Ralph Mathekga

2016 is done and dusted - what will 2017 bring?

2017-01-02 13:15

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2016 is done and dusted, and now it's all about expectations regarding what 2017 will bring with it. South Africa’s political calendar usually opens with the ANC’s January 8th statement; which is a birthday celebration for the party.

This year the ANC is turning 105 years old. Congratulations to the oldest liberation party on the continent!

The ANC uses the January 8th statement, delivered by the president of the party, to set the tone regarding the priorities that the party will be pursuing during the year. The ANC also uses this event to reflect on the year that has been. 

Usually, the ANC January an 8th celebration is a big feast for the party.

Having attended a few of those celebrations as part of the media contingency, it is always about the ANC flexing its muscle, demonstrating that the party has support among ordinary people. Quite often in those celebrations, stadiums are filled as people are bussed in from different provinces.

It is usually during this event that one can tell that unlike the opposition parties, the ANC does have a solid identity and perhaps also an extensive line of clothing. This is the time when one sees different party paraphernalia; including recorded liberation songs that are played out loud on the streets just remind people that it is the ANC that played a role in leading the liberation movement in the country.

This is a very important reminder for the “born frees”; so they don’t start believing that it is the EFF that led the anti-apartheid movement in the past.

I will soon come back to the ongoing contest of history and will respond to the question as to whether it is the ANC that prominently led the anti-apartheid movement in SA, or it was the then UDF (United Democratic Front) that has provided that leadership. I think the dissatisfaction with the poor performance of the ANC leaders in government is responsible for the increasing boldness by some to even contest the historical role of the ANC leaders who were in exile during apartheid years.

We will return to this increasingly contentious point very soon. For now, the fact is that the ANC is celebrating its 105 years as a party. In this situation of poor performance in government and increasing levels of corruption, the ANC leaders would prefer that we focus on the 83 years part of the history of the party.

That is the part of the history of the ANC that is glorious and during that time the ANC was responsible for challenging the apartheid government. In other words, the ANC was such a great party when it was not in government. 

The 22-years’ experience of the ANC in government, particularly the 9 years in which Zuma took the leadership of the party, has been a very tense period for the party. The ANC had come under heavy criticism from the opposition parties and also some members of the party have also joined the chorus. Zuma has had to defend himself at every turn of a corner; to a point where some members of his cabinet have also gathered the courage to openly state that they lost confidence in his leadership. This makes this January 8th celebration even more interesting.

Will Zuma use his January 8th speech to fend off criticisms from within his own party or will he focus on enemies from outside the party?

Except for making a few remarks while meeting structures of the ANC, Zuma has not said much about the attempted coup that was staged within the NEC towards the end of last year. The mutineers such as Rob Davies and Aaron Motsoaledi have yet to experience any consequences after their failed bid to remove Zuma through the NEC.

One way or another, there must be a battle plan in place to ensure that Zuma survives 2017as the leader of the party and that of the country. The tone of the January 8th speech to be delivered by Zuma in a week’s time will begin to outline that battle plan. It is clear that 2017 will be intense with political infightings within the ANC.

Opposition parties, on the other hand, will be doing their bids through courts as they seek to catch Zuma where he least expects; through the legal system.   

Read more on:    anc


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