ANC Watch

ANC, not Zuma, should learn from Zimbabwe

Birds of a feather?
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President Jacob Zuma was the instrument through which state capture was executed, corruption spread like a rampaging virus having the economy in need of intensive care, but he is not the primary cause.

The policies of the African National Congress (ANC), especially so-called “cadre deployment”, is the primary reason South Africa is teetering on the brink of failed state status, robbing it of a truly professional civil service and top, ethical management at state enterprises and other instruments of service delivery.

Cadre deployment was from the word go, post the 1994 election, ANC policy and it therefore ironic to watch the crocodile tears being shed by the so-called veterans, blaming Zuma. It is disingenuous – they are just as guilty. They allowed, supported and promoted cadre deployment when they were in positions of power.

Whoever is elected, in whichever way as the new party leader, and probable president designate of the country at next month’s ANC elective conference, will make no difference to the fact that a massive, and extremely complicated reconstruction task lies ahead.

The details and some of the policies differ somewhat, but the process that’s been playing itself out the past 27 years under ANC rule, is essentially the same as the one that played itself out in Zimbabwe over the past 37 years.  

William Saunderson-Meyer nailed it right on the head when he last week on the Politicsweb wrote about comparisons between SA and Zimbabwe: “The most apt comparisons are not between Zuma and Mugabe. It is the less obvious ones between Zanu-PF and the ANC, who incidentally like to draw attention to the ‘fraternal ties’ as self-proclaimed socialist liberators between the two parties.

“It was Zanu-PF that colluded in the deification of Mugabe and the destruction of democracy in Zimbabwe. It is the ANC as a party that has become increasingly anti-democratic in its tendencies; which initially facilitated state capture; and which tolerated the Zuma appointments that turned the security agencies and the prosecutorial services into his handmaidens.”

The damage done to South African instruments of state governance and its public purse is well illustrated by the fact it took more than two years after the Public Protector’s report on state capture was compiled, before the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams, announced last week that a team of specialists from the Asset Forfeiture Unit has been assigned to work on the State Capture investigation alongside prosecutors and investigators from the Hawks.

In the meantime, ill begotten billions have already been moved offshore by the beneficiaries of state capture.

Rot started before Zuma

Indicative of the fact that the rot started before Mr Zuma’s becoming ANC leader, is the role of the so-called “spy-tape” saga at the time when he was challenging the leadership of then President Thabo Mbeki.

It is also telling, and ironical, considering Mbeki’s image as a sophisticated ‘global citizen’ type leader, that Mr Zuma seems to have been the much more successful player in the Zimbabwean situation. He handled the recent dramatic events calmly and unobtrusively as current rotating SADC chairman.

Mbeki on the other hand appeared to have been a protector of Mugabe with his doctrine of ‘quiet diplomacy,’ making it possible for Mugabe to rig elections in Zimbabwe in his own favour and prolong the suffering of the Zimbabwean people. It also created all sorts of problems in South Africa with the consequent influx of large numbers of Zimbabweans into the country.

However, this does not mean that Zuma and the ANC come out squeaky clean or is not in danger of being seen to be following the political trajectory as Mugabe and the Zanu-PF. There are echoes of what happened with Mugabe and his wife Grace and Mr Zuma’s promoting his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his successor.

Although this is one of the areas in where details between the Zimbabwean and South African situations differ, Mr Zuma should take note that this was the factor that triggered Mugabe’s final demise.

Leaving similar problems

Judged on the report cards by two international credit rating agencies last Friday, whoever takes over from Mr Zuma as ANC leader next month, and possibly as head of state after the 2019 general election, while the ANC increasingly seem in danger of losing its outright majority, will be saddled with challenges similar to those in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

Especially on the economic front there loom huge challenges to get it back on a growth trajectory, restoring investor confidence, and getting the affairs of state owned enterprises in order.

A massive task also awaits the next administration to rid the country from of crony networks the ANC not only allowed to be established in the civil service and state-owned enterprises, but actively facilitated through cadre deployment.

One of the most telling pieces of evidence of the destruction this policy has caused is the fact that not only has National Treasury senior staff members left the institution in droves during recent years, but now stands accused of having unlawfully paid R3m in staff bonuses.

The task is immensely complicated by the fact that the danger of a further credit rating down grade looms barely three months ahead – at the time of the next national budget. And, by a reported capital flight having started, that will see economic constraints intensify over this period.

For the ANC the implication is also that it will enter the 2019 election under what could be extremely unfavourable conditions for them.

The one positive for South Africa as a country, compared to Zimbabwe, is that to date elections do still count. And, for now, there don’t seem to be any reason that it would change before the 2019 election.

However, never mind what happens in 2019, a long hard road lies ahead to get the country back on a positive trajectory.

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by Intelligence Bulletin Team

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