Max du Preez

ANC leaders have let us down

2008-08-06 08:31

Max du Preez

Never before have so many politicians showed their true colours so clearly in such a short time as the new ANC leadership had done the last few days.

I'm not talking about the ANC Youth League's Julius Malema. He is just an immature, attention-seeking clown. I suspect he isn't blessed with too much grey matter either. When he says he's "prepared to die for Zuma", my instinctive thought is: show us, please comrade.

(If you're one of those scared whiteys who gets nervous when Malema threatens violence, remember that the Youth League couldn't even organise its own congress, never mind get it together to paralyse the country.)

I'm also not talking about Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi. He is so jealous of the publicity Malema is getting for huffing and puffing and making hollow threats that he is trying to out-Malema Malema to also get on TV. For someone who attacks Zanu-PF so often, he really sounds like a Mugabe thug. We can never take Vavi seriously again.

I'm not even talking about the SA Communist Party's Blade Nzimande. We've known since before Polokwane already that he's not worth the shadow of former SACP leaders like Chris Hani and Joe Slovo. Nzimande is an intellectually dishonest weakling.

Heavyweights

No, I'm talking about heavyweights like Mathews Phosa, Gwede Mantashe and Baleka Mbete. Leaders we thought were going to revive our dreams and bring us a government closer to the people after the next election.

Phosa is a former premier and chair of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut. He is a poet (in Afrikaans, nogal) and he is a smart and decent guy. Or so I thought.

Mantashe is the intellectual giant from the trade union movement who was destined to bring a sane voice to government and the ruling party on behalf of the working class. Or so they said.

Mbete is the Speaker of the National Assembly who has risen from a shaky start in politics to being a powerful, respected leader. Or perhaps I was really mistaken when I thought that.

Instead of being leaders, these three were doing the Zuma toyi-toyi like cheap populists outside the Pietermaritzburg court and bad-mouthing the judiciary in tandem with the Youth League delinquents.

Instead of serving the greater good, or even the real interests of the ANC as a whole, these politicians were simply ingratiating themselves to Zuma and his cheering commando.

Pass me my machine gun and screw the constitution, seems to be their message.

Silence

And then there is the Presidential Vice-President, now a cabinet minister, Kgalema Motlanthe. At least he didn't take part in the Pietermaritzburg circus, but his silence was louder than Malema's hysterical shouting.

I would have thought he, and former Defence Force chief and MK heavy Siphiwe Nyanda who was sitting in the court's public gallery, would have thought it dangerous for a former guerrilla commander (in uniform in the streets in front of the court) to threaten "no Zuma, no country". Not a squeak from either man.

But perhaps they know deep down that MK could never organise a piss-up in a brewery, so we shouldn't be frightened by their cheap threats.

I do not believe for one second that bright people like Motlanthe, Phosa, Mantashe and Mbete really believe that Zuma will not get a fair trial in the High Court. They know he will. Their charge that he won't is opportunistic and reckless.

I was all for the New ANC after Polokwane. But if this is the leadership that is going to surround President Jacob Zuma after next year's election, then we were better of with the Essop Pahads and Manto Tshabalala-Msimangs.

I think I need a drink.

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