Guest Column

How the mighty have fallen

2017-04-23 06:17
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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Mavuso Msimang

The plaintive plea by Umkhonto weSizwe veteran Omry Makgoale to the ANC to overhaul its antiquated system of electing its leaders has gone unheeded by the powers that be.

Various factors will render the outcome of the December poll less than satisfactory.

A significant number of ANC branches, whose delegates participate in electing NEC members, have been heavily infiltrated by people whose sole purpose is to advance personal financial gain.

In some areas, there exist parallel branch structures.

Chaotic administration has left many members who may be in good standing without membership cards.

The leadership knows this and periodically decries the state of affairs, without providing effective remedies.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has, at times, been obliged to warn those in leadership contests against starting their electioneering campaigns ahead of officially sanctioned times, to no avail.

This time around, the ruling pigs at Animal Farm have already echoed George Orwell in stating that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

It is in the spirit of this dictum that ANC Women’s League head Bathabile Dlamini made it clear that she and her followers would prefer Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be the next ANC president in December.

Dlamini added that she hoped her candidate would go on to win the 2019 national elections and preside over the country as well.

The ANC Youth League has backed up the women’s league.


Both must have been delighted when Dlamini-Zuma received protection from the Presidential Protection Service following a so-called threat assessment.

Ordinarily, the SA Police Service guards citizens in this predicament, but it is likely different on the ANC’s Animal Farm.

President Jacob Zuma found it necessary to explain, at the beginning of the year, that he and the ANC were ready for a female president.

Just so there was no confusion as to whom he was not backing, he went on to say there existed neither policy nor tradition in the ANC that would justify any expectation that the deputy president would automatically become president when the current one departed.

It was “a mere coincidence”, Zuma asserted, that Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were succeeded by their deputies.

A polite correction, Mr President.

Chief Albert Luthuli and James Moroka were also succeeded by their deputies.

That stretches the record of unbroken successions to five during the past 68 years. Well, how long is a piece of string?

It ought to be clear to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa that the “coincidental” successions alluded to will not help him become president, should he aspire to that high office.

His tepid campaign – endorsed by fractured labour federation Cosatu and a motley assortment of others, may leave him stranded as Dlamini-Zuma forges ahead.

Following the ANC’s humiliating performance in the municipal polls last year, stalwarts and veterans proposed to the leadership that a national consultative conference be held to discuss the revitalisation of the organisation.

After stringing the group along for a while, the leaders publicly spurned the veterans, who collectively pack more than 7 000 years of service to the ANC.

Had the proposal been endorsed, these topics would have been discussed: ANC membership criteria; leadership qualifications; the updating of election procedures; and managing potential conflicts of interest.

It was hoped that decisions taken here would be adopted at the next elective conference.

In the absence of such review processes, it is hard to imagine how the NEC, the party’s exulted council, will be saved from the quandary of continuously having in its ranks:

- A disproportionate number of individuals who lack the requisite leadership qualities – people who would sooner breach their oath of office than tackle an errant leader.

- People incapable of a reality check.

They bask in the hollow glow of controlling a majority of municipalities, while strategic metros, which host Parliament, the seat of government and the hub of our economy, are ruled by the opposition.

They fail to see that the ANC has lost the support of large sections of organised labour, the youth and urban blacks.

- Leaders who publicly challenge the calamitous actions of their leader and then shamelessly justify their ignominious retreat.

They find nothing degrading about being accused of having guilty secrets, and are rendered incapable of challenging scandal and wrongdoing.

- Individuals who trivialise serious matters such as the downgrading of the country’s credit rating to “junk” status by irresponsibly dismissing it as inconsequential and glibly talking of “picking up the rand if it falls”. These leaders revel in clowning while the country burns.

- People who impugn the dignity of others and defame respected leaders, yet are allowed to continue in office.

Tough times lie ahead for an ANC that believes, in the words of its president, “the ANC comes before the country” and “if they [the people] are not part of the ANC ... they could be misled”; a leader who believes that the Constitution just exists “for convenience”.

An ANC that stands behind a leader who says his party will rule until the Second Coming may not have recognised the prelude to the return of the Son of Man in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay during the 2016 polls.

It may have also have missed the relevance of the 80 000 people who marched to the Union Buildings on April 12, demanding that Zuma goes, followed by other similar citizens’ marches.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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Read more on:    anc  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  bathabile dlamini  |  gwede mantashe
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