FRIDAY BRIEFING | Heading for an inglorious downfall: The ANC is moving too slowly to save itself

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Heading for an inglorious downfall: The ANC is moving too slowly to save itself

As South Africans prepared to welcome in the new year on 31 December, Eskom dealt the bad news - there would be no reprieve from load shedding that night. Nor has there been reprieve any other night (or day) since 2023 got under way. In fact, this week, stage 6 was announced, which leaves citizens powerless for 10 hours a day. 

On Thursday, load shedding even interrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s application at the High Court in Johannesburg for an urgent interdict to stop former president Jacob Zuma’s private prosecution.

Social media was filled with complaints from businesses owners, who had been hoping for a more successful, productive year, but were unable to operate due to four-hour long power cuts during business hours.

The current situation, which is directly attributable to ANC-led state capture, is unsustainable. Already several polls, including the party's own, have suggested that the country should prepare for a situation where the ANC is either governing in a coalition nationally, or warming the opposition benches post-2024.

Ramaphosa seemed a breath of fresh air in 2019 when he was sworn in as president – only for his government to appear to become hamstrung due to internal party squabbles while the country's challenges appeared to grow instead of lessen.

In this week's Friday Briefing, we examine if 2023 is the ANC's last chance to prove it can actually lead ahead of the 2024 national elections, instead of just making empty promises.

News24's parliamentary reporter, Jan Gerber, reflects on what he saw on display at the ANC's 55th national conference and why he feels the movement is heading for an inglorious downfall.

Independent political commentator Ebrahim Fakir explains why Ramaphosa's re-election as ANC president is not a panacea to either the ANC's or South Africa's seemingly intractable economic and social crisis.       

Finally, Nelson Mandela University's Dr Ongama Mtimka examines what could make or break Ramaphosa's second term as party president. 

We hope you enjoy the read ahead of the weekend. 


Vanessa Banton

Opinions editor. 

ANC's Conference Interruptus did little to save it from electoral doom come 2024

Can the ANC fix itself ahead of the 2024 elections? The answer is definitely maybe. But does it want to? Having been at a conference that the ANC couldn't even conclude on time, News24 parliamentary reporter Jan Gerber reckons the ANC would rather fight about who gets to captain the ship, than do the hard work of steadying it.

Hopeless hope: Confidence in ANC’s organisational, institutional reform is misplaced

The ANC's record in government, as its own documents show, is one of venality, criminality, predation, ruination and reversal instead of redistribution, reconstruction and rehabilitation. The ANC's own paternalistic and patronising January 8 statement invokes these themes, writes Ebrahim Fakir.

Only a sense of urgency, thinking outside the box, will set Ramaphosa apart

Nothing about the ANC's revived commitments suggest the slow, steady, business-as-usual approach the party has maintained under Cyril Ramaphosa will work going forward. The party is racing against time while its processes of cleaning itself up are running at a snail's pace, writes Ongama Mtimka.


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