Cliques or no cliques: get the job done

2009-04-18 00:00

IN less than a week the diverse South African public will go to the polls to elect democratically a new government. Political parties have had their say and there is little that can now be said to woo voters, except for the confused voter who does not have a clue about what is going on and does not appreciate the long-lasting repercussions of elections.

It is clear, and even opposition parties have conceded, that the ruling ANC is going to win most, if not all, of the provinces, as well as consolidate its majority nationally, whether it’s through a two-thirds majority or not.

My biggest concern is not about by how much the ruling party will sweep the stakes at the elections but what will happen after it has retained power.

I am especially concerned about this because there continue to be cliques within the party, which have somewhat polarised it. Each clique has its own preferred candidates, something that can be seen as democracy in action by some, but this is not the case when people are competing on the one side and have daggers drawn on the other side. We have all seen how instability in the ruling party has hampered service delivery.

What is especially destructive about these cliques is that Mbekites are likely to be sidelined and with the skills shortage both at political and at administrative levels, service delivery will be hampered, one way or another.

A case in point is local government MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu who was tipped to become KwaZulu-Natal premier when former president Thabo Mbeki wanted to replace then health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

Acting Health Minister Jeff Rabede would have replaced Msimang, while KwaZulu-Natal premier Ndebele would have become transport minister in Radebe’s place and Mabuya-khulu would have taken over from Ndebele.

Mabuyakhulu had been seen to be a Zum-ite but when Mbeki sent him the letter confirming his appointment, he was willing to stand up and be counted.

However, ANC treasurer-general Mendy Msimang, Tshabalala-Msimang’s hubby, fought with Mbeki, asking him why some ministers seem to stay in service until they die, as Steve Tshwete and Stella Sigcau did, and that succession plan was thrown out the window.

It would be sad if the likes of Mabuyakhulu go to waste, regardless of which clique they belong to. Ndebele’s having been voted best premier in the country, shows that he was on to something during his term.

With his reconciliatory tone, I trust president-in-waiting Jacob Zuma aka Phunyukabemphethe (never say die) will do the right thing and allocate key positions not according to who sings the loudest at his court appearances, but according to who will deliver in accordance with the national agenda.

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