For a long time, we've all been talking about the corruption, scandals and the sheer scale of managerial failure within the ANC. It's no secret, and it's become almost accepted in South Africa that if there's something to be stolen, ruined or screwed up in SA, the good old government is the team to do it.
What's become even more apparent recently, however, is their utter lack of political skill.
The 'spear' debacle is a good case in point. Had they left it alone, rather than attempting to use it as a soap box, the painting would have slipped into obscurity like most art does. Instead, they turn it into a circus, for the whole world to watch. Eish.
Then there's the DA / Cosatu march issue. A clever politician would have used the opportunity to back up the opposition, and in the process gain the moral high ground. Instead, it appears that they all took lunch instead, and let their allies act like hooligans. The only thing that made them look is ineffectual. They seemed to have lost control completely. Which may be true, but again, perception is everything!
What the ANC has shown the spectacular lack of understanding for is the fact that politics is as much about 'ruling' or governing as it is about marketing, PR and perception.
They could be as useless as they are, but if they had politicians with any level of understanding of 'spin' on their team, they could still come out smelling sweeter at least some of the time.
I suppose the problem is twofold - first, there's the fact that they've got used to the chicken bucket and t shirt campaign strategy. Granted, it does a good job here where their supporters are not politically sophisticated for the most part, but it makes them look like they're a primary school rugby team taking on the All Blacks when you compare them to international political parties.
Then there's the fact that they've got lazier and more decadent (a la the Romans) as their reign of ineptitude has continued. Like the fat, lazy senators, they're more focused on orgy and self pleasure than anything else.
True, there are many other politicians out there who are the same way inclined, BUT they spend time and money creating the illusion that that's not the case.
One thing is sure though - the cracks are showing - and as more stories like the two I've mentioned make it into the international media, things are going to get more and more interesting.
The ANC seems to have lost or silenced any members with any real political savvy, and if they want to get some of the old Madiba magic back (ever) they're going to have to balance cadre deployment with hiring professional politicians very, very carefully. Either they have to up their game in terms of PR, or they might actually have to change their tactics. And we all know that's not likely to happen.
Politics the world over is about smoke and mirrors - we know that. But the ANC seems to have broken the mirrors (and got the seven year's bad luck) and pawned the smoke machine.
It's a bit like watching a car accident. You are disgusted by what you see, but you just can't tear yourself away from the spectacle as you pass by.
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