Guest Column

Who runs South Africa?

2017-06-05 10:09
An ANC supporter dances at FNB Stadium. (AFP)

An ANC supporter dances at FNB Stadium. (AFP)

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Thami Ntenteni

The leaking of e-mail correspondence between members of the Gupta family and some Cabinet ministers, board members and CEOs of State Owned Enterprises has once again shined the spotlight on the state of our democracy. The question of who runs South Africa and state capture is one which can no longer be confined to the realm of academic discourse only. It is a matter that must arouse the concerns of all the people of South Africa in the interests of preserving and protecting our hard won democracy.

The Dramatis Personae in this sorry saga are named in the Sunday Times as Atul Gupta, Tony Gupta, Ajay Gupta on the one hand and Cabinet ministers Mosebenzi Zwane, Faith Muthambi, Des van Rooyen, Duduzane Zuma (president Zuma’s son) and Matshela Koko, an Eskom executive on the other.

According to the SA Council of Churches’ Unburdening Panel report into state capture, at the center of these shenanigans is President Jacob Zuma. The report unequivocally and unambiguously states that “…careful analysis makes the case for the following observatory trends of inappropriate control of state systems through a power elite that is pivoted around the president that is systemically syphoning the assets of the state.”

For the purposes of this article state capture shall be defined as “systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision making processes to their own advantage”.

In light of the understanding of the veterans and stalwarts of this definition and overwhelming information of state capture that is in the public domain, the former wrote a letter to the national executive of the ANC in which they quote Andrew Mlangeni saying:

“Our hearts are broken” as we watch some in the leadership of our Movement – undoubtedly a dominant group within the leadership – abrogate to themselves the power of the State to serve their own self-interests rather than the interests of the people of South Africa.”

The letter continues to express “alarm at the overwhelming body of information about the ‘Capture of our Government’ to serve individual and particular commercial interests.”

The stalwarts and veterans of the ANC chose the occasion of the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the 25th May 2017 to call upon the NEC of the ANC “to show leadership to our members, supporters and the nation and exercise its executive power in terms of the Constitution of the ANC to remove from Government all those who are party to this Project of State Capture. In particular, the ANC should seriously consider recalling the President as Head of State and of Government.”

It is now a matter of historical record that the NEC of the ANC failed to heed the call by the veterans and stalwarts to “show leadership” and act decisively to redeem themselves and save the ANC from the present trajectory leading to the demise of the organisation of Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

It is no longer the subject of speculation or conjecture that the current leadership of the ANC has abdicated its historical responsibility to act in a manner that resonates with that which is in the best interests of the people of South Africa.

This leadership has deviated from “the historical mission and revolutionary task of our Movement” which is to use the levers of state power to deal with the triple scourges and the menace of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The African National Congress cannot continue to claim legitimacy as the leader of society when there is overwhelming evidence that it has allowed “systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision making processes to their own advantage.”

The African National Congress has continued to enjoy the confidence and the support of the people of South Africa because throughout its one hundred and five years of its existence it has steadfastly maintained the high moral ground.

Its leadership has at all times and even under the most trying circumstances been guided by the moral and ethical principles of a revolutionary movement.

In 1996 President Nelson Mandela warned against the “dangers of a government that is neither transparent nor accountable.” This was an observation based on our historical experience of the excesses and atrocities committed by the apartheid regime which had gone rogue.

He said “to this end our Constitution contains several mechanisms to ensure that government will not be part of the problem; but part of the solution.”

By choosing to rally behind the president the NEC members have taken a position that violates the sacrosanct precepts of the Constitution of the Republic which speaks to a “transparent and accountable” government based on the will of the people.

The veterans and the stalwarts continue to believe that it is only the convening of a National Consultative Conference that will help the African National Congress to address the crisis of the organization, to diagnose the malaise facing our movement and prescribe the appropriate medication. The ANC needs to confront the challenges it is facing in an honest and sincere manner without prevarication and pandering to the personal and selfish interests of this or that leader.

The National Consultative Conference must prepare the ground for an elective conference which will lead to the election of a leadership that is not tainted by corruption, free of the blemishes of any form of scandal and based on the precepts enunciated in the document “through the eye of the needle.”

Conference must elect a leadership that is the embodiment and personification of the democratic principle of “a government of the people, for the people by the people” and not a government that is a “mafia state” in which the interests of the people are subjugated to “systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision making processes to their own advantage.” 

- Thami Ntenteni writes on behalf of the ANC Veterans and Stalwarts Group.

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