Chick­ens in ANC barn­yard com­ing home to roost

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - ISSUES -

ANY nurs­ery school kid will tell you that a chicken goes “puk-puk-puk” and a rooster goes “cock-a-doo­dle­doo”. And the sound of a chicken com­ing home to roost, if the ANC is any­thing to go by, is “flip-flop, flipflop”.

With the elec­tion of Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to head the party, there has been a flurry of in­gra­ti­at­ing sounds from the ANC barn­yard as its lead­ers scram­ble from the feed­ing trough and the toxic fall­out of too close an as­so­ci­a­tion with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Many who un­til a month ago were happy to be bid­dable flunkeys are be­lat­edly ex­er­cis­ing their spinal tis­sue. They are em­pha­sis­ing what in­de­pen­dent minds they have, how they hate cor­rup­tion.

But it is Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula who is per­haps the most egre­gious ex­am­ple of the flip-flop. In the weeks be­fore the De­cem­ber lead­er­ship con­fer­ence, Mbalula – who, in a mo­ment of supreme self-delu­sion chose the so­cial me­dia han­dle of his of­fi­cial po­lice min­is­ter ac­count to be “Mr Fear­fokkol”

– was warn­ing that the de­feat of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma could only hap­pen through bribery and cor­rup­tion.

Prior to the elec­tion he pub­lished pictures of bales of money, in­ti­mat­ing that these had been seized by the po­lice from a ca­bal in­tent on brib­ing ANC del­e­gates sup­port­ing Dlamini Zuma. An amount of R2.5m had been in­ter­cepted, he tweeted un­der the hash­tag #VotesForCash.

It was all sim­ply anti-Ramaphosa pro­pa­ganda, en­tirely bereft of truth. There was no seizure of mil­lions of rand. No ar­rests had been made or will be made. There will be no pros­e­cu­tion.

Well, cer­tainly that is the case, now that Mr Fear­fokkol has re­alised where his best in­ter­ests lie. Within days of the de­feat of Dlamini

Zuma, the po­lice min­is­ter was glee­fully cir­cu­lat­ing a pho­to­graph of Pres­i­dent Zuma, clutch­ing his face with both hands and look­ing dazed and un­happy, with the cap­tion: “When you look around at a fam­ily func­tion and re­alise that you’ve grad­u­ated to be­ing the drunk un­cle of the fam­ily.”

Such in­stinc­tual fawn­ing by the sub­mis­sive be­fore the dom­i­nant can be ob­served in many an­i­mal species. The pat­tern be­tween con­test­ing ca­nines is one of an ini­tial faux con­fronta­tion, with much tooth­bar­ing, snarling and hack­les-raised pos­tur­ing.

This rarely ends in a fight to the death.

A cou­ple of quick nips by the al­pha of the group, draw­ing the min­i­mum of blood, is usu­ally enough to es­tab­lish the peck­ing or­der.

The zo­o­log­i­cal cer­tain­ties of sub­servience be­hav­iour in pack an­i­mals will be of some con­so­la­tion to Ramaphosa. It negates the ra­zor­thin nu­mer­i­cal ma­jor­ity by which he won the lead­er­ship con­test and which his sup­port­ers achieved in the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

On the other hand, among politi­cians, the most vi­cious and un­pre­dictable of preda­tors, the sit­u­a­tion is slightly dif­fer­ent. As many a ruler has found out too late, a few nips and growls are of­ten not enough to dampen the hu­man ap­petite for sub­ver­sion and re­bel­lion.

There’s noth­ing like a clear line in the sand. A few rit­ual sac­ri­fices, metaphor­i­cally speak­ing, may be help­ful in set­ting the ap­pro­pri­ate bound­aries.

● Fol­low WSM on Twit­ter @ TheJaun­dicedEye

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