FRIDAY BRIEFING | Train smash: Why the ANC's year couldn't have gotten off to a worse start

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Friday Briefing

Train smash: Why the ANC's year couldn't have gotten off to a worse start

Well, how about a December holiday then! The ANC's year couldn't have gotten off to a worse start.

The inferno which destroyed the historic National Assembly has become emblematic of the general malaise the country finds itself in thanks to the ANC's government. Although final reports by various investigators are still to be completed, it is becoming increasingly clear that poor maintenance and governance at Parliament was chiefly responsible for the blaze. And to many, this shouldn't come as a surprise, given the ANC's general poor performance and criminality at every level of governance.

In the same week, the Zondo Commission released part one of its report into state capture, which in any functioning democracy should represent a death knell for a party implicated to the degree to which the ANC has been implicated here. State capture was introduced and entrenched under the party's leadership by its then-president, Jacob Zuma. 

And Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is scathing about the party's role. This is what he says about the gutting of SAA, Eskom and Denel: "The decline happened over a number of years, but both the government and the ruling party failed dismally to make any effective interventions to halt the decline.

"Either they did not care or they slept on the job or they had no clue what to do."

And elsewhere, about an independent agency to combat corruption: "The fight against corruption in public procurement cannot again be left to a government department or be subject to Ministerial control."

That's harsh. Zondo lays the decline, degradation and corruption of state institutions, squarely at the ANC's door, and says they cannot be trusted. 

On Saturday, the ANC will convene in Polokwane to celebrate the party's 110th birthday. Instead, it should be deeply embarrassed given the damage it has wrought on the state and society. Celebrations? That's rich. It should rather be an occasion for mass ANC self-flagellation.

But the ANC's so-called "top six" will be cutting a cake on Saturday, extolling the party's virtues and singing its praises. Quite how President Cyril Ramaphosa goes around in Limpopo trying to sell his party and attempting to galvanise support is mind-boggling. How do you sell an organisation which quite clearly wasn't too far off from being the country's foremost criminal enterprise?

Anyway, that's the ANC's problem. It is a political party with a specific track record, and it will have to defend it for years to come. In this week's Friday Briefing, we have a stellar cast: Mpumelelo Mkhabela speaks in CR's tongue, and writes the speech Ramaphosa should give on Saturday, but won't. Professor Tinyiko Maluleke channels Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu's spirit and delivers a message to the ANC from him, while Ralph Mathekga - one of our foremost ANC watchers - gives a damning verdict of the ANC.

And it's only the 7th of January, imagine that.

Pieter du Toit

Assistant Editor: In-depth news 

The 110th ANC anniversary speech the party's leader should, but won't make

The 110th anniversary of the ANC is unlikely to remembered as one covered in glory. Mpumelelo Mkhabela imagines a truthful and honest speech delivered by the party's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, reflecting on the challenges the ANC is facing. It's a speech he should give, but won't.  

Not so heavenly congrats from Desmond Tutu to the ANC on its 110th anniversary

Tinyiko Maluleke imagines what the recently departed Archbishop Desmond Tutu would have written to the ANC on the occasion of its 110th anniversary. And as you can guess, it's not a celebratory letter.

The ANC: At 110, things are falling apart

The ANC's 110th anniversary comes at a critical time for the party as it battles the internal collapse of its structures and a non-existent renewal programme, as well as the recent release of the Zondo Commission's report, writes Ralph Mathekga.

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