Herman Mashaba | The ANC is dead and its candidates prove it

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Photo: Edrea du Toit
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Photo: Edrea du Toit

Lindiwe Sisulu's campaign for the leadership of the ANC has begun with the promise of the continuation and acceleration of ANC trends that are killing her party - widespread looting, failed service delivery and zero accountability, writes Herman Mashaba.  

Many column inches have been dedicated to Lindiwe Sisulu's recent remarks about the judiciary in our post-apartheid democracy.

There is no question her remarks epitomise the worst characteristics of politicians that the South African people have come to hate.

Sisulu will stand in designer clothing and swear an oath to God to defend the Constitution of our country to earn a multimillion-rand salary, drive in blue light vehicles and live in ministerial homes.

Yet, when the time comes for ANC internal politics, she sees no hypocrisy in vilifying the same Constitution as the cause of our high levels of poverty, inequality, and deferred justice in our society.

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In fact, it takes a particularly sociopathic kind of hypocrisy to stand above that which is commonplace in her party.

Sisulu has been a minister, by my estimations, continuously for 21 years in human settlements, intelligence, defense, public service and administration, tourism, and international relations.

Her remarks place blame on the judiciary for the fact that the legacy of our unjust past continues to persist in society today, without ownership of the culpability borne by both her party collectively and she personally.

Although, this does not surprise whatsoever!

Responding to concerns of residents 

My only direct experiences of Sisulu, when I served as the mayor of Johannesburg, was not much better.

When protests erupted in Eldorado Park in 2017, I had the misfortune of accompanying Sisulu (then minister of human settlements) and Paul Mashatile to respond to the concerns of residents.

Sisulu's approach was to present expansive plans for housing to the community to placate them. When I insisted on knowing where the funds to finance these plans would come from, knowing that without funds it is never going to happen, Sisulu brushed me off and decided to enter the meeting and continue, nonetheless. These plans have never materialised.

On a second occasion I recall, an independent forensic report found a clearance certificate was unlawfully issued to Sisulu for the sale of a property only when a debt of a considerable outstanding amount was simply converted into credit by a city official and paid out to her. At the time of my departure, legal processes to recoup the money were underway. 

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Sisulu's campaign for the leadership of the ANC has begun with the promise of the continuation and acceleration of ANC trends that are killing her party - widespread looting, failed service delivery and zero accountability. 

The real story here lies in what all of this is saying about the ANC and its trajectory into the ground.

Sisulu's rant is a demonstration that the opposition within the ANC cannot put forward a credible alternative to President Cyril Ramaphosa's disastrous leadership deserves some attention.

Ramaphosa will do nothing 

Ramaphosa's tendency to dither when decisive leadership is required is well documented, as are any number of deficiencies that his presidency has displayed to the South African people.

This indecision, along with a philosophy of party first, country last, has been on display in his dealing with the Sisulu matter.

As the president to whom Sisulu accounts to as a minister, Ramaphosa has a duty to call her in and demand that she retract her statement, apologise to the country, and compel her to never repeat such an attack on the Constitution or the judiciary.

However, like the Zuma contempt proceedings, like the first days of the July unrest, like the implication of Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Ramaphosa will do nothing about Sisulu because nothing is easier than safeguarding the interests of the party ahead of those of the country.

This spells out, in high definition, what the 2021 local government elections showed South Africans, that even ANC supporters know that their party is dying. Those who may not have come to terms with this fact need only look at the calibre of their candidates for leadership in 2022. 

Therefore, the work of building a multiparty platform that can challenge for power in 2024 has never been more important. 

Herman Mashaba is ActionSA president 

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