South Africa: Can the ANC still be trusted?

2013-10-18 18:18

This is no time to leave the ANC alone. NO. Not when its controversial legacy is giving rise to so many legitimate concerns. As the 2014 election is up in the offing for the nation to set the sail for a new chapter in the country’s democracy, the natural question  for many  South Africans has been whether the ANC's current leadership can still be trusted after so many failures.

From its inception in 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) has existed as a revolutionary national liberation movement. The main aims of the ANC include, inter alia, the liberation of all African people from both political and economic bondage and the creation of an inclusive democratic society.

These noble aims for which the founding fathers of modern South Africa (SA) stood, have appealed to people from the wide political spectrum and helped to end the formal existence of apartheid in 1994, the year Mandela stood to preside the destiny of the nation. His unique vision, selfless leadership and inspiration generated laudable achievements that ushered the country into the concert of respected nations.

Without doubt, the many achievements of SA under the ANC leadership can hardly be summed up into one stanza and include, among others, better access to education with the more than 1, 700 classrooms built, and access to potable water as well as many state-sponsored services for millions of people.

Unfortunately however, this clean record of achievements is being marred by the ineptitude of the new ANC leadership, leading many critics to question and challenge the relevance of the ANC in post-apartheid SA.

ANC to what end anymore

Indeed, that the ANC is not standing true to its historic vision and oft-mouthed platitude of an inclusive and democratic society is evidenced by its many failures both at home and abroad.

The current reading of the country indicates that its 21.9% unemployment rate in 2008 has gone up to 24.9% as of 2013. Curiously, those who pay the most price for this unemployment are, unfortunately, the youth. With a whopping 50% rate of unemployment, this resilient SA youth has long ceased to see the future in green.

Additionally, the business-labor relationship is at its high worst as evidence by the recent waves of wildcat strikes in different sectors of the economy. The rich see the poor as a threat to their accumulated wealth while the poor see the rich as the cause of their indigence. Consequently, there are now legitimate fears that if the present status quo continues, the future of SA might be stocked with instability and internal conflicts, which might in turn, hamper viable economic progress and compromise the future of the nation's democracy altogether.

This series of failures within are further compounded by the failures without.

In Zimbabwe, while Robert Mugabe was killing his own people and the whole world was turning to SA for help, we disappointed them. In the 2011 Libyan crisis, when SA was supposed to show clear leadership, it failed. Sadly still, SA’s recent intervention in Central African Republic (CAR) that resulted in the death of more than 50 South African soldiers was a total embarrassment. That it took the French president to come and remind Zuma of his leadership role in African crises is, we must admit, pathetic.

We need the ANC yes, but to what end anymore though?

Idle no more

Too much harm has been done to this country and its reputation. South Africans are confused. Minorities are alienated. The cause for which Mandela fought all his life has been sidelined.

This is no time to parade with Mandela’s memorabilia to sell the party to the population when there are so many indications that the party is not delivering on its promises. It is time for the ANC to reinvent itself and set the sail for a broad-based political consensus or dissolve to rally around specific political ideologies with clear directions.

This is a homework the ANC leadership must do, failing which, SA must ask whether it is any safe to entrust the future of the country to this leadership. Alternatively, is there any other alternative to the ANC?

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