Ruling party disillusions

2009-01-06 00:00

The Titanic was unsinkable, said its builders. How wrong they were. Jacob Zuma has been quoted as saying that the African National Congress will rule South Africa until the second coming of Jesus. This is the same person who only a few weeks ago referred to his political opponents (until recently his comrades) as donkeys, snakes and baboons, but who now urges his followers to show respect to other political parties and their leaders.

This is the political leader who belatedly avows his allegiance to the Constitution and the rule of law, but when his ANC secretary general and communist leader Gwede Mantashe attacks two black judges whose judgments did not please him by calling them apartheid apologists, he remains silent.

The truth is that anyone calling him or herself a comrade has a “licence to kill”, politically at least, and he or she uses this licence to achieve his or her own ends.

Newspaper reports, for instance, suggest that a serious rift has developed between President Kgalema Motlanthe and Blade

Nzimande, who is apparently plotting Motlanthe’s early downfall. How, we wonder, would Nzimande survive if he wasn’t embroiled in some sort of distasteful squabble with one or other faction of the ANC. He is definitely a comrade carrying a big knife.

The ANC, worried about its loss of support in the Western Cape, has sent in a team of so-called “heavyweights” to sort out its provincial structures. And who have the ANC appointed as chairperson of its “rescue squad”? None other than Nomaindia Mfeketo who, as past mayor of Cape Town, presided over a rapid decline into a state of organisational chaos, corruption and the resulting failure of service delivery. Don’t hold your breath. She is not about to save the ANC in the Western Cape. Another member of her specialist task force is the minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan, who is not renowned for his organisational prowess. While Julius Malema is being kept in a closed box for the time being he will surely return with his well-known bile and spray spittle as soon as the election is over.

The latest example of this ANC leadership paranoia is amply illustrated by the issue of affirmative action raised by Mosiuoa Lekota who had the temerity to suggest that affirmative action be deracialised and give succour to all in our country who are in need and ensure the utilisation of all who have skills to offer. The knee-jerk reaction by the ANC to this suggestion was less than rational.

Allan Boesak reinforced Lekota’s views on this subject and was reported as saying that “the government’s interpretation of affirmative action is putting narrow ethnic considerations before South Africa’s skills needs”.

Boesak is quite right. Thousands of skilled coloured, Asian and white South Africans live and deliver their skills in foreign lands while we do not have enough maths and science teachers to cover the schools being built. A whole corps of these teachers has been lost by this short-sighted policy. Thousands of qualified people have left the country because they believe that the ANC government’s policy and unfriendly attitudes block their own and their children’s progress. The outcome is a massive shortage of essential expertise in South Africa.

Boesak is right on another issue. Minority groups feel totally marginalised by the government’s actions and radical interventions, purges and the like. Under the apartheid government, coloured people were considered too dark to be fully empowered politically and economically. Under the ANC the same coloureds are considered too pale to be part of the new South Africa. As a result much of the cream of this community is busy delivering services, creating jobs and using their expertise in countries far away.

I do not here wish to argue the points raised by Lekota and Boesak.

However, the point missed by the ANC, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and various black professional organisations is that the Lekota suggestion does not eliminate any person, black, coloured or Asian, from being eligible for affirmative action consideration. All that is intended is that people in need and who can offer essential skills regardless of race should be allowed to benefit under the ubuntu umbrella of affirmative action.

Consider too that every skilled person in the country helps create new jobs for others while mentoring and teaching. So these ill-considered condemnations of ideas do little to help our fellow South Africans or our economy.

To get back to the Titanic. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said of the Russian submarine Kursk: “It sank.” So did the Titanic.

And make no error, powerful though it may be, the ANC is not immune from public disillusionment. It can sink too. But to help that along, we who are determined not to hand over our country to the self-serving Gucci Communists and Travelgate beneficiaries must stand up. Time to join a political party and do some work.


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