ANC faces new threat
THE ANC, fresh from its underwhelming national policy conference last week, which was more a proxy battle about the upcoming elective conference than any think tank on a blueprint for the future, faces a new threat – from deep within its ranks.
Makhosi Khoza is an ANC backbencher with a proven record in public and private institutions, who could well have made a life for herself outside politics. As such, she is perhaps one of the most dangerous voices in an institution often crippled by patronage.
She is refusing to be silenced by her party bosses and today stands out as a lone voice, urging the ANC to let its members in the House vote in secret when the Speaker tables the no-confidence debate on the president next month.
It is a gambit that the party dare not allow because the stakes are simply too high.
The problem for the ANC is that Khoza is articulating what many South Africans think – and which party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe highlighted last week – that the party no longer represents the aspirations of the people, but rather a self-enriching corrupt elite, which people join in a bid to milk the system, rather than serving it.
To make matters worse, Khoza has received death threats, further adding to the perception it is dangerous to speak against the status quo, especially in a province like KwaZulu-Natal where people are assassinated for their political views and ambitions.
Which leaves the ANC in an invidious position. Every party holds its members to a code of conduct, disciplining them when they break ranks. If it acts against Khoza, though, it would be seen to bullying a brave and principled member – and condoning the rot that many ANC members agree exists throughout the organisation.
If it does nothing, it runs the risk of fomenting – and tacitly legalising – a revolt not just in its party caucus, but all the way down to the grassroots, creating a schism so fundamental it could destroy the party forever.
The ANC truly is in an invidious position.