ANC, show us your true colours

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

THE IN­TER­EST in this year’s ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence is un­prece­dented. There’s a rea­son for this: The stakes have never been higher, nor the rul­ing party as pro­foundly frac­tured as it is now.

We have a pres­i­dent who could po­ten­tially find him­self im­mensely vul­ner­a­ble and fac­ing cor­rup­tion charges should his pre­ferred can­di­date not win.

We have anti-Ja­cob Zuma fac­tions hell-bent on dis­lodg­ing him, a tri­par­tite al­liance be­ing any­thing but and the con­tin­u­ous drip-feed of in­cred­i­bly dam­ag­ing rev­e­la­tions of state cap­ture.

The Gupta-leaks re­main unan­swered and res­o­lutely un­in­ves­ti­gated, when in truth they paint a pic­ture that eclipses any and all cor­rup­tion that has been re­ported on be­fore.

They are a smoul­der­ing ta­per edg­ing ever closer to the tin­der­box that is a na­tion of sim­mer­ing dis­con­tent.

The ANC’s na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence last week was sup­posed to have been called to for­mu­late a way out of this morass, giv­ing hope and di­rec­tion not just to the party faith­ful.

In­stead, it was sub­sumed by the ele­phant in the room – who takes over the party, and by in­fer­ence the Union Build­ings, come De­cem­ber.

There are no easy so­lu­tions to this, but a real start would be an end to the party pro­hi­bi­tion on mem­bers declar­ing their in­ten­tions and am­bi­tions.

It is com­mon knowl­edge that Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa wants to be­come pres­i­dent when the time comes around. It is as well­known that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has Zuma’s back­ing to re­place him – and thwart Ramaphosa’s am­bi­tions.

Amid this con­test, emerges a host of other con­tenders; some stalk­ing horses to test pub­lic opin­ion, oth­ers dark horses with real prospects.

The re­sult is fever-pitch pol­i­tick­ing be­hind the scenes, ram­pant back­stab­bing and an in­or­di­nate amount of en­ergy – all of­fi­cially de­nied – ex­pended on what could well be a moot point if the coun­try is not gov­erned be­tween now and De­cem­ber.

The ANC, as the con­ti­nent’s old­est lib­er­a­tion move­ment with the proud­est his­tory, needs to drop this ridicu­lous pre­tence of unity and let the pol­i­tick­ing rather be done in the open, so that no one is in any doubt.

Frankly, the coun­try de­serves bet­ter.

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