The Citizen (Gauteng)
Why there’s no good ANC
As we watch the party unravel, remember there is no good ANC. It remains a corrupt organisation, held together by patronage and corruption. Sources of ill-gotten wealth are drying up. Like starved pigs eating each other on Thandi Modise’s farm, comrades turn on comrades.
To understand what’s happening, follow the money, which is running out. Since 2019 the ANC has struggled to pay staff salaries. According to the Mail & Guardian, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid staff salaries on several occasions during the past 18 months.
According to the Sunday Times, the South African Revenue Service recently used a garnishee order to intercept taxpayer funds which the ANC was to receive from the Independent Electoral Commission.
At last weekend’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile proposed a 50% reduction in staff. Things are tight at Luthuli House, where suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule has to get by on R133 000 a month.
The Ramaphosa faction is turning the screws on the Magashule faction, using the rhetoric of a clean-up. Opening the NEC meeting on Saturday, Ramaphosa “said the ANC needed to act against graft in the most serious manner or risk losing public confidence and electoral support”, Businesslive reported.
But if it were truly to act against graft, the ANC would cease to exist. Every nostalgic recollection of a “glorious movement” can be countered by quotes such as former spokesman Smuts Ngonyama’s 2004 classic: “I did not join the struggle to be poor”.
Ngonyama, a confidante of former president Thabo Mbeki, was defending his R160-million stake in a R6.6 billion Telkom black economic empowerment (BEE) deal.
The ANC is top-heavy with BEE beneficiaries, including Ramaphosa, for whom doors were opened at New Africa Investments Limited, Johnnic and much more from 1996.
BEE and cadre deployment are not classified as corruption. But they can be get-rich-quick schemes where patronage and political influence are traded. Cadre deployment has been official ANC policy since 1997, when Mbeki and Joel Netshitenzhe controlled party doctrine.
Cadre deployment appointments are not based on merit but on political alignment. The flaw is compounded because the organisation is riven with factionalism. Merit is pushed further down the priority list, and the field is narrowed to those loyal to personalities.
This trend was obvious during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, where we had a “weekend special” finance minister, etc. But Ramaphosa hasn’t exactly chosen an A-team cabinet.
Cadre deployment will eventually sink the ANC. The organisation cannot function without the promise of jobs and favours for pals. Yet the policy ensures that mediocrity and corruption remain entrenched. Down is the only direction.
A whole movement has been persuaded to abjure individual effort and merit. So we are governed by wealthy economic illiterates who idolise pseudo-socialist kleptocracies such as Zimbabwe and Cuba, where rich comrades rule.
A party that invites economic ruin cannot be good. For SA to thrive, the ANC must fall.
Cadre deployment will eventually sink the ANC. The organisation cannot function without the promise of jobs and favours for pals.