ANC Watch, Opinion

A government haunted by foreign agents and conspiracies

Third Force.png

The ANC government of President Zuma seems to be extremely reluctant to accept any responsibility when things go wrong, and always finds a sinister ‘third force’ to blame.

The four default enemies are ‘the West’, foreign agents, monopoly capital and a un-named ‘third force’.

Most of what we have read and heard lately about President Zuma is a lie.

The man from Nkandla is not the ‘wrecking ball’ sketched in media reports, but rather the victim of international plots concocted by Western governments, their intelligence services and third force collaborators.

At least that is what President Zuma and his ANC supporters want South Africans to believe.

Blaming Western intelligence agencies         

According to Bloomberg, President Zuma told the ANC’s National Executive in late November when his leadership was discussed, that Western intelligence agencies were conducting a campaign to discredit him.

Bloomberg’s assessment of this claim is both disconcerting and true:

 “If this had been a one-off it might be possible to dismiss it as the bluster of a man fighting for his political life. But it is not. Blaming Western intelligence agencies, and their local lackeys, for all of South Africa’s troubles has been the hallmark of politics whenever the ANC leadership hits a sticky patch.”

Political commentator Gareth van Onselen echoed a similar view, writing:

“The ANC has deliberately manufactured an environment in which everything that runs against the party or threatens its legitimacy is blamed on some outside agency. Responsibility left SA a long time ago, and with it, accountability”. 

While making the claim, President Zuma preferred not to take the nation into his confidence, refraining from presenting any evidence to substantiate his allegation.

The only logical explanation for the proof to remain secret can be that it would not be in the interest of national security to go public with the evidence.

But it remains a challenge to take President Zuma at his word. Cynical South Africans cannot be blamed for taking the president’s claims with a hefty pinch of salt.

By way of illustration, a recent Agence France-Presse article carried by Global Research refers to President Zuma claiming that, “Western powers want to remove the ANC because they do not want the ANC to develop relations with those countries which helped the party in the anti-apartheid struggle”.

Such sweeping statements, however, only erode President Zuma’s credibility because fact is that Western powers played a significant role in the anti-apartheid struggle – with economic sanctions, cultural, academic and sport boycotts, coupled with diplomatic pressure – mostly much more effective than the contributions of many of the countries President Zuma might have in mind.  

Past its sell-by date

This ‘blame game’ tactic has, however, gone stale past its sell-by date.

Just too many examples in recent years where, without proof or merit about a still unidentified, but ever-present, ‘third force’ or foreign intelligence services (usually the CIA), have come along as convenient scapegoats for his own shortcomings and failed policies.

One commentator described this as a “bankrupt and lazy” tactic while another deemed it “the ultimate abdication”.

In past articles The Intelligence Bulletin often alluded to this ANC tactic. We concur with Gareth van Onselen, who in May this year in Business Day listed ten examples of the “blaming tactic” being used.

He made the point that President Zuma, however, did not start this trend. It began when former President Mbeki accused the CIA of being part of a “conspiracy” to promote the view that HIV causes AIDS.

But, as Martin Praut wrote in the Mail & Guardian: “If Mbeki occasionally used the CIA as a scapegoat, Zuma has perfected the technique.”

In his list van Onselen included the following examples – some bizarre in the extreme:

  • The #FeesMustFall protests, per an ANC Youth League spokesperson, were “driven by white supremacists”;
  • The former public protector, Thuli Madonsela, former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, EFF leader Julius Malema and trade union leader Joseph Mathunjwa, are all CIA spies; and
  • The American embassy in Pretoria is planting “regime change” students by “indoctrinating” youth leaders while they were visiting the US as part of the Washington Fellowship Exchange Programme.

Oddly enough, the fellowship programme has ANC approval and the party identifies individuals from its ranks to participate.

None of these allegations have been substantiated despite numerous undertakings, among others by the State Security Agency, to do so.


The irony, as Van Onselen points out, is that, if all these claims of foreign connivance are true, “it is a complete and utter indictment of the South African security services. Routinely our highest security structures are set to work to uncover and investigate these elusive yet omnipresent influences. Routinely, they turn up empty-handed”.

He concludes: “If ever one needs proof that SA’s security agencies are fundamentally useless, one need only measure their performance against the ability to deliver on the primary problem their political masters set them: a ubiquitous set of saboteurs who are everywhere, manipulating everything, and yet who can never be found.

“But then again, that’s not the point. The point is to distract and evade. And it often works a charm. If anything, ours is a land of conspiracy and paranoia, and many indulge these fantasies as great truths. We have no Area 51 in SA, no fake moon landing; instead we have ‘the West’. It is our unidentified flying object, and it is seen hovering in the night skies on a regular basis.”

Time has come

The time has come for the ANC and President Zuma in particular to stand up, be brave and take responsibility for their errors without shifting the blame onto others. A little honesty will do them no harm. They might even find that they could regain some of the support and respect they have lost and that they are so desperately trying to retrieve.  

by Garth Cilliers

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