta­tive mus­cle.

Qual­i­ta­tive in­puts made by other par­ties in par­lia­ment changed the elec­torate's per­cep­tions, re­sult­ing in strate­gic de­feats of the rul­ing party in key strate­gic mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The con­sol­i­da­tions of strate­gic elec­toral gains made by other par­ties have the po­ten­tial to turn the po­lit­i­cal pen­du­lum on a na­tional scale.

There must be both qual­ity and quan­tity in elec­toral pol­i­tics to en­sure or­gan­i­sa­tional sus­tain­abil­ity.

Mem­bers and sup­port­ers of the ANC came to the rally in large num­bers to lis­ten to the pres­i­dent.

The at­mos­phere at the sta­dium was elec­tri­fy­ing. Rank and file mem­bers spoke in uni­son that the move­ment was now mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

To en­sure that the 40 000 ca­pac­ity sta­dium was filled to its ca­pac­ity, mem­bers were bused in from other prov­inces. For ex­am­ple, KZN de­ployed 100 buses.

North West, Mpumalanga, Lim­popo and the Free State also de­ployed buses.

Fleets of cars, and taxis from other prov­inces hit the road. A size­able num­ber booked flights to at­tend the rally. We are equal be­fore the law, and not equal in terms of eco­nomic re­sources.

First-gen­er­a­tion rights have to be com­bined with sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion rights in or­der to change the qual­ity of life. So­cio-eco­nomic free­dom is the bot­tom line.

I as­sume the pres­i­dent was ad­vised not to de­vi­ate from the text.

He went through it line by line as writ­ten for him. The man­ner in which he read it out, I sus­pect he had sev­eral re­hearsals be­fore the main event.

Good im­prove­ment on oral read­ing – maybe the past had taught him some good lessons.

Com­ments I’ve seen on so­cial me­dia plat­forms made by cer­tain lead­ers of lower and up­per structures, gave the speech a thumbs up, con­tent wise.

Well, peo­ple are en­ti­tled to their opin­ions. Those who are keen to read may read the 8 Jan­uary 2017 state­ment in con­junc­tion with other speeches of this na­ture (2009-2016).

The 2017 ver­sion is largely a du­pli­ca­tion of the pre­vi­ous years’ state­ments.

The body of knowl­edge is an­cient and the 2017 ver­sion does not add value to the ex­ist­ing body of thought.

I thought that the pres­i­dent would en­cap­su­late the state of the or­gan­i­sa­tion within the chang­ing global con­text, tak­ing into ac­count the emerg­ing post glob­al­i­sa­tion dis­course. Such de­vel­op­ments have a bear­ing on South African pol­i­tics.

No progress was pre­sented on the re­duc­tion of poverty, in­equal­ity, or un­em­ploy­ment.

We know the prob­lems and re­peat­ing them timeously is not a so­lu­tion.

Men­tion­ing fac­tion­al­ism is not go­ing to make it dis­ap­pear.

Does the or­gan­i­sa­tion have a pro­gramme to deal with this mat­ter threat­en­ing the South African demo­cratic project?

The party’s con­sti­tu­tion is clear on how to deal with de­viant po­lit­i­cal be­hav­iour. Fac­tion­al­ism is tricky in that all lead­er­ship structures in all spheres are prod­ucts of the for­mer.

The de­ploy­ment of peo­ple to in­sti­tu­tions of power, de­vel­op­men­tal in­sti­tu­tions in­cluded, are also prod­ucts of fac­tion­al­ism.

Party and statu­tory gov­ern­ing structures are fac­tion­alised, in par­tic­u­lar where the ANC rules. It’s known that dom­i­nant fac­tions are ruled by un­elected moguls with eco­nomic in­ter­ests.

The rul­ing fac­tion has been im­bibed by un­elected moguls. Any at­tempt to dis­man­tle rogue el­e­ments tied to pow­er­ful syn­di­cates could split the ANC into splin­ter groups.

As we speak, lead­er­ship suc­ces­sion pro­cesses are be­ing con­ducted by in­di­vid­u­als re­port­ing to dif­fer­ent prin­ci­pals out­side the main­stream.

The di­rec­tive of the pres­i­dent on lead­er­ship suc­ces­sion has been de­fied out­right, and in the public do­main.

The NEC di­rec­tive on lead­er­ship suc­ces­sion is also de­fied by the very same NEC mem­bers.

The Dlamini/Zuma and Ramaphosa lead­er­ship race will take place within this lead­er­ship vac­uum.

For­ma­tions have al­ready pro­nounced on their lead­er­ship choices (ANCWL, ANCYL), and this process seems to be un­stop­pable. This po­lit­i­cal flu­id­ity may favour the dom­i­nant fac­tion.

Tak­ing into ac­count com­plex­i­ties fac­ing the sit­ting pres­i­dent, he would not favour some­one who might cause him to sweat climb­ing a moun­tain.

Cosatu has also pro­nounced on its lead­er­ship choice on the side­lines. Cosatu and the SACP have how­ever, been weak­ened and their role in this process has di­min­ished.

They also have to blame them­selves be­cause they con­trib­uted to the po­lit­i­cal quag­mire. Video footage, speeches and recorded mes­sages can at­test to that.

The ANC must democra­tise the suc­ces­sion de­bate. It has been un­der way for a long time.

An un­der­ground mode of op­er­a­tion con­cern­ing demo­cratic pro­cesses is not sus­tain­able.

The ANC must ac­cept that it op­er­ates within an open demo­cratic space, and should be­have as such.

It can­not rely on un­writ­ten tra­di­tions which are dis­puted now be­cause they do not favour a par­tic­u­lar fac­tion.

For the ANC to sur­vive, it should con­sider mod­ernising it­self.

Fail­ing to do so may cost it its gov­ern­ing sta­tus in the fi­nal anal­y­sis.

Trends are show­ing that di­rec­tion.

• Chris­tian Mx­oliswa Mbekela is a strate­gic work con­sul­tant spe­cial­iz­ing 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 PhD in the So­ci­ol­ogy Depart­ment at Rhodes Univer­sity.­m­mind­

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