The events and utterances of local politicians over the past few weeks underlined a point that we were making over many years. The issues under discussion are things like: Must Zuma go before SONA? ... must Zuma go before the end of his term? ... who must deliver the SONA? And... must Zuma be impeached?
The "political" arguments for and against any of the above are so bedazzling that it is easy to lose objectivity and sight of the core issues which led to the current situation.
For some perspective, let me present to you some snippets of recent political utterances:
"The ANC is the one that deployed President Zuma, not South Africans. Therefore, it is the ANC which will decide on whether he should step down or not. So, no opposition or NGO will dictate to the ANC."
I see. South Africans had no say in the appointment of their National President. This is the first inference. And the next: The ANC is not South African. The third inference is that the ANC will protect and support an enemy of South Africans as long as that person is a member of the ANC.
Then there was this wisdom: "In life, you must be worried when an enemy celebrates with you. So, in this case we [are] worried that an opposition party is dictating to the ANC that President Zuma is the right president. We get very worried. It's very scary."
This comes from a group that supports the current ANC leadership. It also invited the party's Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans and Youth League to "defend" Luthuli House.
In similar vein, the ANC in Cape Town - on the De Lille issue - withdrew their support for a motion purely on the basis that they could not be seen to support the opposition on an issue.
Right or wrong was never a consideration.
The above leads me to make some deductions. Such as ...political parties see each other as "the enemy". The main enemy. Why ? Basically because they are obstacles to securing or maintaining possession of the keys to the Gravy Train, I suppose. Or rather - let me put it this way: Political parties are adversaries. Just like competing gangs. They look after themselves first and foremost and do not give an inch of their turf to the opposition. They do not make decisions based on right or wrong, but purely an what suits the party the best.
Now, we all know the real enemies of South Africa. Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, alcohol abuse, road carnage, governmental and corporate corruption and greed, racism, murder, rape, carjacking, burglaries, global warming, sub-standard health services, vandalism, drug - and human trafficking...to name but a few.
Instead of uniting the nation around combating the real enemies, our ANC and other political parties choose to spend most of their time and energy in trying to unite against what THEY see as the enemy - the other political parties. Like ancient warring armies they even brandish their own logos, party colours and flags. Some tools used in the process are racial polarization, false promises, channelling of public funds to party coffers, tradition, superstition, propaganda, threats and fear. This situation has the analogical effect of a battery with high internal resistance. Like a 12V battery with a mere 2V output. We fight each other instead of fighting the real enemy together.
It is said that Ramaphosa cannot give Zuma the boot just like that, because then he will lose the support of the KZN Zuma supporters within the ANC. So, he scoots off to the Zulu King and promises him that land expropriation without compensation will be expedited. This makes the king happy, as his land is not in question. His warriors also said that they will defend the king's land. So, maybe the king won't be too cheesed off if Zuma is booted.
So, deciding on whether or not to get rid of Zuma is not based on what he did wrong, but on how it will affect the current leader's support base. The enemy of corruption and greed is already infused within the "new" ANC leadership. This is augmented by, for example, the appointment of someone like Ace Magashule as their secretary general.
As far as the "king" and the "King's land" is concerned (I believe there are still 7 kingdoms within South Africa - with some more traditional leaders, each with their own piece of land and each consuming huge amounts of public funds) you can decide for yourself the measure of congruency it bears relating to democracy or to apartheid. You can also decide for yourself to what degree your tax money is being used to support a political party like the ANC along this route. In fact - how you are supporting a particular political party involuntarily.
Many corruption charges were laid again Zuma even before he became president. During his term of president he massively enriched himself, his family, friends and cronies at the cost of the nation. We, as citizens, allowed this. The treason - which it is - we euphemise as "State Capture" and agonise about ways to make the "main culprit" get out of his current predicament with dignity. We even leave it up to the "main culprit" to investigate the wrongdoings. But we lose sight of the main culprit. We get side-tracked.
Opposition parties publicly said, for instance, that "anyone but Zuma" must deliver the SONA. How easily they have forgotten that Zuma is "the face of the ANC". How convenient it is to lay the blame on one particular person when that person represents a whole organisation of like-minded members equally involved in anti-South African behaviour.
But the Main,main, main culprit - the enemy within - is the system which allows, facilitates and encourages national division and decadence. A system which encourages megalomania and corruption. A system which invariably allows politicians to step out financially loaded while the nation suffers. The system that I see as the main stumbling block on our road to freedom, democracy and a proud, prosperous nation. The political party system. We really should scrap this archaic system and organize our national management on a quality based democratic platform.