The governing ANC was this weekend locked in another “important” national executive committee meeting discussing what it has spent most of the past 30 years doing – internal power struggles.
Who is a real cadre of the movement? Who must be pushed out? How should the party renew itself? And all other lofty, cerebral and crucial topics.
The endless power struggles in the ANC are exhausting. We could watch them as a spectacle and deride it as a party tearing itself apart. And maybe discuss among ourselves who the good and bad guys are in the party.
Unfortunately, we cannot afford that luxury. The majority of those who will spend the whole weekend consumed with these issues are also government ministers, premiers, mayors and the president of the country. They are the people we look to to ensure that the lights stay on in this cold weather.
We look to them to come up with policy and strategy to keep us safe, to provide housing to the homeless and, once those houses are built, provide running water and proper sanitation facilities. Above all, they are entrusted with reviving the ailing economy and helping facilitate an environment of job creation. These are the responsibilities for which millions pay taxes.
Sadly, that is not what occupies their minds right now. Currently, the various factions of the ANC are planning how to outwit each other and get to the levers of power. Hours on end will be spent justifying and annulling the comical “suspensions” we saw this week.
Quite often the battle is couched in attractive terms as being about fighting corruption and cleaning out the bad guys while retaining the good ones. But the truth is that the ANC government has been a massive disappointment to many South Africans, regardless of who was in charge or who was expelled.
There is no reason to believe that we will see an improvement in governance or less corruption if one faction triumphs over the other.
When International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor attended the G7 meeting this week, a key question posed to her was: Why has South Africa, with all its capabilities, provided Covid-19 vaccination to a mere 0.5% of its population? Even Zimbabwe has done a better job on this score.
The reason is not hard to find – it is the ANC government’s single-minded pursuit of power and lack of energy and ideas when it comes to prioritising South African citizens.