By The Rivers of Babylon: The ANC's Sad Song

2016-11-29 17:03

History will record that the cowardly organization formerly known as the ANC, convened a media briefing following the last meeting of its National Executive Committee for 2016. This was so that they could read out a disturbing suicide note to all who cared to listen. Through the gravel-voiced ramblings of one Gwede Mantashe, the party conveyed its message to an angry nation through addressing members of the media who noted, recorded and broadcast all of the things that the ANC failed to do.

In a departure from their glorious history they chose to no longer be part of the country’s future. The capitulation or defeat of the anti-Zuma forces represents a low point from which the party might not recover. They have chosen to go the way of the dinosaurs-big, scary and extinct. The ANC and it’s president may choose to carry on with the “business as usual” charade, attending funerals and opening court buildings, but the truth about their demise will not fade. They can even try to pretend to possess the moral high-ground to be able to chide the media for “reporting falsely about this weekend” with a straight face like Zizi Kodwa. However, you cannot fool all the people, all the time. Day by day, more South Africans are adopting a more militant stance towards the ANC. Across the country and especially in the metros, this alarming truth was revealed during local government elections in August. We are told, however, that some in the NEC believe that there is no empirical evidence to link this demise to the continued stay of Jacob Zuma at the helm.

Third Force/ Apartheid/ White Monopoly Capital or any other thing is to blame, anything but Zuma. It is thus not surprising that many ANC members are walking away from the party and its structures in the same way that the EFF walks out of parliament every time Zuma is scheduled to speak. This organizational demise was highlighted by none other than Zuma himself when he read a speech about the numbers dwindling from 1,2 million (or one hundred point two million, in Zuma’s words) to about seven hundred thousand members. Yet he remains.

2019 will be a year of reckoning, and the ANC, or whatever is left of it, will be found wanting. Never in the history of the organization has one man done this much damage and escaped so unscathed. Where the ANC has failed to correct in the past, others, including the courts have had to step in. It would seem that the solutions for the ANC no longer reside within the ANC. The movement’s core competency, when not trying to mimic Apartheid Grand Corruption, seems to be singing lullabies to the country. Lullabies designed to pacify those who are angry and disillusioned with the state of the nation and persuade them to give the party “one more chance”.

The latest off-key lullaby was so elaborate that it even had verses to translate the confusing words and actions on the last few days to us who “misread the situation”. What we and the media called “fights, arguments and threats” Mantashe termed “robust, candid and difficult discussion”. What we outsiders mistook for a push for the removal or stepping down of Zuma as president was actually a “call to immediately work towards unity”. Along came Mantashe’s deputy, Jessie Duarte who joined this song with her own "clarifications". Despite the fact that we have witnessed several elective conferences within the ANC, she boldly declared “there is no voting in the ANC” and more interestingly she called the extended brawl of the last few days a “good discussion”. In a week where many are nervous about a potential downgrade by Standard & Poor’s, she tried to comfort us by saying that the NEC “touched briefly on the economy” and added that she felt that the ANC had done enough to give comfort to the people of the country. Not a bad duet from a duo that have been accused of not singing from the same hymn sheet in the past. One would venture a guess that somber moments like these require people to put aside their differences and respect the dearly departed. Even if they have only departed to Havana.

While these two sang their lullaby, the main culprit was, as you would have guessed, thousands of miles away mourning the death of El Jefe, the Comandante of the Cuban revolution. The words of  one wise man spring to mind: “Let the dead bury their own dead”.

We have asked many times before, why there is no change, why the elephant was not turning? Now it’s plain to see that it was for lack of life. (And no, we are not calling the ANC “dead”). There is a difference. Just like there is a difference between (a) laying charges against Adv.Thuli Madonsela and (b) opening a case that requires investigation, like Adv.Busisiwe Mkhwebane explained. The kind of difference that had legal expert Pierre de Vos wondering whether it was “like the difference between dancing and jiving, being hungry or famished, being cold or freezing, being dumb or being stupid?”

*Akani writes in his personal capacity

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