Getting it wrong again

2009-03-31 00:00

Count on the ANC to get it wrong again. Mistake after mistake it keeps making.

Just when South Africans are getting used to living with endemic fraud and theft at government level, venality in high circles, underqualified crony appointments to senior positions requiring high levels of training and skill; just when we are becoming conditioned to a dependable lack of interest in real delivery of services to our people by a Cabinet of indifference and incompetence; just as we are being lulled into a false sense of insecurity, the ANC makes the cardinal error of appointing a person of real intellect, firm resolve and integrity to its ranks.

Barbara Hogan, I mean. Surely they should have known that she would speak her mind without fear and with honesty on issues of principle. Like the inexplicable and crass denial of a visa for a brief visit to South Africa by the Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama. I could have warned the ANC. But then they don’t speak to me any more these days except in expletives.

After all, they knew that she was “not one of us you know” … that is she is not a member of the SA Communist Party.

In truth, the rest of the top structure of the ANC today is virtually wall-to-wall communist. Motlanthe, Zuma, Mantashe, Yengeni, Vavi and Nzimande all carry Communist Party membership cards in their back pockets and pull them out whenever it suits their purpose and not too many people are looking. Of course they aren’t really the communists of old. They are “Gucci” communists, living very well, thank you muchly, driven in big, blue-light escorted vehicles, eating at fancy restaurants (ask Comrade Premier Paul Mashatile), and wearing underwear, suits and dresses that nearly all of us could not afford. I wouldn’t mind all that much if they at least stood for Parliament under the banner of their first loyalty, the SACP. But of course that would be madness. None of them would be elected. Infiltration is a far safer and more sophisticated option, don’t you think?

They had better watch out for what Hogan might say next. For PR reasons she is unlikely to be sacked before the election, but a few weeks is a long time in politics, and she may well yet do more damage, for instance by criticising the Gauteng Provincial Government for throwing its hospitals into a crisis of non-delivery by not paying its hospital bills relating to the provision of medicines, food, linen and so on, this due to patently flawed financial mangement. Now that would be embarrassing. At the very least the ANC should put a gag on her public statements until after the election.

But Barbara Hogan is not the first mistake the ANC has made. What about Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who briefly held the post of Deputy Minister of Health? She was pushed out quickly enough after her air-headed Minister Tannie Oude Meester Manto Tshabalala Msimang complained to Thabo about her high level of competence.

And then there was Andrew Feinstein MP, a staunch ANC supporter, but one of those rare folk who both values and upholds the truth, and spoke up about the Arms Deal corruption. The ANC erred badly in appointing him in the first place.

Lastly, in the early days, the appointment of Bantu Holomisa as a deputy minister was a bad mistake, especially when he pointed out that Cabinet Minister Stella Sigcau had accepted a portion of a bribe paid by Sol Kerzner to the Matanzima family in order to obtain casino rights in the then “independent” Transkei. Holomisa was shown the door but it was too late. The cat was out of the bag.

Really! This is not good enough! But all is not lost. The ANC in Parliament is keeping its sixty or so Travelgate fraudster MPs and reportedly is even paying their debts. That helps.

And they have given an important national award to Fidel Castro, that renowned icon of human rights. But why have they left out Idi Amin and the late President Sese Seko Mobutu, not to mention the late President Sani Abacha of Nigeria? More mistakes. Perhaps Robert Mugabe will get one next year.

At least the ANC has got one thing right and that is to have recruited past disgraced Mayor of Cape Town Peter Marais back into its ranks. He is the type who will do well in the fold of the ANC and perhaps even in government. Who knows, he might even be put in charge of reviewing the re-naming of all the streets in South Africa. He would enjoy that.

• David Dalling is a former Member of Parliament.

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