ANC Watch

ANC in disarray has SA at crossroads

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Disarray, just short of being at war with itself, in the ANC has South Africa at a crossroad between enhancing its democracy and dropping into chaos.

A moth from now the governing African National Congress’ elective conference will be something of the past, ending on 20 December in Gauteng. The changes of the party coming out of the conference in one piece are looking slimmer by the day.

The conference might even end earlier and likely in chaos – effectively not happening at all. Former finance minister, Trevor Manuel predicted last week that the conference could collapse during its first two days, during the adoption of delegates’ credentials.

A weekend “consultative conference” of ANC stalwarts and veterans adopted a declaration that accuses the party of having “relinquished its leadership of society and plunged itself into an untenable political crisis of serious proportions. This development represents a danger to all South Africans who love justice and who desire rapid progress towards a better life for all,” the declaration reeds in part.

Although the conference was shunned by the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), it was attended by two former presidents, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, ANC NEC member Darek Hanekom, and even presidential candidate in December, Lindiwe Sisulu, among others.

The stalwarts and veterans also reiterated their call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. They declared themselves as deeply hurt by what they regarded as a betrayal of people’s long-standing support and trust of the ANC.

“We are deeply troubled by the abandonment of the ANC’s historic values and principles. “This has undermined popular confidence in the government, Parliament, state-owned enterprises and other public institutions,” their declaration reads.

At the other end of the spectrum of the divide between those supporting President Jacob Zuma and those calling on him to resign, the organisation Black First Land First (BLF) leader, Andile Mngxitama, not only came out in support for presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, but called for “practical steps, such as land occupations.”

Other side of the ANC coin

On the other side of the coin, the candidate on which most of the ant-Zuma faction seems to be pinning their hopes, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, called for a “new deal (that) will and must bring together government, business, labour and civil society in a meaningful and effective social compact to construct a prosperous, just society founded on opportunities for all.”

In the same lecture at the ANC Johannesburg Region Economic Colloquium he said the must an uncompromising rejection of corruption, patronage, cronyism, and wastage.

He was, however not as sharp on the matter as one of his outspoken supporters, former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan, who said some of those involved in state capture will go to jail. But Ramaphosa did say people who have assisted to facilitate state capture should be removed from their positions immediately.

“A judicial commission of inquiry needs to be established without delay, and legal and criminal action will be pursued against the perpetrators. We want every rand stolen from our people returned.”

Probably realising how deep and wide the corruption associated with the present administration has penetrated governance in the country, and how difficult it would be to affect a turnaround with conventional law enforcement structures, and procedures, he suggested a new Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for those who have looted state coffers and want to come forward and confess.

However, judged by mounting allegations of tampering with list of delegates to the December conference – to the extent that the NEC had to dispatch dispute teams across the country – the perpetrators of state capture and the corruption that goes with it, is unlikely to give up that easy.

One can expect the fight to continue to the bitter end at the conference, and probably beyond, especially if the pro-Zuma faction does not win on the day.  

As things stand, and to what one can deduct from various projections and analysis of available information, a clear win for either side seems highly unlikely.

This, whichever way the outcome of the elective conference goes, will leave South Africa at that crossroad mentioned in our opening paragraph – at least until the general election of 2019 when the electorate at large would have their say.

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by Piet Coetzer

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