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More Opinion and Analysis

How the ANC and Zuma had us fooled

2014-05-06 18:18
(AFP)

Watching the Siyanqoba rally on TV last sunday had me both embarrassed and pitiful on behalf of the party I once so loved. The leaders were visibly shaken and insecure in their stature and speech. They either sounded defensive or like they themselves were struggling to believe their own words.

Blade looked too fidgety. He spoke in a rush without even attempting to connect with the audience. It was as if he was racing through a sea of potential boos, paddling for dear life anxiously. Zuma did not take the rushing approach. He rather humbled his stature prayerfully, finding more refuge in the pages he grasped so dearly than the unpredictable crowd he faced before him. He looked even pleasantly surprised himself when at times the crowd broke into cheers in-between some of his not so engaging sayings.

Dr. Malinga the singer was more in a victorious spirit than most of the ANC legends. To me they resembled unsure and chancy underdogs at their own Siyanqoba (We Are Winning) rally. In his speech, Zuma was not talking to his people but was reading – and rather badly – like an ill prepared and nervous pupil during a dictation exercise.

In his tediously long address, Zuma did not forget to reiterate the ANC’s allegiance to the notorious two arms of global imperialism, namely G20 and BRICS. At one point he quickly switched into his native Zulu to get the distant crowd involved and a bit excited, for all of five seconds maybe.

Some kids were hushed to the gigantic stage that was set on the Soccer City pitch, and were presented with a huge stretch of cloth and paints and brushes to artistically scribe the words ‘VOTE ANC’. The exercise proved moderately clumsy, since the resulting work in words and colours was neither bold nor defined, as unconvincing as was Cyril and Gwede as they chanted over a tune sometime along the dreadfully taxing experience.

Some of the crowd gradually faded out of the colossal state of the art stadium as President Zuma read on his key note address. The same could not be said of course about the other side of the grass, in the sunshine region of Tshwane, wherein the EFF held its Tshela Thupa (Give A Hiding) Rally. Julius Malema spoke directly to the crowd like a skilled MC would, relying and feeding off their response, which was something Jacob on the other side couldn’t risk, fearing the booing that has come to characterise his public appearances lately.

Political Apathy

The DA, patronising as it can get, is right when it says the ANC is not the same as before (Ayisafani). The ANC of today is basically not the one our people voted for 20 years ago. I have no doubt that corruption and secrecy in the ANC stretch further back than most loyalists would bear to admit. The leadership might have been swimming with sharks for a while but the people on the ground took them for genuine liberators. But as we know, no level of secrecy can survive the piercing curiosity of time, no matter how long the process takes. Empires always soar to a climax and then either collapse or decline.

It has become apparent that over the 20 years of secretive ANC rule, public interest in politics has dropped significantly, which in itself is nowhere near positive. According to a voter turnout data (www.idea.int), in 1994, in a population of 40,436,000, 23,063,910 were eligible to vote, but only 19,726,610, voted, which was an impressive 85.53% of the voting age public. In 2009, in a population of 49,052,489, 31,678,238 were eligible to vote, but only 17,919,966 voted, which was alarmingly only 56.57% of the voting age public.

Had it not been for the haphazard rise of both Agang and EFF out of the blue, I suppose much less than 25 million people would have registered for this year’s elections. The reality is, the ANC as a trusted majority is guilty of creating gradual political apathy. It has not managed in its leadership to keep people engaged and to keep expanding its voters and/or membership. In 1994, 85% of the people who could have voted did, but in 2009, only 56% of the people who could have voted did. That’s not a good story to tell.

The fact is, by Mbeki’s second term, people were openly fed up and frustrated with the ANC leadership and its illusive nature. The party was clearly rocked by waves of scandals, factionalism, corruption, and tribalism in its idealised democratic voyage. The only reason why the ANC managed to still pull a 2/3 majority win in 2009 was, Zuma had us all fooled. We were all fooled into thinking Zuma was the leader we had been waiting for.

The ANC managed to draw its largest percentage (69.69%) at the polls in 2004, in Thabo Mbeki’s second term. But compared to 1994, where 12,237,655 million people voted ANC, in 2004 the number had shrunken to 10,880,915. Despite the 2004 landslide victory, there was much discontent in the membership and the Youth League in particular, considering the direction the party was taking in Economic Policies, drifting further and further away from its fundamental Socialist ideals.

Friends Of Jacob Zuma

I was staying in Polokwane in 2004/5, and was well acquainted with some prominent figures in the ANC and the Youth League. I wasn’t a member but was a poet who found common resonance with the Young Lions and their feisty spirits in this jungle of global politics. Desmond ‘Zulu’ Buthelezi was one of those ANCYL brothers I was close with, and he was quite fond of our poetry movement, Senyora. He wanted us to join the ANC but we were not entirely convinced.

Desmond would always stress that Thabo Mbeki was actually a sell-out. He would tell us Jacob Zuma was the president the people really wanted, more especially the Youth League, which was influential in the steering of the movement, though not so technically. Desmond would point out how Thabo Mbeki was actually a capitalist sell-out who ‘was flying to Washington every week’ to meet the despised George W. of America. Zuma on the other hand was projected as a working class hero, who was bringing a positive revolution with him.

It therefore became believable when then president Thabo Mbeki, pending serious charges involving Zuma in the Arms Deal, decided to release Jacob Zuma from his duties as Deputy-President of the country. Jacob Zuma was down, but not out, especially because he had the staunch support of the Youth League and the Unions. He didn’t make it any easier to doubt him when he keenly sang his signature tune of ‘Awuleth’ Umshini Wam’ (Bring My Machine Gun) like a wounded but determined activist. Mbeki was Scar and Zuma was the young Simba, deliberately robbed of his inheritance by his jealous uncle.

So my old friend Desmond Buthelezi seemed right at the time. It appeared as if there was a conspiracy by Mbeki and his people to silence Zuma, the ‘revolutionary’ we all believed in. Everyone can remember the chaotic period (c. 2006) of the ‘Friends Of Jacob Zuma’ campaign, and that black bulletproof Range Rover which hushed ‘Umsholozi’ in and out of court houses, ever flanked by four or five bulky overworked bodyguards.

At that time, we were so desperately searching for a hero that we chose to overlook Zuma’s Arms Deal scandals and proceeded to sanctify him as our Moses. We stood by him without ever wavering as he fought his rape charge and its gory details, and we believed like Julius Malema then that Zuma was being framed. It seemed Mbeki and his Capitalist masters were doing all they can to silence this dearest son of the soil, and we stood by him fully.

Betrayal and Disillusion

But not very long after Jacob Zuma came into power, it became obvious that he was yet another ANC leader, full of talk but no action. Soon it became painfully clear that Zuma was simply carrying forth the torch of subjection that the ANC has held for so long, that continues to glorify foreign domination of our land and resources. Zuma strengthened ties with the Capitalist west while signing committing deals with the new leftist but globalist union called BRICS (Brasil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

In the BRICS deal, it wasn’t hard to figure out that once again SA was being manipulated for resources and labour by the same people behind G20 and others. South Africa was the only African participant in this set up. It became plain that this union was also made up of large population countries, which collectively made up a significant percentage of the world population. This arrangement as usual is supposedly for our benefit, but it only further snips off our independence and sovereignty.

When it transpired that the ANC wasn’t moving toward its revolutionary principles, the ANC was once again deeply divided. The issue of Nationalisation forcibly made its way to the centre of discussion, and Zuma and his people did not mince their words when they criticized the subject or its suggestion. Undeniably, Julius Malema and many others like me were disillusioned by all this. I called my friend Desmond, who had convinced me Zuma was bringing change to expound on this, but he simply chuckled and shrugged.

Everything seemed hopeless at this point. It seemed we were even further from ever resolving the deepest issues which haunted our nation. There was no way we could continue in ‘master and slave’ relations with the West and their allies here in South Africa, who kept the wealth to themselves and the majority in adverse poverty, as per Free Market regulations that were termed democratic. Land reform and wealth redistribution were issues the ANC governance was going to keep evading, it appeared.

Economic Freedom Fighters

When Julius and his own group further pressed for dialogue and review about Nationalisation and wealth redistribution they became enemies of the ANC leadership therefore. Now it was clear that Zuma was just a mouthpiece of the White Imperialists, as Thabo Mbeki’s mother Ma Mbeki hinted in a City Press interview early this year. Zuma was as attached to the West as was both Mbeki and Mandela. There was no revolution that would take place anytime soon.

The dream of Africans ruling their own destinies and owning the means of production was a dream that would not be realised anytime soon. Not so long as Europe and America have been profiting so much from our minerals, land and labour, and are still having a great feast by the looks. Not so long as those who benefitted from iniquity and apartheid continue to bask in the rainbow shade of Mandela’s ingenuous reconciliation philosophy.

It was the same white imperialists who control and make decisions on behalf of the ANC leadership who decided Julius Malema was a pest that should be ‘doomed’ or expelled from the ANC. So a decent disciplinary committee was forged about and swiftly came to a decision that Julius had no place in the ANC anymore. No matter how much he begged or suggested corrective measures himself, like a suspension, the Hannekoms and the Ramaphosas wouldn’t hear of it. To them he had committed an unforgivable crime and was no longer fit for membership.

This in itself culminated in the formation of the ANC’s greatest challenge since 1994, the Economic Freedom Fighters. All those who were disgruntled with the ANC for the past 20 years were now sympathising with Julius and his new political movement, the EFF. Those whose views were suppressed and subjugated when Mandela switched from his Nationalist ethics suddenly found a home and new hope in EFF. Malema’s charisma and policies were after all what had excited the ever dwindling number of the voting public to still go out in numbers and vote for Jacob Zuma in 2009.

COPE was formed in retaliation of Mbeki’s atrocious ousting by Zuma and his then right hand man, Julius Malema. Many people would have gone along with COPE, had they believed Thabo Mbeki and his faction were indeed doing something right before his ousting. But the people sided with Zuma because they believed ‘Umsholozi’ was finally going to usher in a new age of African Independence, Innovation and Unity. But all that time revealed in Zuma was another tribalist and nepotistic aristocrat, much interested in his own welfare than the public’s.

Elections Prognosis

I wonder if it’s logical or rather propagandist when statistics and media groups maintain the ANC will still win these elections comfortably. Despite the corruption, the betrayals, the dishonesty, the factionalism and the large fallouts by members and supporters alike, some people still say the ANC will win these elections comfortably.

From my own assessment, which may be misled or prejudiced, I think the ANC has lost its majority. They boast a million or so members, and I just wonder how many of those will actually cast their votes beside Zuma’s trademark grinning face. Are these the same people who defensively reason that they vote not for Zuma but for the ANC?

Of the 11 million who voted ANC in 2009 – if the poll results are to ever be trusted – most were doing so as disgruntled and fed up voters, hardly in any joviality. So how many of those, despite everything which has transpired will still vote ANC? Like I said, the ANC has about 1,2 million members, and we’re not sure just how many of those will still stick with the party in solidarity. The voting public which has previously supported ANC is no guarantee.

I found myself absently wondering what my old comrade Desmond Zulu Buthelezi would say about the stature of things as they stand. Unfortunately Desmond was murdered in Mpumalanga while on his way to the historic Mangaung conference of December 2012. He was killed in what appeared to be a personal matter, and not politically motivated at all. I guess even he might have been somehow negatively affected by the current conduct in his beloved organisation.

Personally I would want the EFF to win these elections, but as detractors say, this is a very far-fetched hope. I would like the ANC to muster at this point only 7 million (±28%) votes at most. I sincerely hope EFF gives the ANC leaders and their 4000 Mangaung delegates the surprise of their lives, and teach them a lesson never to be forgotten. I would like South Africans to own their Reserve Bank and their land and minerals.

Closure

But if those who disagree with our views are stronger and adamant that there should not be change, and their global quest is more significant, then what are we to do? So long as our leaders stand in guard and subservience to foreign and backward regimes, our people will continue to suffer. They will use whatever necessary means at their disposal to maintain their corrupted rule. For them stepping down is as good as suicide. Therefore we will continue in our relentless fight against them and their imperialism, using whatever limited means we have within our reach.

We don’t trust the credibility of our polls but we just hope for the best. Either way, regardless of the results, our pursuit for true freedom will never recede until it is achieved. Those of our leaders who wronged our course and cause will either surrender or be numbered with the enemies of true freedom, and thus receive due retribution.

Those of our former oppressors in our land must either turn from their external networks or be destroyed through the arm of justice. As for the global imperialists, their greatest threat is not us, for we are David and they are Goliath. Their greatest threat is the very paramount power they sit on, and that’s worth serious reconsideration I feel.
Read more on: anc  |  eff  |  elections 2014

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