Tjatjarag: Ungovernability will get us nowhere

2013-11-04 10:00

So, I know I’ve been a bit out of it recently, but did I seriously miss so much?

Did I miss reports of my President at Saldanha on Thursday night saying, “Get those people out of here, security”, when ANC members in T-shirts booed Western Cape Premier Helen Zille at an occasion of state – the launch of an industrial development zone in Saldanha, a beautiful but poor part of the Western Cape. The premier left in a huff.

Did I miss my President then adding: “This Saldanha development zone is for you, all of you who live here, all of you without jobs.

It does not belong to ANC members or to DA members; it is for all of us. The way elections work is that when I get elected, I am the president of all of us, not only of ANC members, but DA members too.

And Helen Zille is the premier for all citizens of the Western Cape, not only for DA members, but for you ANC members too.

Mac, could you go and ask Helen to come back in here? Comrades, quiet, while the premier of the Western Cape addresses us.”

I must have missed it. Like I missed the ANC provincial chairperson and deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, Marius Fransman, announcing this: “I suspend Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla from the ANC pending an investigation into a riot in Cape Town’s city centre this week. As a deputy minister for international relations, I know how important our global reputation for political stability is and I will not have it messed with by young ANC cadres who should know better. I am going to send them to comrade Tony (Yengeni’s) political school to learn about democracy.”

“Riot”, I know, is apartheid speak for legitimate protest, but how was the looting of largely immigrant and worker-owned stalls on Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall in Cape Town a legitimate protest?

By all accounts, Nkohla instructed the looting to begin. Lili is the pooh protest leader of Cape Town and, yes, I’ve said that we people with toilets can’t condemn it when the shit hits the fan, but this week’s protest was violent action targeted at black foreigners and local entrepreneurs.

How is that okay? It all seems part of a campaign to make Cape Town ungovernable, and it has gold, black and green fingerprints all over it.

Some of my favourite people in the world who wear black, green and gold helped make the country ungovernable to knock the final nail in apartheid’s coffin back in the 1980s.

Many of them are from Cape Town and I watched with great admiration as they turned the Cape Flats into a huge no-go zone and then incrementally brought protest right into the city centre.

Ungovernability was a brilliant campaign fought at many levels from the street to Parliament.

It worked, wonderfully. But look back at the documents on ungovernability and it had an end journey: people’s power. People’s power meant street committees, solidarity funds for strikers, literacy groups, women’s empowerment.

The purpose of ungovernability was noble and its end point was always meant to be governing – the era of democracy. Well, here we are.

The ANC is the national government now and surely its campaign for ungovernability in the Western Cape is a campaign against itself?

Can such a campaign possibly have legitimacy in a democracy and, if so, what does it mean for our future? Is the ANC saying that an opposition party, in this case the DA, can never govern legitimately and that its illegitimacy requires a return to the trenches?

Cape Town, like the rest of the country, is a Gini coefficient (a wealth gap) waiting to explode – but so is the rest of South Africa. In fact, there are mini explosions every week: Bekkersdal last week; Duduza this week (a Somalian shopkeeper was set alight).

As we reported last year, the ANC’s different factions are often behind these protests too. It’s not only a Cape thing. I’m perplexed.

Why not simply govern well (or in the case of Cape Town, campaign well to win) rather than engage in making us ungovernable?

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