Braving The Cold

2017-04-06 11:44

On the 5th of April, 2017, the ANC called a press conference to present the outcomes of the ANC National Working Committee (NWC) meeting held the night before. The main takeaway was that the ANC accepted Zuma’s new explanation for his midnight cabinet reshuffle. On the 5th of April 2016, the ANC called a conference, also addressed by Mantashe, to announce the outcome of an NWC meeting. Here, the ANC accepted Zuma’s so-called apology for “frustration and confusion” of the Nkandla scandal. Different year, different scandal. Same party, same culprit, same old, same old.

The pusillanimous Gwede Mantashe’s capitulation following his earlier display of anger and dismay at the president telling his fellow “top 6” leaders to rubber-stamp a cabinet list that was, in his, words, developed “elsewhere” was disappointing, but not surprising. “Uncle Gwede" has become the ANC’s court jester; a clown employed by the king to entertain his guests as well as common folk at fairs and markets. Sadly for this kingdom, the markets were not in the mood for jokes. That this press conference had followed a ratings downgrade by Standard & Poors was not lost on them or the country.

The ANC has always believed itself to be a leader of society. However, it’s commitment to this ideal blows hot and cold like the moods of its secretary general. The ANC was led by the EFF into robust debate about the land question. It was also led by the EFF and the DA into accepting that Nkandla was an inexcusable, indefensible and embarrassing flouting of the Constitution. It was left to students to lead the ANC into acting on its own published policy of achieving free higher education through #FeesMustFall. The students also led the ANC into the idea of insourcing of workers on university campuses. Ever the follower, the ANC now refuses to be led by the wishes of ordinary South Africans who want Zuma to go. The ANC, through Mr Jellyspine Mantashe declared that the motion of no-confidence would receive no support from ANC MPs. He said that its soldiers would “not be commanded by an enemy general”! When did the consciences of erstwhile freedom fighters become the enemy? On whose behalf do ANC MPs exercise state power? The mysterious inhabitants of “elsewhere” perhaps?

When UDM leader Bantu Holomisa was expelled from the ANC in 1996, he was told something similar to what Lekota and Shilowa were told when they left to form COPE in 2008. The same message was also conveyed to Julius Malema when he was also expelled from the ANC in 2012. “It is cold outside the ANC”. This chilling warning has proven true for some, while to others it has proven an to be an outdated myth. The truth is that, warm as it is, the inside of the ANC is a rotten place. Inside the ANC are demagogues like Maine. Inside the ANC are travelgate fraudsters who preside over the national assembly, inside the ANC are Instagram models moonlighting as ministers. There are also “good men and women” who are too cowardly to tell the emperor that he has no clothes, there are presidential hopefuls who have no spur to prick the sides of their intent, who stand by and say “I’m angry but won’t do anything about it”. The ANC seems to have reached a point reached by Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF and many other liberation movements, the point of permanent disconnect from the people whose hopes and aspirations it claims to represent.

Many who harbour the “leading ANC” myth are now denouncing the actions of Mcebisi Jonas and Dipuo Peters who have decided to resign as ANC MP’s. “Stay and fight from within” they say, as if that actually means anything. If the ANC is leading, it is not to the promised land of "radical economic transformation", neither are they leading us to Zimbabwe, as some have said, but they are taking us somewhere else. Zuma is in his closing stages of his presidency taking us back to the location of his first foreign visit as head of state in 2009. Angola. In oil-rich Angola, the richest person is the president Dos Santos daughter. She also heads up the state oil company Sonangol. Angola’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is headed up by Jose Dos Santos, the president’s son…you get the picture… moving forward, moving back.

It is time for many in the country to do something they have been reluctant to do. It is time to brave the cold and step out…


*Akani writes in his personal capacity

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