The NkosazanaCyril showdown
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. www.cmmmindpower.co.za