Armageddon seemed to have come early for the political party in yellow, black and green. Well, I do not mean the Congress of the People but the based at 54 Pixely kaIsaka Seme (formerly Sauer) Street.
The clashes between the so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces and the Cyril Ramaphosa slates seemed to be gaining momentum on different platforms – especially on the Twitter streets –to expose who is the most corrupt among them.
The reality is that the ANC has become a shadow of its former self. Although I am a religious person, I doubt even a prayer (the one that comes after a month-long fast) could salvage the ANC from the current crisis.
The situation emanates from greed, and the battle against the looters continues unabated. However, the arrests that have been made recently by the Hawks brings a glimmer of hope, although we are not sure if there is prima facie evidence to prosecute the alleged looters-in-chief.
What has become apparent is that the battle for the 2022 elective conference of the ANC has begun – and the biggest losers will the same party that always boasts about being a liberation movement. When the top six of the party was elected at the last conference and featured a mixed bag of RET forces and CR17 forces, the clashes were bound to happen.
These battles seem to be happening on social media, with transport minister Fikile Mbalula – a “political prostitute” – taking swipes at his former friends Kebby Maphatsoe, Ace Magashule, Jacob Zuma and Carl Niehaus.
Remember, on the eve of 2017 congress Mbalula changed his stripes by removing the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma cap and putting on the CR17 one. Mbalula surprisingly also told the Zondo commission into state capture that he had “eaten curry” – referring to a visit at the infamous Gupta compound – which had allegedly became an extension of the Union Buildings under former president Zuma’s administration.
This new battle for power at the party’s conference in 2022 has thus gained momentum, and even at branch-level there is a tendency to align in terms of national politics.
Branches have been careful to whom they pay calls to during their “door-to-door” bi-election campaigns, as this could mean they endorse a particular slate.
Unwittingly, this picking-and-choosing will destabilise the party’s campaign for the local government elections as those from a different slate might withhold their support for a candidate who is not seen as an ally.
The battle within the ANC is all about holding strategic positions for access to state resources. In simple language, the battle is about access to loot.
The summation of Aubrey Matshiqi, who said there are those “angels with horns and devils with halos” rings true.
If the party is serious about cleansing itself, they need to let all the law enforcement agencies operate without interference and prosecute the alleged looters.
Sadly, a-looter continues!
Sandile Gumede is a journalism lecturer at a private college in Johannesburg and a postgrad student at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He writes in his personal capacity.