Back to basics for the ANC

2019-03-25 14:11

South Africa has come a long way since the basal struggle for equal human rights and the conquest to establish some form of economic recovery, after global economic sanctions, 25 years ago.

The societal dynamics that many South Africans face today have taken a new shape and form. The ANC in 1994 was facing a completely different challenge compared to the ANC of 2019.

These are the common phases that every single post revolutionary landscape face. First the fight for liberation then comes, ideological warfare.

A warefare the ruling party have lost sight of in just 25 years after their historic win over the injustices of Apartheid.

At it's elemental composition the ANC is a social Democratic party with hardcore prolabour values. A political ideology which was cermented and forged by the holy trinity in the form of the tripartite alliance between the ANC, Cosatu and SACP.

Alongside handy alliances such As SASCO, The holy trinity wasn't just unified through a convergence of convenience or a convergence of common interest. That would suggest a temporary unsustainable alliance. But it was formed with a deepened echo and entrenched belief in addressing the social, economic and political partisanship of a country which was severely damaged and divided systematically for atleast 300 years of racial subjugation and wide scale discriminatory practices.

The ANC maintained their personnel but sadly not their core ideologues. 25 years later and their version of correcting social, economic and political struggles is dystopian or rather displeasing to say the least.
The state looks on in dire frustration accompanied with loud sighs of sheer disappointment.

Watching recent interviews with the head of state, one can't help but realize that the piling record of gross incompetence and government maladministration is eventually working up and weighing heavily on the country's number one citizen.

South Africans deal with daily miseries of heightened youth unemployment, inflated crime rate, perennial inflation, large scale out of control corruption and a largely lethargic incompetent public sector that is generally failing to deliver on basic service delivery. And to top off that list many are still subjected to racial discrimination in the workplace, public arenas and in some cases right within the public sector as well.

The misery is piling up and one can easily see why the common citizen would have a negative outlook or very little hope for an enthusiastic future, even post the 2019 elections.

Opposition leaders and parties have shown a clear lack of intellectual content and political astuteness to ensure improvement of the situation. Our only hope is that the country’s opposition has better strategies than blowing off steam by raging bucket-loads of accusations and slander (with a very low win rate in court). They would be better off employing a solutionists approach for the long-term, rather than populist slander in an attempt to attract countless negative attention to the ruling party.

The citizens have not had too many reasonable alternatives provided for the past 25 years.

In hind-sight it is always pertinent and fashionable to blame the government for many things and everything. We need to mention that the party has delivered in some sectors better than others.

The ruling party is faced with a booming population that it was forced to quickly accommodate. They had to adjust to broader population growth related challenges, such as greater demand for jobs, economic growth, infrastructure supply and maintenance, hospitals, schools, higher learning institutions, energy supply and lastly, deal with a hostile global economic environment and in-party divisions. 

The ANC takes much of the national burden on behalf of the poor through many subsidy programs, free housing, free basic schooling, free healthcare, free social grants and now recently free higher education for the deemed poor. Much of these efforts have benefited and elevated millions of South Africans from poverty and helped many provide a better life for their families and communities.

The latter points are exactly what deems the party as both social and democratic. The key aspects that gained them overwhelming majority in 1994 and has sustained them in power despite the disastrous Zuma-era.

At the centre of the party's main division, is the struggle to acclimatise to the global economic environment by adapting or opening up the ANC values to neo-liberalism (pro-privatisation and free markets) or to retain the core ideologues of social democracy (i.e. state intervention to favour and protect the poor against classism). This has often lead to altered and contradicting public statements about nationalisation or privatisation practices.

The party needs to get back to basics, it's foundational roots and shine the light on its core political ideologies which resonate with South Africans and offers a form of relief from the relentless pursuit of capital and neoliberal globalization. The recent Yellow-vest protests in Europe and the world-wide environmental protests by scholars, are just some of the evidence that creates an indication of what the nation could be faced with down the neoliberal path.

The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is facing the exact same dilema as a party. With a traditional pro-neoliberal globalisation capitalist-based DNA. The DA has leaned a bit towards the social side in an attempt to mobilize more voters to their cause, however this puts the party at risk of losing some traditionally key voters from big business, venture capitalists and pro-free market neocons.

Despite the ideological warefare for its identity the governing party has a mountain to climb. The ailing despair of the normalised inert culture epitomized by a lack of accountability, has sunken its malicious heavy claws deep into the party's leadership central nerve, the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Reactionary governance, lack of quality leadership, lack of accountability, lack of intellectual dynamism coupled with corruption is, and remains the party's greatest Achilles-heel.

The tripartite partners, which were meant to keep the party in check, have  respectively deteriorated due to internal power struggles.
His excellency Cyril Ramaphosa's greatest challenge is his duties as the Presidency of the ANC over the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa.

I will quote a wise lady I know who told me "timing in politics is everything, and timing was not on Cyrils side".
The plot was lost by the NEC by refusing to show collective leadership and being complicit to the depreciation of the once largest revolutionary movement on the continent in the past 12-10 years.  

The back-to-basics approach will provide the party with the opportunity for reflection and perhaps an opportunity to reconfigure and bring about a much needed change of personnel within its main leadership structure the NEC.

Despite the changes I predict will come in post the May 2019 elections, the party must remain resolute and loyal to it's core principles and ensure that the new changes in cabinet and in the NEC are aligned with the history and the bloodline of the ANC.


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