FRIDAY BRIEFING | The ANC: A party crippled by its own corruption

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Friday Briefing

The ANC's broken legacy

The ANC has a proud history. 

Founded in 1912 in Bloemfontein, the party is now 108 years old, making it Africa's oldest surviving party. It has a proud history that is fast coming apart due to corruption.

The ANC is quick to tell everyone it is still a liberation movement, even though it has been governing the country for 26 years. It has used this position to create vast party-linked business empires. This has led to a situation in which those who have allegiances the party have been rewarded handsomely through lucrative positions at state-owned enterprises or fraudulent tenders. 

Growing corruption is one of the reasons given to explain why voters choose to stay away from the polls instead of voting for opposition parties.

Last year, the ANC received a diminished majority of 57.7%, down from its previous performance of 62.15%, in the national elections. While this was a drop, it was still better than the party's performance in the 2016 municipal elections. The general election performance was, in part, attributed to the fact that Cyril Ramaphosa took the reins from Jacob Zuma.  

Zuma, who had been in power since 2009, reluctantly resigned in 2018 after facing the threat of a no-confidence vote in Parliament over corruption allegations.

But Zuma is not the only one who has a cloud hanging over his head, and his recent behaviour at the Zondo commission has emboldened other party members who feel they don't need to be held accountable for their actions. 

As someone recently noted: If all those involved in corruption in the ANC stepped down, hardly anyone would be left.

In this week's Friday Briefing we focus on how the ANC has become a do-nothing party ahead of a national executive committee meeting this weekend, where various resolutions will be discussed. Analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela writes that the ANC suffers from a chronic lack of conscience and that you will rarely find anyone who has stepped down due to corruption, while Wits professor Ivor Sarakinsky notes that even though the party has clear resolutions, party leaders choose to hide behind what the text possibly means.

Finally, News24's political editor, Qaanitah Hunter, writes that the ANC is becoming a party ruled by fear and self-interest and that it does not bode well for the party's future.

Hope you enjoy the read before the weekend.


Vanessa Banton

Opinions editor

The ANC: A case of a chronic lack of conscience

There are very few leaders within the ANC who can claim to be free of corruption, which has led to a point where it is nearly impossible to instil discipline in the party, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.

By any meanings necessary: An allegory about the ANC and corruption

While the ANC resolutions on corruption are clear, it appears that there is no accountability from party leaders who choose to hide behind the text, instead of taking it at face value, writes Ivor Sarakinsky.

The rise of fear and self-interest in the ANC

Fear and self-interest are currently the driving factors among ANC members bent on protecting themselves from corruption allegations, writes Qaanitah Hunter.

The ANC's Achilles heel: Its broken branch structure

The issue of how the ANC is held accountable by its members has come to the fore in recent weeks following the arrest of secretary-general Ace Magashule after he said it was up to branch members to elect and remove ANC leaders, Writes Keith Gottschalk.

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