ANC proves it is politically adrift and ethically bereft
AH! HOW galling to have to concede that our reviled former colonial masters are still able to teach us a thing or two. Specifically, what it means to take responsibility for one’s actions and act with a semblance of honour.
A couple of months back, Prime Minister David Cameron lost the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. He promptly resigned.
The result, he said, was not about the future of any single politician, least of all himself. It would be wrong for him “to be the captain to steer the country to its next destination”.
This week, Sam Allardyce, the bombastic and widely disliked manager of the England football team, was caught in a less-thanmomentous newspaper sting.
The recently appointed Allardyce was recorded mocking his predecessor’s speech impediment and stating the obvious – that the Football Association’s “ridiculous” rules on transfers are easily circumvented.
This was a “significant error of judgement”, Allardyce subsequently admitted. He apologised and resigned on the turn.
Both men could have tried to ride out the storm. Neither did. They understood that they were accountable for their shortcomings and dutifully fell upon their swords.
Compare this to our local soapie, starring the narcissistic and widely despised Hlaudi Motsoeneng, chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC.
This is a man who has clung to his job like a barnacle, despite a ceaseless four-year torrent of administrative, disciplinary and judicial findings that decreed he should not be in the job.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected with costs Motsoeneng’s attempt to appeal the 2015 Western Cape High Court ruling that had set aside as “irrational” his appointment as COO.
The SABC board – as supine a collection of ANC lickspittles and a***creepers as you could imagine – promptly tried to circumvent the decision by appointing Motsoeneng to a different position.
The ANC purports to be outraged by this flagrant disregard of the spirit, if not the letter, of the judgment. The decision to reappoint Motsoeneng, says ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu, is unlawful, a violation of sequential court rulings.
“It is clear that this board is failing spectacularly to exercise its fiduciary obligation to steer the organisation.” The board should rescind their decision forthwith.
Mthembu then waxes splenetic about Motsoeneng’s latest appointment being “the last straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Heads will roll, it is implied.
However, on this issue the ANC is less of a camel than it is a jackal. Not stolid and all-enduring, but sly and devious.
After all, this is the same ANC that appointed these selfsame SABC lackeys, who are so unstinting in their support of Moetseneng. And, after all, this is the same ANC whose Communication Minister Faith Muthmbi has said repeatedly that she has full faith in the SABC board and in Motsoeneng.
It is her ministry, too, which will carry the cost of the failed petition to appeal. Faith she might well have, but clearly intelligence not so much.
Politically, it’s all really simple. The precedents are ancient. The minister should the fire the SABC board, which is clearly not fit for purpose.
And if the minister won’t fire the board, then President Zuma should fire her.
But this charade of one arm of the ANC slapping the wrist of the other is nothing new. It is symptomatic of the increasingly schizophrenic state of a political organisation that is adrift.
If further evidence were needed of its rudderless, ethically bereft state, it is provided by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s written reply this week to a parliamentary question.
Zwane reiterated that he had not been speaking in his personal capacity when three weeks ago he announced that the Cabinet had agreed to recommend that Zuma appoint a judicial inquiry to probe whether the banks had acted unfairly against the president’s cronies, the Gupta clan.
This is in direct contradiction to what Zuma said. At the time, the Presidency claimed that Zwane had issued the statement in his “personal capacity” and that its contents were not the government’s position.
So, who is being untruthful? If Zwane is a serial liar – first when he issued the statement and now in Parliament – he should not only be fired as minister but as an MP. If the president is the one who is the liar, then he is of course the one honourbound to resign.
Unfortunately, honour appears to be a colonial construct. For either man to resign would be alien behaviour. Well, alien to the ANC, if not to those imperialist relics Cameron and Allardyce.
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