Besieged in Bloemfontein

2012-01-08 10:50

Bloemfontein is besieged by hordes of ANC supporters wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words - `One Hundred Years of Selfless Struggle’.

It was my misfortune to attempt to dialogue with these ardent supporters of the ruling party by questioning whether selfless struggle also entailed corruption, nepotism and the omnipresent tenderpreneur?

Faced with outright hostility and the faith of a true believer, I decided to beat a hasty retreat as some threatened to physically defend their party from my blasphemous question. Indeed their utter faith in their party reminded me of the awe-inspiring sincerity of Jehovah Witnesses who attempted to flog their latest edition of Watch Tower on me in my youth.

But this is where the comparison between the ANC members I attempted to engage with and the Jehovah Witnesses must end. Whilst fiercely rebutting my question and its underlying assumptions, these latter day disciples wreaked of alcohol whilst leering at passing females and making lewd comments at those wearing short skirts. This then is what the party of principles and discipline has degenerated to.

The founding of the South African Native National Congress in 1912 was a seminal moment in our country’s history – taking the fight for a non-racial and democratic South Africa to a new level. A year after their founding, the organization was at the forefront in the campaign against the Native Land Act. The discipline and self-sacrifice of these early leaders need to be hailed and to serve as a beacon of what the ANC was and hopefully what it could be again under a more ethical and decisive leadership.

Whilst the ANC-in-exile benefited from the global anti-apartheid movement, the party’s latter day leaders are quite willing to stand by some of the world’s most odious regimes: Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Iran’s ayatollahs and the Brother Leader in Libya.

Whilst the ANC of the past drew legitimacy from the country’s toiling masses; the current ANC leadership treat them with disdain.

Whilst feeding its long-suffering citizens with slogans like “A Better Life for All,” it is the party’s apparatchiks who enjoy a better life at the expense of the least fortunate. Whilst paying lip service to democratic principles, the ANC leadership has systematically been undermining our democracy through its attacks on civil society, the media and its undermining the judiciary.

Indeed, South Africa increasingly comes to represent another Third World state where state security (read the security of the regime’s elite) is purchased at the expense of the human security of every South African citizen. Indeed, it might be said with endemic institutionalized corruption, the ANC has created a parasitic state apparatus where the ANC apparatchiks increasingly helps themselves to the public purse.

So I will not be celebrating the ANC centenary since there is little to celebrate with the post-1994 ANC. Far from joining in the festivities of the party during the course of 2012, I urge all South Africans to wear a black armband for the duration of the year as we mourn the passing of the ANC as liberation movement and as we mourn the passing of our democracy.

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