ANC Confronts ANC and ANC Fights ANC

2017-02-08 09:37

South Africa's powerful  first daughter Thuthukile Zuma is known to be a woman who is unflinching, breaking brick walls and all obstacles to get her harsh messages delivered.

Who will forget Thuthukile during the Fee Must Fall protests? That on the eve of the Fees Must Fall protests, she blasted herself through Wits University and had a secret midnight meeting with some leaders of Fees Must Fall. After that fateful midnight meeting the seemingly united Fees Must Fall movement was ripped apart. The Fees Must Fall leaders were left divided, accusing each other of betrayals. That was the beginning of an end of Fees Must Fall. The sting was removed.

Recently Thuthukile has confronted ANC's Head of Communications Khusela Sangoni on social media. She wrote: “In my view Khusela’s statement about the ANCYL Gauteng puts the ANC into disrepute. It just puts us in a mess. Can we stop juniorising serious posts in the ANC.”

The confrontation was a response to an ANC statement that expressed shock at the ANC Youth League’s recent press release. The ANCYL statement criticized the ANC's Gauteng leadership for the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients who died in nongovernmental organisations after being moved from Life Esidimeni centres in the province.

It is easy to denounce Thuthu as being senile simply because she is the daughter of the President. It is easy to focus on Thuthu's tone and not the substance of what she wants to tell us. But let us not misapprehend the clearest of messages. We will be well served if we read Thuthu's message with the right attitude.

Thuthu clearly has made a review of Khusela Sangoni's performance and has reached some conclusions. She has found Sangoni's work deficient. Is she right in her assessment?

There have been many times in which Sangoni has appeared too lax in her work in fronting the ANC.

Take one example, how she attacked Julius Malema for graduating from university with a Bachelor's degree? What was the basis of attacking Julius Malema when every South African from different backgrounds were congratulating him?

South Africans stood up and condemned her. She later apologized, but the damage has been done to the ANC. Is not some of the things Thuthukile is pointing at, Sangoni acting in "juniorising manner?

Sangoni could have served ANC better by joining with fellow South Africans in congratulating Malema. In congratulating Malema ANC would have been true to its mission of being a leader of the South African society, (Malema being part of that society). It could have received many kudus and respect. But alas Sangoni was not up to the task. I am sure Thuthukile Zuma is aware how such statements damages the ANC. Thuthukile Zuma must have the understanding that public communication demands zero tolerance for failure or contradictions. Your message should be clear.

With regard to ANCYL statement on Life Esidimeni, Sangoni could have remain silent, instead of contradictions.

Thuthukile Zuma, powerful

Thuthukile Zuma in reviewing the ANC communication comes out as a smart young girl. She sees political parties like EFF offering more engaging, robust, proactive and feedback-driven communication while the ANC is "juniorising".

She might have a look at Mbuyeseni Ndlozi the head of EFF communication. Ndlozi is central to EFF's organization and mobilization. He is a  tenderized soul with the strength to strike hard like a doped bull. He is central to EFF leadership, straddling talk show studios engaging in key debates. He is not just a mere attack dog but a key thrust of EFF. Under him, EFF communication machinery  is compact, mobile and focused:  an out-of-the-box talent, rapid, responsive, proactive and blustering.

Since Jackson Mthembu and Keith Khoza left, the ANC communication has not been that weighty and effective. It is deficient. These were known stalwarts of the ANC, and that is what Thuthu wants.

True, when ANC scandals comes out into the open, Zizi Kodwa issues statements and straddle studious raising dust and hell denying everything, and reminding us with gusto that the ANC is more than hundred years old. But communication is much more than that.

And that brings me to the dense part of this article. If you are discerning you can see that there is something far more profound at play between the interaction between Thuthukile and Khusela Sangoni. Let us look at this carefully in slow motion. Thuthukile launches a blistering attack on Sangoni, and what is Sangoni's responds? She cowed down and even thinks of quitting social media because of the attack.

On the same time that she attacked Sangoni,, Thuthukile Zuma turned to ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. She said: The Secretary General should not pretend as if he is the ANC. [When he speaks as Secretary General of ANC] Gwede Mantashe is articulating his heart’s wants and desires, not an organisational position. 

Next time I shall talk about the ANC War Room. But for a moment I would like to point this: The ANC War Room represent an invisible high level fraternity put up by the high and mighty and it is there to launch powerful maneuvers, deep techniques, and power plays. And these high and mighty people are above Luthuli House, at least in both body language and substance. And the War Room is supposed to function like storm trooper. But that is another story for another time.

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