Where are the heroes?

2008-06-11 00:00

On this page yesterday, columnists Nina Hassim and David Still drew attention to some gloomy aspects of ANC rule. Under the heading “Rich Pickings: the ruling party is for the wealthy”, Hassim summarised the ways — some legitimate, some decidedly dodgy — in which the ANC has in recent years amassed an enormous fortune from a wide range of investments. In the process a substantial number of party elite have become multi-millionaires and even billionaires. This rich elite reminded Hassim of the rise of Russian oligarchs during the Yeltsin presidency, who made vast fortunes by obtaining assets cheaply as they were privatised, and who used these to buy political and other favours. Later Vladimir Putin, viewing them as a political threat, swiftly stripped them of their influence: the interests of the oligarchs, many of whom had come from the ranks of the ruling party, had come into conflict with the party’s interests.

“We need another Sunter today,” says Still, although today’s choice between high and low is different. One is the path to integrity, the other to dishonesty, corruption and eventual anarchy, and he’s not hopeful that the right choice will be made. However, having cited the questionable behaviour of many senior ANC members and officials, he notes, too, that there are many good, selfless and caring people still here.

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