Follow the wisdom of the three doctors

2011-07-02 11:23

Politics thrives on fallacies, and the contemporary politics of the tripartite alliance is not an exception.

The “three doctors” pact of 1947, involving the ANC’s Dr Alfred Xuma, the Indian Congress’s Dr Monty Naicker and the Communist Party’s Dr Yusuf Dadoo effectively marked the beginning of the alliance as we know it.

Since then, all leaders of the alliance formations have recognised it as the most potent force for the fundamental social transformation of our country.

The alliance will present itself as a formalised contradiction whenever the ANC prepares for elective conferences and national general elections, deploys its cadres to key executive positions and grapples with difficult policy choices.

Occasional contestations are welcome ­attributes of alliance politics, but in the past few weeks the methods of engagement among the alliance leaders and their youth formations have become overly grandiose, the language irreverent, and the tone peremptory.

Simply put, the alliance is experiencing an erosion in maturity.

This erosion in maturity has made some leaders impatient with and intolerant of each other. They want to see the future of the revolution only through the rose­-tinted glasses of ideological purity.

Then enters the fallacy that once the ANC is cleansed of communist influences or alternatively purged of black capitalist influences it will become a better ANC.

But the ANC has been here many times before.

The breakaway and founding of the Pan ­Africanist Congress in 1959 was triggered by heightened sense of betrayal among youth leaders who were extremely critical of the role and influence of the communists. ­

Almost 50 years later, the birth of the Congress of the People ­became the botched outcome of the futile ­attempt that sought to marginalise the working class for a full decade prior to the 52nd national conference in Polokwane.

One of the fallacies of ideological purity is that once the ANC gets rid of the practice of dual membership and cleanses itself of the communist influence, it will exercise state power better.

Trying to prove that the ANC will do well without the South African ­Communist Party, and presumably labour federation Cosatu, will involve a sociopolitical experiment that is very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

In the process, the ANC would most likely self-destruct and wither. No doubt, the dissolution of the alliance and the break-up of the ANC remains the critical mission of the foreign intelligence agencies operating here.

This outcome is the ultimate prize among the political formations that are a relic of the apartheid past.

As the ANC marches towards its centenary, its leaders need to appreciate that one of its most spectacular successes is how it has smartly built itself to become the real dynamic centre, the crucible in which the future of South African society is imagined and shaped.

The allure of the ANC is enhanced, rather than diminished by the diversity of voices, ideological leanings and convictions within, rather than outside.

When the ANC celebrates its centenary and observes the 65th anniversary of the three doctors’ pact, the leaders of the alliance must dig deep in their souls to find the ­wisdom of the three doctors to take the ­alliance to the next higher summit.

Zungu, ordinary member of the ANC, Rivonia Heroes branch, and businessman, writes in his personal capacity 

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