Guest Column

The ANC is beyond reform

2017-07-22 23:45

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Prithiraj Dullay

One cannot forget that the ANC was the midwife that delivered the end of apartheid and the birth of ­democracy.

It was the one organisation which, ­however falteringly, coordinated growing resistance to the former regime inside and outside the country.

Nor can it be forgotten that in the initial euphoria, some progress in providing basics to the people was successful.

Then came the sellout to the International Monetary Fund and the big banks.

The ANC led the country into the neoliberal economy trap.

This meant that the status quo would remain – the economy in the hands of whites and multinationals, and little emphasis on fulfilling the demands of the Freedom Charter.

It was, with a few tweaks here and there, business as usual.

Of course, the new black elite had to be accommodated with shares and directorships in the mega white corporates.

The white captains of industry added another line of defence: the new black elite would be there to fend off black demands for an economy that allowed for full participation and ­economic justice.

And the reality is that the new elite is doing an excellent job of maintaining the status quo.

It is also clear that the ANC of today has little moral connection with the liberation movement it used to be and with the lofty ideals of the Tambos, Sisulus, Mbekis and Kathradas.

Its great struggle legacy has been tattered by the very people who claim to hold sole rights over its ­history.

Worse, these miscreants have used the ANC’s noble history to destroy the movement from within.


The sad reality is that there is no ANC anymore; just the decaying remains of a body feasted upon by the Gupta ­maggots and their captured friends.

How could the once-glorious movement be stripped of its integrity in such a short time?

It took more than 100 years to build a powerful organisation that vanquished apartheid.

It took less than 10 years for its own leaders to bring it to its knees just as it tasted the fruits of victory.

This reeks of a betrayal of all those who pinned their hopes on the ANC for a better life, for a constitutional democracy, for an equitable society and joy after 340 years of every misery imaginable.

Seemingly paralysed South Africans ask: What is to be done? Can the ANC be saved or revived under a new leadership?

My unequivocal answer is no. The rot is so widespread that every excuse trumped up in the ANC’s defence is done so by a moribund executive committee, fearful of its own complicity in state capture and corruption being exposed.

Members of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, the ANC women’s and youth leagues, and the tripartite alliance are scrambling to plug the cracks or deserting the sinking ship.

Their excuses are derided amid growing protests across the land.

Is a revival of the ANC possible? No.

Because it has chosen not the path of a sustainable constitutional democracy, but that of treasonous connivance with external forces like the Guptas, the Bell Pottingers and others yet to be named, to capture the state for purposes of mass looting and to cover their tracks by deflecting criticism to other quarters.

“Betrayal” is the word that encapsulates what the ANC has done to the nation’s centuries-old, cherished dream of enjoying political and economic freedom, and of having its dignity restored.

We are fully aware of the devastation wrought by the apartheid education on generations of our children, yet the ANC government has allowed for the “capture” of education by a union that holds dear only the interests of its members rather than those of the children.

This is perhaps the cruellest betrayal.

Another generation lost, and a second on the way.

Reclaim our dignity

Now we know where we are headed educationally. ­Astoundingly, it has been suggested that a maths pass for grades 7, 8 and 9 be reduced to 20% for promotion purposes.

South Africa is already ranked next to last out of 140 countries in maths education. This reduces our education to “junk” status.

The SABC’s highest post was given to a braggart who forged his matric certificate.

The public broadcaster expelled its most talented staff and replaced them with sycophants, who sang his praises.

The SABC became as trashy as its leadership – all bluster and with no substance.

Then there are our parastatals. Eskom, Transnet, Denel and SAA have been run to ground by incompetent leadership.

Just 17 of the country’s municipalities are functioning in ­accordance with their mandates.

The rest have had their ­resources plundered by government and local residents.

More than 100 incapacitated psychiatric patients were moved from government care to private service providers, with no background checks having been done.

More than 90 of them died of starvation or neglect. But no heads have rolled.

Crime is out of control.

It has to be when the minister of police calls for security guards to protect police and police stations from attack by the very same criminals it is supposed to keep in check.

Is there a reliable record of the number of police-issued guns stolen annually since 1994?

How many have been recovered? How many police dockets have gone missing, ending judicial processes?

I could go on asking a myriad questions, but we know that we will get no answers.

Even the responses we do get are shown up as being little more than cover-ups.

The ANC has self-destructed. People’s power has to ­manifest itself through civil society organisations.

We need a national convention to chart a new way forward so that we can reclaim our dignity as a nation.

Dullay is an academic, author, columnist, and environmental and human rights activist


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