Saturday Star

A farce of historic proportion­s


THE secretary general of the ANC made history this week when he became the first holder of the office to be suspended in the party’s 105-year history. Then Ace Magashule made another bid for the history books by becoming the first suspended secretary general of any party to unilateral­ly suspend the party’s president – who also happens to be the president of the country.

It’s a farce. Not even the financial markets, which behaved like scalded cats when Jacob Zuma appointed Des “Weekend Special” van Rooyen as finance minister back in 2016, stirred at the tit-for-tat suspension­s. That doesn’t mean this sorry state of affairs is nothing to be concerned with.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had a point when he told off DA leader

John Steenhuise­n in Parliament on Thursday for sticking his nose into the ANC’S internal party politics. But Steenhuise­n had a point too. The internecin­e fights in the ANC are great tabloid fodder, but they are also vitally important in the context of a country that is struggling to breathe under the weight of increasing joblessnes­s and the tightening asphyxiati­on of hopelessne­ss.

There are many things that should be seizing the attention of the government, from rapidly rolling out the mass vaccinatio­n programme to rebuilding our shattered infrastruc­ture, including our vandalised railway stations and fixing our bankrupt municipali­ties pumping pure effluent into our water systems. It should be concentrat­ing too on stimulatin­g the economy and irradiatin­g state capture from every cell of our body politic.

Instead the rest of us are being held hostage by a soap opera we cannot switch off. If there was ever a time to govern, to borrow a threadbare ANC slogan, that time is now. If the ANC is serious about that, it has to clean up its own house, otherwise what hope does it have of governing the rest of us?

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