ANC centenary: Partying like we don’t have to work tomorrow

2012-01-05 14:19

If a week in politics is a really long time then 100 years is simply unfathomable.

This thought crosses my mind as we make our way to Mangaung for the ANC’s yearly January 8 rally and kick off of its centenary celebrations. I can’t help but have mixed feelings about this assignment.

Any movement that last 100 years, especially one with a rich history deeply rooted in the liberation and well-being of its people, is one that deserves the highest honour.

There are many stalwarts of the party whose lives were exemplary and whose ideals and principles would be the perfect foundation for any society.

But a lot happens in a hundred years. And today I find it hard to look at the party in the same way.

The “I didn’t struggle to be poor” mentality has added another flavour to a rather delicate 100-year brew; a flavour that’s left a bitter taste in the mouths of the very masses who hail them as liberators.

A hundred years down the line and the party is bedevilled by corruption charges, sex scandals and questionable business practices. Anger and frustration among the poor is on the rise and at times I feel a revolt of the urban poor is imminent.

With the unemployment rate sitting at 25%, 70% of Gauteng’s Grade 3 learners being illiterate, and an estimated 5.6 million people living with HIV and Aids, one would imagine that a lasting legacy would be the ANC building 100 schools, 100 clinics, 100 tertiary education institutions, 100 resource centres, 100 factories, 100 counselling centres, 100 roads ...

Instead, we’ll spend more than R100 million celebrating an organisation that seems to care only about its pockets – and we’ll party like we don’t have to work tomorrow (and with a youth unemployment rate of 51%, chances are most won’t have work the next day, and the day after ...).

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