The Gupta Saga, A National Mirror Broken?

2016-03-21 19:49

The past week was enlightening. For sure many are left numb with the overload of the unsavory news of the Gupta brothers. Others are frightened while others are troubled with a paralysing sense of helplessness. Quo Vadis. Where do we go from here? I pick 5 ways that the Gupta story will affect the ANC and South Africa at large. FIRST. There is a cliché that when you fight corruption, it fights back. This is what is going to happen. You will see the covert and overt fighting back by those who were exposed and shamed by the revelations. And this is going to be brutal. SECOND. People are beginning to understand what the ANC NEC is in essence. Constitutionally the power of the ANC resides in the NEC but in actual practice power is within the grip of the ANC President. The ANC President is everything. His role is not regulated by the men and the women who sit in the National Executive Committee. The ANC NEC functions like a municipal council that acts under the direction of the municipal mayor. The function of the ANC NEC in practice is to freeze the ANC President in his position not to remove him.  The structure only acts strongly and decisively when it gets a nod from the President to act in that way. When the issue affects the President it is paralysed. 

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has said this recently that Thabo Mbeki was removed because he was not President of the ANC but this time around it is a different story because the person the people desiring removal is the President of the organisation.

THIRD. The ANC has a fundamental institutional problem. This was expressed by Thabo Mbeki when he wrote recently in one of his online letters: "It is obvious that when the ANC became a ruling party in 1994 we could not foresee and prepare for all the challenges the organisation would face in terms of its work". The ANC has a fundamental organisational problem. That problem is the inability to adjust itself to the scale and nature of changing reality. Most of its leaders just want the world to stand still, but the world cannot stand still - it never does! When problems arise all it can do is to freeze the position of the President and then tell its rank and file to close ranks: defend the ANC.

FOURTH. The glass that is called the African National Congress, this artifice that has fascinated the South African society with great personal stories of selflessness, discipline, dedication, strength of personal character and exemplary leadership has fallen.The goose that has been laying the golden eggs lies in ruins. What is left of the greatness of the ANC is only memories.

Now its leaders are focused on vacuuming money for their personal glory. They spend all their waking and sleeping hours scheming on how to redirect whatever money is within sight (as well as much that is far from sight) into their personal pockets. They speak the language of civility, virtues, and good characters: they talk about lifting the poor people out of poverty while thrusting a sharp long knife into the back of the poor people - causing them more misery and hardships.

The institution called the ANC is not broken but it has been shattered into thousands cracks.It will require a first rate glassmith to repair the cracks.

NUMBER FIVE. The ANC has always trapped its members with a conceptual mindset: Defend the ANC. The President needs to be defended. Defend the movement, the movement is under attack. It is now clear that to continue defending the ANC will require a degree of ignorance that is hard to reach for the normal thinking person. It will be done but as a form of mere lip service not out of conviction and passion that has always characterized the ANC cadre. As ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said; events unfolding on the Gupta saga have gone too far.

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