Welcome to the world, Agang!
Hats off to Dr Ramphele for taking a stand, for forming her new party. I wish the party every success going forward.
At present, I regard Agang with the sort of ambivalence so typical of my demographic. I won't be sticking their membership card in my wallet, nor voting for them in 2014, simply because I cannot identify with them. I may yet.
However, as always, it is the sideshows in response, which are most telling...
Response of the ANC and its affiliates
Mantashe: We are hoping against hope that it is not an American initiative aimed at destabilising our country. Our worry is that when this initiative was announced, the foundation was in the US. We are very much alive to concerns by Western powers that liberation movements in Africa are too powerful.
How Mugabe-esque is this? I’m surprised ‘that evil man Blair’ didn’t feature too. Gwede, here’s a newsflash for you… even if the party is funded by the US or the UK or Outer Mongolia, what does that have to do with you? Can we do anything about the fact that the ANC was supported by Castro and the USSR, and is currently supported by China?
ANC spokesman, Mthembu: Whilst Dr Ramphele rehashes the known challenges facing our country, she does not bring any new suggestions to the table. The issues raised by Ramphele were covered in the recent State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma.
Oh dear Jackson, have you been at the Johnny Walker again? The known challenges facing our country have been facing our country for 19 years. Perhaps if the President could stop worrying so much about the style of drapes to be used in the Nkandla Tuckshop, and concentrate on running the country, perhaps we could deal with some of those challenges, and, for a change, report back at a SONA address sometime, that we’ve overcome that. How awesome would that be?
Mthembu again: We will meet her where it matters most - in the hearts and minds of our people.
Ask the IFP, COPE, the UDM, the DA, this is simply ANC speak for violence. The ANC does not understand tolerance, the ANC knows only one thing, thuggery. Take note of the response of NUM (a COSATU union, hence pro-ANC) to the formation of AMCU… they have nothing new to offer their disgruntled members who are leaving to join AMCU, so they resort to violence and destruction. It is the ANC way. The ANC knows nothing of peace.
COSATU spokesman, Craven: We have however to look behind such fine but empty words, at the record of the person uttering them. What we can expect from someone who was a managing director of the World Bank from 2000 to 2004 and the chairperson of Gold Fields from 2010, until she suddenly resigned just days before her Agang announcement
Patty, Patty, Patty… the fact is, somebody who was the MD of the World Bank, and who was on the boards of various companies and institutions, has something that the ANC sorely lacks, credibility. The last time the ANC volunteered one of its own to a world body, was Jackie Selebi and Interpol, and look how well that turned out. In addition, by resigning her current posts before her announcement, Dr Ramphele has acted with integrity. She has indicated openly that her business interests are separate from her politics. Don’t we wish the ANC could say the same?
Craven puts down his drink, and carries on: Workers should not be fooled. The ANC has an incomparably better track record of struggle than any of the opposition parties, including this latest one. (Par:) the ANC and its alliance are more likely to begin economic transformation in the country.
The ANC may have a century of history and 82 years worth of struggle credentials. It unfortunately has no record of performance or achievement. Other than of personal enrichment of the elite, at which it is the undefeated world champion.
I am also curious as to when the ANC intends ‘to begin economic transformation’, on the assumption they haven’t already.
South African National Civics Organisation, SANCO: We believe that these political analysts... think that a certain number of service delivery protests [and] attacks on ANC leadership by other disgruntled individuals, are key pointers that the ANC-led movement is collapsing. All of you are wrong. (Par:) Ramphele and her "elitist following" underestimate the grassroots of African National Congress loyalists.
C’mon, I don’t think anyone is under any illusions that the ANC will continue to win elections nationally and in certain provinces. What is clear is that their track record of delivery is utterly abysmal, and the days of two-thirds without even trying, are over. What Agang, like the DA, brings to SA politics, is a degree of keeping the ANC honest. Make no mistake, the ANC will continue to appoint the speaker of parliament, continue to change to rules of the house, continue to railroad dumb legislation through etc. But effective opposition parties will make this more difficult. There will be small victories, a handful at first, becoming more and more. Until the ANC is forced to take a break from gorging at the trough, and actually do something of substance.
We’ve seen this before… remember COPE?
The birth of COPE held great promise. Significant erstwhile leaders of the ANC had grown fedup with the ANC and its Stalin-esque president’s purges, and formed the new party. But, with hindsight, two things were always against them. Firstly, the co-leaders both held themselves as above the party, to the detriment of the party. The resultant factionalism continues to today. Second, given where the party came from, COPE was always going to be seen as ANC Lite, with nothing to sway the typical DA voter. Even their branch system is based on the ANC model.
Agang is profoundly different in several respects. Dr Ramphele comes from a BCM background. Citizens who identified with Steve Biko will associate readily with her, as opposed to with GodZille and her fat domestic (TM: Juju). Also, the party has been born out of a concern for South Africa, rather than from a slight against two prominent personalities. Lastly, it appears that Agang will be organised on a federal basis, and with service delivery as its core value. This will appeal to the average DA voter, and to the handful of ANC supporters who realise they have been disappointed year after year after year, and demand something new.
It’s all good. There’s never a dull day in South Africa politics, and we welcome the new player. My most fervent wish is that those of us who can identify with the new party, are freely permitted to join up, to take part in party activities, and to vote for whom they like, without fear of retribution.
(PS: News24 editors, please could you clean up the text sizing... I just cannot get the whole lot to the correct and uniform size. This text editor must be made by the ANC.)