Lead­ers be­hav­iour be­hind ANC’s de­cay

Mail & Guardian - - News - Di­neo Bendile

Be­fore the start of the ANC’s pol­icy con­fer­ence this week­end, sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe has out­lined in un­com­pro­mis­ing de­tail the rea­sons for the ruling party’s de­cline into “po­lit­i­cal bank­ruptcy” and its out­right fail­ures, say­ing:


re­placed with sta­tus;

ad­mit fault or cor­rect them­selves; and

them­selves to be above re­proach.

In the re­port, Man­tashe blames the party’s lead­ers for be­ing ar­ro­gant, be­liev­ing them­selves to be in­vin­ci­ble and adopt­ing an elit­ist ap­proach to pol­i­tics.

The document out­lines how the ANC’s own re­search be­fore last year’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions showed a grow­ing de­cline in trust between the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its vot­ers, which would go on to lead to the loss of three key metros — Tsh­wane, Jo­han­nes­burg and Nel­son Man­dela Bay — and a na­tional de­cline in sup­port.

“The first ques­tion we must con­front is whether this trust deficit between the move­ment and the peo­ple is part of a gen­eral de­cline of le­git­i­macy of the po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness elite,” he says in his re­port.

“It is our view that this gen­eral trend is part of the prob­lem, but is ac­cel­er­ated by our own be­hav­iour,” he con­tin­ues.

In ad­di­tion to is­sues of un­em­ploy­ment, crime and cor­rup­tion, voter con­fi­dence was af­fected by the sud­den ax­ing of then fi­nance min­is­ter Nh­lanhla Nene, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court judg­ment on President Ja­cob Zuma’s home­stead, Nkandla, and the un­rest in Tsh­wane be­fore the elec­tions.

Man­tashe high­lights the ap­par­ent ar­ro­gance and de­fen­sive­ness of party lead­ers when they were found to be wrong, which cre­ates the im­pres­sion that the ANC can­not ad­dress its prob­lems.

“The fact that in or­der to cor­rect ba­sic mis­takes, some­times gen­uine mis­takes, we get di­rected by courts, [which] com­mu­ni­cates a mes­sage of a move­ment that does not know the dif­fer­ence between wrong and right,” he says.

Money and sta­tus are also seen to be erod­ing the state of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. He says “money has re­placed con­scious­ness as a ba­sis for be­ing elected into lead­er­ship po­si­tions at all lev­els of the or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

He cites the un­rest in Tsh­wane be­fore the elec­tions and the ANC’s sub­se­quent loss of con­trol in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity as an ex­am­ple of the de­cay­ing moral­ity in the party caused by lead­ers want­ing to con­trol re­sources and im­prove their own ma­te­rial stand­ing.

Power is lead­ing to po­lit­i­cal bank­ruptcy in the ANC, he says.

“The eth­i­cal be­hav­iour of lead­ers is no longer an is­sue but has been re­placed with sta­tus. This is seen as an elit­ist ap­proach to pol­i­tics and has de­vel­oped a so­cial dis­tance as an ef­fect,” he says.

Not minc­ing words: Gwede Man­tashe has be­rated ANC lead­ers who, he says, try to di­vert at­ten­tion from state cap­ture al­le­ga­tions by say­ing it’s part of a plan to force regime change. Photo: Del­wyn Verasamy

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