The ANC and the big DA-Britain conspiracy

2012-10-22 12:48

I spent a large chunk of my ten-year career as a political journalist to convince pessimists that South Africa is not going to become a second Zimbabwe – for that our institutions and civil society are too strong and our international image too important to our leaders.

But clearly I did not do enough to convince some top leaders in the ANC.

Some leaders, it has emerged, seem to believe that like the MDC in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Alliance is secretly being funded by the British government in an attempt to gain a foothold in South Africa and eventually dislodge the ANC.

They base this on meetings between the British high commissioner and DA leader Helen Zille, the transfer of DA strategist Ryan Coetzee to work for British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Zille's recent visit to Britain.

Laughable. That's the only way to describe this.

But it is laughing with a tear - because it shows the incredible ability by the ANC to look for the enemy everywhere except within. To even make one up if you have to.

There's no doubt Britain has an interest in what happens in South Africa. British mining companies make billions of rands here and they certainly don't want to see that dwindle.

That is why, apart from inviting Helen Zille to London, they also invited president Jacob Zuma - and in 2010 hosted  him and his entourage in Buckingham Palace.

Government officials regularly get invited to London and they happily take up the offers, diplomats say, because sometimes they have more of a shopping trip to Harrods in mind than high-level political discussions.

But this thinking in the ANC and especially the intelligence resources deployed to "investigate" the relationship, speaks of a party that can't own up to its own mistakes.

There are still some in the ANC who believe the Western Cape can be won back from the DA - convinced that voters were merely misled when they were convinced to vote for Zille's party. It is unfathomable for this group in the ANC to imagine their descent in the province might have much to do with what the ANC has to offer.

Being in office has certainly exposed the DA to the challenges governance brings - as the Public Protector’s report about the processes in the Western Cape government shows. But for the ANC to maintain its hegemony in the South African society they will need to chip away at the DA’s successes and show how it can do a better job.

Nothing is gained by cooking up plots of how we will be re-colonised and spooking South Africans into re-imagining a British version of the  Drommedaris pulling up again in False Bay.

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