No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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If the ANC's wheels keep on coming off over the next few years, we could possibly see the beginning of a fundamental rearrangement of political forces, writes Max du Preez.
If you are one of those who want to see the ANC fall, you'd better hope it doesn't happen at next year's general election.
It will undoubtedly be bad for our stability and our economy if the ANC gets less than half of the votes next year.
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Not only will it be a massive blow to the person best-placed to lead us out of our present predicament, President Cyril Ramaphosa, but it will likely lead to a coalition government between the ANC and the EFF.
Julius Malema will probably push hard for a key Cabinet post for himself and one or two more for his co-leaders. A shiver goes down my spine at the mere thought of giving populist, socialist and racial fundamentalists that kind of power.
It is, I believe, unlikely to happen. But I also believe the chances that Ramaphosa would be able to modernise and reform the ANC, rid it of its worst struggle hangovers and get it to govern the country efficiently with a new vision are fading by the day.
The more Ramaphosa achieves on the top level, the more we notice the indicators that the rot in his party has probably grown too deep for it to recover.
This is especially true of provincial and local structures in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, North West and the Free State.
There is very little evidence left of a liberation movement bravely striving for freedom, dignity and equality. It's mostly about tenders, jobs, power and money.
The case of Malusi Gigaba shows that the president has anything but a free hand to make appointments and fire senior people, as a president should have. Factions in the party determine what is possible or not.
The evidence is overwhelming that Gigaba had played an active role in enabling the capture of the state by the Guptas and others.
His record as minister in several portfolios is pathetic, even by ANC standards.
His private life is a mess and often plays out in public.
And now the public protector agrees with the courts that he had lied under oath, a cardinal sin for someone in his position.
But on Sunday he subtly threatened the president in a television interview not to fire him.
He was implying that there was a conspiracy in the ANC to get rid of him and destroy his chances of one day becoming president. He could only have meant the Ramaphosa grouping.
He was definitely not going to resign, he said, and he was adamant that he would not disappear from active politics if he were – another clear threat. He added that the ANC Youth League was backing him.
Nhlanhla Nene recently set the example by resigning after a mild fib. Gigaba's sins, and those of ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane, are a thousand times worse. But they are from the anti-Ramaphosa faction, making it much harder to fire them.
Other examples of the ANC's continuing ethical deficiencies are the R2m it received from VBS Bank's biggest shareholder and the initial hesitation to acknowledge this; and the fact that Qedani Mahlangu of Life Esidimeni fame (144 psychiatric patients died) and the allegedly corrupt Brian Hlongwa were kept on as members of the Gauteng ANC's senior leadership.
If the ANC's wheels keep on coming off over the next few years, we could possibly see the beginning of a fundamental rearrangement of political forces.
The way things stand now, it appears that the Ramaphosa part of the ANC and at least half of the DA plus the IFP, Cope, UDM and ACDP form the centre of our politics – social democrats, broadly speaking. I would say this centrist grouping will probably present two-thirds of the voters.
The left will probably group around the EFF and Saftu, with the conservatives in the DA, AfriForum types and the Freedom Front Plus – and possibly some tribal structures – will form the force to the right.
If this indeed happens, South Africans will at long last vote more along the lines of their own conviction rather than race or history. That can only be healthy.
History teaches that countries with a strong centre are usually the most stable nations.
Stability is the one thing that South Africa needs more than anything else.
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