Mpumelelo Mkhabela

The ANC's destruction is now imminent

2017-08-08 22:31

The destruction of the ANC is nearly complete. The national leadership of the party at all levels – its National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee and the Top Six - has been resolute.

The party’s 198 members of parliament added to the list of important decision-making platforms and made the destruction path almost comprehensive.

The process, which started in Polokwane in 2007, has been thorough. The pace fast. The strategy efficient. The ANC has put itself on a track of electoral weaknesses and possible defeat.

The retention of Jacob Zuma as president of the country in the face of mounting evidence that he is a risk to the republic sealed the fate of the party. Consistently looking inward, playing deaf to the cries of many South Africans, the party has become too comfortable under the cover of false invincibility.

For many South Africans who feel violated by Zuma’s disastrous misrule and his transformation of the ANC to a robot that serves his personal interests, the decision of the 198 MPs leaves a bitter taste. Bitter than the previous attempts to remove Zuma because this time around the MPs had a protection.

The debate and the vote exposed several weaknesses of the party. There are no strengths to speak of.

First, not a single ANC speaker during the debate mentioned or said anything close to the name Guptas. It’s almost as if the Indian family has been elevated to the level of higher beings whose names cannot be mentioned without severe repercussions.

They have imposed a caste system on the ANC. They are the kings. The ANC MPs and ministers are the subjects. If anyone thought the influence of the Guptas started and ended with Zuma and ministers, think again.

The motion of no confidence in Zuma was tabled precisely because of a Cabinet reshuffle strongly believed to have been engineered by the Guptas. This resulted in the axing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. A Gupta sympathiser, Malusi Gigaba, replaced Gordhan.

One would have expected the ANC speakers to spend time rejecting the allegations of Gupta influence. None did. Not even a mention of their name or even their country of origin.

Not even a word to vouch whether or not they are citizens in good standing. Nothing.

This leaves South Africans with two possible interpretations of the conduct of the ANC MPs: It’s either they have been captured by the Guptas or they are ignorant of the danger of state capture.

Second, the opposition leaders have earned a huge quantum of moral gravitas relative to the ANC. Out of it, they will reap some electoral dividends in the coming years.

While the opposition leaders – the DA’s Mmusi Maimane, the EFF’s Julius Malema, UDM’s Bantu Holomisa, Cope’s Terror Lekota and IFP’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi - spoke about matters of national interest, the ANC speakers spoke mainly about their own party.

The ANC has failed to gauge the mood of the nation. And this is not the first time.

While many people remember the losses of metros in 2016’s government elections, that was not the only election in which under Zuma the party had registered an electoral decline.

In all four elections the ANC contested under Zuma’s leadership – in 2009 (national), 2011 (local), 2014 (national) and 2016 (local), the party has been haemorrhaging.

In the national parliament, provincial legislatures and municipal councils the party has suffered net losses. Many of its former councillors, MPLs and MPs are jobless.

The deployment space is shrinking fast. With their refusal to remove Zuma, the trend will no doubt continue. In some provinces, such as the Western Cape, the ANC has reached a point of no return to power.

Third, the legal fights that the opposition parties are winning, including the secret ballot case that resulted in the vote of no confidence being held for the first time in secrecy, are educating many South Africans about the workings of our democratic system.

The effect is that more and more voters know the implications of their votes.

Whereas in the past, many voted out of emotions, the current political-cum-legal strategies being implemented by the opposition parties are teaching the electorate to be more rational.

Many people have watched the EFF raised countless point of orders, disrupting proceedings in the National Assembly and being booted out.

Only to defeat the ANC in the courts of law and in the courts of public opinion. Court proceedings are watched by millions of people.

As I write, many can’t wait for the impeachment case against Zuma brought by the EFF in the Constitutional Court on September 5. Nor can they wait to hear outcomes of the Supreme Court of Appeal case on Zuma’s 783 charges on September 15.

The court judgements to come will, like in the past, prove very enriching and educative to voters.

Fourth, the ANC is increasingly using strategies deployed by its erstwhile enemy: The National Party.

The paranoia about a coup is the kind of propaganda that the ANC has plagiarised from the strategies of the architects of apartheid.

The National Party, aware of its lack of legitimacy among the broader population of the country, saw enemies wherever it looked.

The result was a plethora of state security legislation which it passed in Parliament to sustain its rule.

Some of those pieces of legislation resulted in the imprisonment, detention without trial and killing of many liberation movement leaders.

Notwithstanding the fact that the ANC has failed the people, it is nonetheless a duly elected party and leads a legitimate government – minus the illegal coalition arrangement with the Guptas.

So, it’s inexplicable that the ANC would resort to kind of paranoia one would expect from an illegitimate party. Or could it be because the National Party had dissolved into the belly of the ANC?

Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: the strategy is contributing to the demise of the ANC.

Fifth, DA leader Mmusi Maimame waved the Constitution of the country to argue his point. Other opposition parties made passing reference to the Constitution.

ANC speakers made no reference to any clause of the Constitution. They didn’t even mention the oath of MPs.

Opposition parties have become the advocates of the Constitution. The ANC is pitted against it. Ironically, the ANC has made itself the actual opposition to key aspects of the constitutional democratic system which had helped to found. Why this so is a question that requires a full treatise. More on another day.

- Mpumelelo Mkhabela is a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) at the University of Pretoria. 

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. 

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma ­  |  parlaiment
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