THE ANC FACES HUGE CHALLENGES
WHILE President Cyril Ramaphosa tried to assert his authority at the January 8 Statement celebrations in KZN last week; it was clear there are still enormous challenges to be confronted despite the mantra of unity.
While he may have done a good job in KZN, there were moments when Ramaphosa looked decidedly weak on Jacob Zuma’s turf in KZN.
His constant attempts to placate Zuma and his supporters in the ruling party make it seem that he lacks the power to lead from the front and effect a genuine clean-up.
If Ramaphosa spoke and acted decisively against the looters he would win millions of decent people to his side. But, for some reason, he is unwilling or unable to take the high road. If the explanation does not lie in a weak character (and I don’t think it does) it seems logical that Ramaphosa’s political paralysis is a result of the balance of forces within the ANC.
It is clear the faction of the ANC that supports the plunder of the state to enrich a new elite has not accepted defeat. It is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to undermine Ramaphosa with, no doubt, the eventual aim of recapturing the state.
The polling indicates that after the widespread disgust for the ruling party during the Zuma years; Ramaphosa is a more popular figure than Zuma was in the last years of his disastrous rule. If Ramaphosa does well in the polls, the faction of the ANC that openly celebrates corruption will be severely weakened. Many have argued that this is our best hope for a stable future.
It would, indeed, be catastrophic if Ramaphosa fared badly in the election with the result that the ANC had to turn to the EFF to govern. The EFF is now an openly pro-corruption and authoritarian force, and an alliance with them would pull the ANC so deep into the political sewers that the party would never be able to “self-correct”.
As numerous commentators have observed, the EFF has won a massive share of media coverage with a tiny percentage of the vote. This has fundamentally distorted our public sphere, creating the mistaken impression that demagoguery and gross chauvinism are massively popular. This normalises toxic politics with the result that it can, in the end, become genuinely popular.
The situation is set to worsen with the rise of a clutch of little parties, all led by charlatans of the highest order that are aligned to the pro-corruption politics around Zuma. None of these parties have any prospect of significant success at the polls. But they all have a capacity to make a huge contribution to the degeneration of our public sphere.
Uncritical reporting on the utterances of people like Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Jimmy Manyi, Andile Mngxitama and others, all discredited supporters of Zuma, may win the media short-term gain in terms of clicks. After all controversy does attract attention.
Zuma and his acolytes like Motsoeneng, Manyi, Mngxitama, and others claim that the plunder of the state by a politically connected elite is a radical politics in the interests of the people as a whole.
That is balderdash of the highest order. Every million looted from the state to make a few families rich is a million robbed from ordinary people, including the black working class and the poor.
Zuma and his acolytes are, without a doubt, the enemy of the black majority.
The DA has reached its electoral limit. It gathered up most of the minority votes but has failed, spectacularly, to became a party of the majority, and Ramaphosa offers nothing other than a promise of clean government.