South Africa has really come far as a nation as we celebrate 20 years of freedom. It hasn’t been easy and many lives were lost, blood was shed by those who devoted themselves to freeing this country from the shackles of racial disparities of the white minority rule. We will remember the pass laws, the ethnic segregation, the brutality of the police and the resistance movements that erupted. Great minds like John Dube had to come to the fore in aid of the oppressed. The activism of the likes of Dube resulted in the formation of the ANC, whose sole aim was to fight the injustices of white rule. It had to take a certain level of selflessness and patriotism from a number of individuals for South Africa to realise the rainbow nation that Nelson Mandela so profoundly cherished. Some of these individuals stand out and are revered across the globe for their contribution to the liberation of the country. But that monumental achievement of April 27, 1994 did not mean that battle had been won, all it meant was that a lot of work lied ahead of us, and we were privileged enough to have someone of such stern leadership qualities like Nelson Mandela to pave the way for us.
His immediate attention was national reconciliation. But in all essence, I believe that Tata had to be the first democratically elected president of South Africa so that he could show us how it’s done and how it should be done going forward, it was now up to Thabo Mbeki and the ones to succeed to pick up where he left off. It somehow some way got off track and we lost direction. Under the Thabo Mbeki government, we saw signs of differences and infighting within the ruling party. At that point Zuma was Mbeki’s deputy and was tipped to succeed him. Zuma was bombarded with criminal charges, which led to him being fired by Mbeki as the country’s deputy president. There was the rape case, amid a scourge of a hapless predicament in the HIV-AIDS pandemic; which was a focal point for Zuma’s predecessors, He went and had unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman. Despite this, he still remained the ANC’s presidential candidate. Then there was the corruption trial and we saw how he fought so that he does not have his day in court to answer to the charges. Ultimately the charges were struck off the roll on some technicality. It left a bitter taste in my mouth that our next president was facing such serious criminal charges. Only time would tell what this kind of a person could do for a country. In a nutshell, all this resulted in Mbeki being called on to resign, fuelled by motor mouth Malema, who had no respect whatsoever for Mbeki and his cabinet, this was instrumental in paving the way for Zuma to ascend the presidency.
At the 2009 general elections, as usual and unsurprisingly so, the ANC won the election and that meant Zuma was now our new president, one who just managed to dodge the wrath of the law. I think this is where they lost it, I started seeing signs of arrogance and big headedness within the ruling party. They speak of how old and big the ANC is, they tell us about everything they have done for South Africa and, they seem to have an attitude that, the people of South Africa will forever be indebted to them for their principal role in their fight against apartheid. They seem to think that they are indomitable, much like the ill-fated, indomitable Titanic. Comments like “the ANC will rule until Jesus comes back” meant that whoever was not happy with the ANC better put a sock in it. I viewed this as a direct insult to South Africa. What if those that are not happy are those that put him in power? Does he mean that they will vote for the ANC whether they like it or not? And those that put him in power were not happy. We can tell from the plague of endless, violent service delivery protest day in and day out. The scourge of police brutality, Wage increase protests, we will remember the fatal Marikana incident. We hear reports about corrupt officials in the government, how can they not be corrupt when their boss has corruption charges over his head? An innocent civilian was sent to 8 years in prison in Brazil for drug trafficking after she was promised employment by the wife of a cabinet minister. The national police commissioner, Ria Phiyega, had never been a police officer in her entire life prior to being appointed the country’s top cop and then you wonder why the county at large has lost faith in the SAPS? It didn’t start with her. Her predecessor, Bheki Cele, was sacked after reports of maladministration in the acquiring of a building to serve as headquarters for the Police force, while Cele’s predecessor, Jackie Selebi, who served under Mbeki, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption. Let’s take a look at education, where in my days a learner, the pass mark for all subjects was 40%, it has reduced to 30% and well, we will vividly remember the Limpopo text books saga, and the honourable Minister Angie Motshekga’s response that it is not her problem, if it is not her problem, then whose is it? And there is the Nkandla saga, which really leaves much to be desired.
I think the ANC, as much as they were or are all about African nationalism, they lost focus somewhere along the way and it looks like it’s causing irreparable damage. If the ANC doesn’t rearrange its leadership structures, they will be sitting on the side-lines and wondering where it all went wrong, as did those who were aboard the Titanic on the grand voyage to America in 1912, ironically, the year in which the ANC was formed. The survivors of the historic disaster watched helplessly as the passenger liner sank into depth of the North Atlantic Ocean, taking down with it at least 1500 souls. It all starts with the leadership, the ANC need to rearrange their leadership structures. It is not a good sign for a president to be booed in full view of the world. They ANC lost its focus and once they realised how fat their bellies can get, they lost focus of the bigger picture and concentrated on enriching themselves first before the people, hence the President felt the need to do renovations to his homestead, while he still had the chance. We no longer have selfless leaders of Mandela’s stature in the ANC and without such, the ANC, like the unsinkable Titanic, is headed for an iceberg. It will happen in the next few general elections to come and this land will be back in the hands of those that oppressed us.