Mantashe’s given us a ray of hope
SOME people might point out that the ANC has experienced its steepest decline under the watch of its secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. It would be a pity if that was how he would be remembered. There are many reasons, far beyond his control, for the ANC finding itself between a rock and a hard place.
Chief among these is a president, Jacob Zuma, whose leadership has been mired in allegations of corruption. Far too many of his actions have ended up in the courts where the outcomes have tended to be morale-crushing defeats. Other reasons for the rot include glib arrogance, built on an irrational belief that Africa’s oldest liberation movement would always be supported by those who had voted for it in the past, no matter how many promises it broke or how corrupt it had become.
To put it another way: The ANC has far too easily believed its own propaganda of having a God-given right to run the country, or, as Zuma once suggested: It would rule “until Jesus comes”. It is paying the price for its superciliousness. What the ANC has failed to accept is that in a democracy, political parties are required to work hard for every vote. Displeased voters from one party know they have the option of putting their cross next to the name of another – and over the past few years many have been doing just that.
Mantashe deserves credit for his courage in presenting “A Diagnostic Organisational Report” at the ANC’s fifth national policy conference, which acknowledges that the organisation is in political trouble. So frank was the report that some delegates tried to have it suppressed.
That they were unsuccessful gives cause for hope. It sends out a strong message that there are members who cherish what the founders and those who followed them stood for, were prepared to fight for and to die for. It is time for more members of integrity to join the fight to rebuild the ANC to its former glory.