Propaganda disguised as fact

2014-02-26 10:00

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Gwede Mantashe thinks Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo’s book on the ANC reads like propaganda.

In their treatment of events in history and society, intellectuals are required to take their responsibility seriously.

Those who write must assume a greater responsibility.

This demands they are accurate and factual in their treatment of the topic, historical events and research data.

The reason is to ensure that literature, like the book The Fall of the ANC, What Next? by Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo, is a source of knowledge and education instead of a propaganda tool.

Who are the authors?

They belong to the Midrand Group?...?young intellectuals whose mission has been to define our world beyond and away from the ANC.

Their raison d’étre is the demise of the ANC. The book could, therefore, be viewed as a culmination of many years of discussion among them.

The commitment to realise the book is seen when Mashele was a negotiator with the DA on behalf of Dr Mamphela Ramphele.

Fact or fiction?

The authors have sacrificed accuracy and fact for anecdotal inference, which they use as a means to propagate their views.

»?Sins of incumbency or negative tendencies

The ANC uses these terms to analyse the challenges facing us today. Such analysis derives from an attempt to understand today’s realities?...?so that we find solutions.

This recognition is said to be an admission of demise.

»?Hatred for Jacob Zuma

Zuma is mentioned four times in the first page.

This calls into question the ability of the writers to produce analysis.

Hence an unsubstantiated assertion such as “Political and social developments are, by their nature, fluid, and anyone who pretends to have divine insight should be doubted.”

»?“Why do we seem to be experiencing reversal instead of building on the vision painstakingly laid by leaders such as Nelson Mandela?”

This is unsubstantiated and the facts point to the contrary.

Mandela proclaimed the ANC policy for access to free medical care for pregnant women and for children up to six years old.

Today, they receive free ARVs and the children, free healthcare.

Also, 98% have access to electricity, 95% to clean water and sanitation.

Shallow understanding

This is reflected in their assertion that “the formation of the ANC in 1912 was a direct response to the whites-only Union government”.

The authors deny the existence of the wars of resistance, the vigilante associations (provincial congresses) and the prophetic words of Pixley ka Isaka Seme in 1906.

These are factual historical events that preceded and led to the formation of the ANC.

The authors also show their ideological position, exposing their lack of knowledge of ANC policy, by accusing it of declaring an intention to transfer the commanding heights of the economy to the state.

The Freedom Charter is explicit that the people demand a mixed economy with an active state in the productive economy.

Struggle for a country

Questioning the ANC’s readiness to govern is cynical. It disregards the experience every liberation movement undergoes?–?the transition from being a liberation movement to governing.

What the authors fail to say is that there have been four successive, majority ANC governments at national, provincial and local government levels.

In 20 years, the ANC has delivered for the poor, managed the economy and monetary institutions efficiently and ensured that all state institutions function as directed in the Constitution.

What is the reality?

Predecessors of Mashele and Qobo predicted and worked for the fall of the ANC. Today the ANC is 102 years old and growing.

The ANC has gone through various moments of renewal as characterised by specific historical events.

The ANC has developed under different leaders.

Seeing Mbeki as a victim, instead of a great leader who committed mistakes, betrays the authors’ lack of depth in understanding the ANC.

The authors speak in absolute terms, which is not the reality of the ANC.

The ANC stands for certain values stated as building a united, nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

This is the standard by which South Africa is judged.

The ANC cannot resent the progress it has made, it must celebrate it.

The fall of the ANC is a sentiment shared among anti-majoritarian liberals who relegate people into objects.

People who read this book must read JP Landman’s The Long View to distil the difference between facts and fiction.

Mantashe is Secretary General of the ANC

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