Watching the Siyanqoba rally on TV last sunday had me both
embarrassed and pitiful on behalf of the party I once so loved. The
leaders were visibly shaken and insecure in their stature and speech.
They either sounded defensive or like they themselves were struggling to
believe their own words.
Blade looked too fidgety. He spoke in a rush without even attempting
to connect with the audience. It was as if he was racing through a sea
of potential boos, paddling for dear life anxiously. Zuma did not take
the rushing approach. He rather humbled his stature prayerfully, finding
more refuge in the pages he grasped so dearly than the unpredictable
crowd he faced before him. He looked even pleasantly surprised himself
when at times the crowd broke into cheers in-between some of his not so
Dr. Malinga the singer was more in a victorious spirit than most of
the ANC legends. To me they resembled unsure and chancy underdogs at
their own Siyanqoba (We Are Winning) rally. In his speech, Zuma was not
talking to his people but was reading – and rather badly – like an ill
prepared and nervous pupil during a dictation exercise.
In his tediously long address, Zuma did not forget to reiterate the
ANC’s allegiance to the notorious two arms of global imperialism, namely
G20 and BRICS. At one point he quickly switched into his native Zulu to
get the distant crowd involved and a bit excited, for all of five
Some kids were hushed to the gigantic stage that was set on the
Soccer City pitch, and were presented with a huge stretch of cloth and
paints and brushes to artistically scribe the words ‘VOTE ANC’. The
exercise proved moderately clumsy, since the resulting work in words and
colours was neither bold nor defined, as unconvincing as was Cyril and
Gwede as they chanted over a tune sometime along the dreadfully taxing
Some of the crowd gradually faded out of the colossal state of the
art stadium as President Zuma read on his key note address. The same
could not be said of course about the other side of the grass, in the
sunshine region of Tshwane, wherein the EFF held its Tshela Thupa (Give A
Hiding) Rally. Julius Malema spoke directly to the crowd like a skilled
MC would, relying and feeding off their response, which was something
Jacob on the other side couldn’t risk, fearing the booing that has come
to characterise his public appearances lately.
The DA, patronising as it can get, is right when it says the ANC is
not the same as before (Ayisafani). The ANC of today is basically not
the one our people voted for 20 years ago. I have no doubt that
corruption and secrecy in the ANC stretch further back than most
loyalists would bear to admit. The leadership might have been swimming
with sharks for a while but the people on the ground took them for
genuine liberators. But as we know, no level of secrecy can survive the
piercing curiosity of time, no matter how long the process takes.
Empires always soar to a climax and then either collapse or decline.
It has become apparent that over the 20 years of secretive ANC rule,
public interest in politics has dropped significantly, which in itself
is nowhere near positive. According to a voter turnout data
(www.idea.int), in 1994, in a population of 40,436,000, 23,063,910 were
eligible to vote, but only 19,726,610, voted, which was an impressive
85.53% of the voting age public. In 2009, in a population of 49,052,489,
31,678,238 were eligible to vote, but only 17,919,966 voted, which was
alarmingly only 56.57% of the voting age public.
Had it not been for the haphazard rise of both Agang and EFF out of
the blue, I suppose much less than 25 million people would have
registered for this year’s elections. The reality is, the ANC as a
trusted majority is guilty of creating gradual political apathy. It has
not managed in its leadership to keep people engaged and to keep
expanding its voters and/or membership. In 1994, 85% of the people who
could have voted did, but in 2009, only 56% of the people who could have
voted did. That’s not a good story to tell.
The fact is, by Mbeki’s second term, people were openly fed up and
frustrated with the ANC leadership and its illusive nature. The party
was clearly rocked by waves of scandals, factionalism, corruption, and
tribalism in its idealised democratic voyage. The only reason why the
ANC managed to still pull a 2/3 majority win in 2009 was, Zuma had us
all fooled. We were all fooled into thinking Zuma was the leader we had
been waiting for.
The ANC managed to draw its largest percentage (69.69%) at the polls
in 2004, in Thabo Mbeki’s second term. But compared to 1994, where
12,237,655 million people voted ANC, in 2004 the number had shrunken to
10,880,915. Despite the 2004 landslide victory, there was much
discontent in the membership and the Youth League in particular,
considering the direction the party was taking in Economic Policies,
drifting further and further away from its fundamental Socialist ideals.
Friends Of Jacob Zuma
I was staying in Polokwane in 2004/5, and was well acquainted with
some prominent figures in the ANC and the Youth League. I wasn’t a
member but was a poet who found common resonance with the Young Lions
and their feisty spirits in this jungle of global politics. Desmond
‘Zulu’ Buthelezi was one of those ANCYL brothers I was close with, and
he was quite fond of our poetry movement, Senyora. He wanted us to join
the ANC but we were not entirely convinced.
Desmond would always stress that Thabo Mbeki was actually a sell-out.
He would tell us Jacob Zuma was the president the people really wanted,
more especially the Youth League, which was influential in the steering
of the movement, though not so technically. Desmond would point out how
Thabo Mbeki was actually a capitalist sell-out who ‘was flying to
Washington every week’ to meet the despised George W. of America. Zuma
on the other hand was projected as a working class hero, who was
bringing a positive revolution with him.
It therefore became believable when then president Thabo Mbeki,
pending serious charges involving Zuma in the Arms Deal, decided to
release Jacob Zuma from his duties as Deputy-President of the country.
Jacob Zuma was down, but not out, especially because he had the staunch
support of the Youth League and the Unions. He didn’t make it any easier
to doubt him when he keenly sang his signature tune of ‘Awuleth’
Umshini Wam’ (Bring My Machine Gun) like a wounded but determined
activist. Mbeki was Scar and Zuma was the young Simba, deliberately
robbed of his inheritance by his jealous uncle.
So my old friend Desmond Buthelezi seemed right at the time. It
appeared as if there was a conspiracy by Mbeki and his people to silence
Zuma, the ‘revolutionary’ we all believed in. Everyone can remember the
chaotic period (c. 2006) of the ‘Friends Of Jacob Zuma’ campaign, and
that black bulletproof Range Rover which hushed ‘Umsholozi’ in and out
of court houses, ever flanked by four or five bulky overworked
At that time, we were so desperately searching for a hero that we
chose to overlook Zuma’s Arms Deal scandals and proceeded to sanctify
him as our Moses. We stood by him without ever wavering as he fought his
rape charge and its gory details, and we believed like Julius Malema
then that Zuma was being framed. It seemed Mbeki and his Capitalist
masters were doing all they can to silence this dearest son of the soil,
and we stood by him fully.
Betrayal and Disillusion
But not very long after Jacob Zuma came into power, it became obvious
that he was yet another ANC leader, full of talk but no action. Soon it
became painfully clear that Zuma was simply carrying forth the torch of
subjection that the ANC has held for so long, that continues to glorify
foreign domination of our land and resources. Zuma strengthened ties
with the Capitalist west while signing committing deals with the new
leftist but globalist union called BRICS (Brasil, Russia, India, China,
In the BRICS deal, it wasn’t hard to figure out that once again SA
was being manipulated for resources and labour by the same people behind
G20 and others. South Africa was the only African participant in this
set up. It became plain that this union was also made up of large
population countries, which collectively made up a significant
percentage of the world population. This arrangement as usual is
supposedly for our benefit, but it only further snips off our
independence and sovereignty.
When it transpired that the ANC wasn’t moving toward its
revolutionary principles, the ANC was once again deeply divided. The
issue of Nationalisation forcibly made its way to the centre of
discussion, and Zuma and his people did not mince their words when they
criticized the subject or its suggestion. Undeniably, Julius Malema and
many others like me were disillusioned by all this. I called my friend
Desmond, who had convinced me Zuma was bringing change to expound on
this, but he simply chuckled and shrugged.
Everything seemed hopeless at this point. It seemed we were even
further from ever resolving the deepest issues which haunted our nation.
There was no way we could continue in ‘master and slave’ relations with
the West and their allies here in South Africa, who kept the wealth to
themselves and the majority in adverse poverty, as per Free Market
regulations that were termed democratic. Land reform and wealth
redistribution were issues the ANC governance was going to keep evading,
Economic Freedom Fighters
When Julius and his own group further pressed for dialogue and review
about Nationalisation and wealth redistribution they became enemies of
the ANC leadership therefore. Now it was clear that Zuma was just a
mouthpiece of the White Imperialists, as Thabo Mbeki’s mother Ma Mbeki
hinted in a City Press interview early this year. Zuma was as attached
to the West as was both Mbeki and Mandela. There was no revolution that
would take place anytime soon.
The dream of Africans ruling their own destinies and owning the means
of production was a dream that would not be realised anytime soon. Not
so long as Europe and America have been profiting so much from our
minerals, land and labour, and are still having a great feast by the
looks. Not so long as those who benefitted from iniquity and apartheid
continue to bask in the rainbow shade of Mandela’s ingenuous
It was the same white imperialists who control and make decisions on
behalf of the ANC leadership who decided Julius Malema was a pest that
should be ‘doomed’ or expelled from the ANC. So a decent disciplinary
committee was forged about and swiftly came to a decision that Julius
had no place in the ANC anymore. No matter how much he begged or
suggested corrective measures himself, like a suspension, the Hannekoms
and the Ramaphosas wouldn’t hear of it. To them he had committed an
unforgivable crime and was no longer fit for membership.
This in itself culminated in the formation of the ANC’s greatest
challenge since 1994, the Economic Freedom Fighters. All those who were
disgruntled with the ANC for the past 20 years were now sympathising
with Julius and his new political movement, the EFF. Those whose views
were suppressed and subjugated when Mandela switched from his
Nationalist ethics suddenly found a home and new hope in EFF. Malema’s
charisma and policies were after all what had excited the ever dwindling
number of the voting public to still go out in numbers and vote for
Jacob Zuma in 2009.
COPE was formed in retaliation of Mbeki’s atrocious ousting by Zuma
and his then right hand man, Julius Malema. Many people would have gone
along with COPE, had they believed Thabo Mbeki and his faction were
indeed doing something right before his ousting. But the people sided
with Zuma because they believed ‘Umsholozi’ was finally going to usher
in a new age of African Independence, Innovation and Unity. But all that
time revealed in Zuma was another tribalist and nepotistic aristocrat,
much interested in his own welfare than the public’s.
I wonder if it’s logical or rather propagandist when statistics and
media groups maintain the ANC will still win these elections
comfortably. Despite the corruption, the betrayals, the dishonesty, the
factionalism and the large fallouts by members and supporters alike,
some people still say the ANC will win these elections comfortably.
From my own assessment, which may be misled or prejudiced, I think
the ANC has lost its majority. They boast a million or so members, and I
just wonder how many of those will actually cast their votes beside
Zuma’s trademark grinning face. Are these the same people who
defensively reason that they vote not for Zuma but for the ANC?
Of the 11 million who voted ANC in 2009 – if the poll results are to
ever be trusted – most were doing so as disgruntled and fed up voters,
hardly in any joviality. So how many of those, despite everything which
has transpired will still vote ANC? Like I said, the ANC has about 1,2
million members, and we’re not sure just how many of those will still
stick with the party in solidarity. The voting public which has
previously supported ANC is no guarantee.
I found myself absently wondering what my old comrade Desmond Zulu
Buthelezi would say about the stature of things as they stand.
Unfortunately Desmond was murdered in Mpumalanga while on his way to the
historic Mangaung conference of December 2012. He was killed in what
appeared to be a personal matter, and not politically motivated at all. I
guess even he might have been somehow negatively affected by the
current conduct in his beloved organisation.
Personally I would want the EFF to win these elections, but as
detractors say, this is a very far-fetched hope. I would like the ANC to
muster at this point only 7 million (±28%) votes at most. I sincerely
hope EFF gives the ANC leaders and their 4000 Mangaung delegates the
surprise of their lives, and teach them a lesson never to be forgotten. I
would like South Africans to own their Reserve Bank and their land and
But if those who disagree with our views are stronger and adamant
that there should not be change, and their global quest is more
significant, then what are we to do? So long as our leaders stand in
guard and subservience to foreign and backward regimes, our people will
continue to suffer. They will use whatever necessary means at their
disposal to maintain their corrupted rule. For them stepping down is as
good as suicide. Therefore we will continue in our relentless fight
against them and their imperialism, using whatever limited means we have
within our reach.
We don’t trust the credibility of our polls but we just hope for the
best. Either way, regardless of the results, our pursuit for true
freedom will never recede until it is achieved. Those of our leaders who
wronged our course and cause will either surrender or be numbered with
the enemies of true freedom, and thus receive due retribution.
Those of our former oppressors in our land must either turn from
their external networks or be destroyed through the arm of justice. As
for the global imperialists, their greatest threat is not us, for we are
David and they are Goliath. Their greatest threat is the very paramount
power they sit on, and that’s worth serious reconsideration I feel.