Man­tashe’s given us a ray of hope

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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.

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