Harnessing the power: ANC in action
- Styli Charalambous
- 21 Dec 2012 02:18 (South Africa)
The first thing that greets you as you cross from the outside world into the plenary tent of Narnia, is the wall of heat generated from the thronging masses of provincial delegates. Moments before, I’d spotted service technicians pumping litres of gas into air-conditioning units in what seemed a fruitless exercise. The sweat poured off our brows as we scrambled for seats in the allocated media seating area, ahead of Msholozi’s grandiose entrance. The atmosphere: electric.
I’ve come to realise that being a non-member of the ANC inside the plenary tent for the occasion is a privileged experience that will stay etched in my memory forever. It also gave me a newfound perspective of the party, whose politics and people had previously only played out in the parallel world of newspapers, web pages and television screens.
Even with the most predictable set of results for the Top Six in recent memory, the congress of delegates were chanting and dancing in the aisles, their energy raising the tented roof. And their euphoria was contagious, regardless of one’s political affiliation. Words struggle to do the experience the justice as one by one the six most powerful politicians in the country took to the stage amid the raptures of an electorate who had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Zuma slate.
To see the ANC’s heart beating before one’s eyes is quite mesmerising and left me in awe of the party in a way I found quite surprising. It’s only then I got a true appreciation for the power this party commands in the mad hatter world of South African politics, a breakaway from the countless scandals and naysaying that had dominated the media coverage of the ruling party. Thousands of party representatives in a confined space, ready to welcome in a new era of their chosen one.
Following the announcements, celebrations meandered outside the tent with sporadic groups of branch delegates breaking into an impromptu swaying and singing that us white folk could only hope to emulate. The lawns of the University of the Free State were awash with jiving black, green and gold colours of the ANC. Witnessing these scenes, you begin to understand how the ANC truly does come from greatness, having fought so long and selflessly to liberate a nation from tyranny.
I have never being a card-carrying member of any political party and most likely will never be, but at that point, romanticism fuelled by emotions got me thinking. Being part of movement that can harness such passion and power, that can shape a country’s destiny, certainly has its appeal. For all the naysaying, the ANC has delivered on some of its promises to the people, but none greater than the freedom that allowed it’s 53rd conference to be held in the middle of Bloemfontein. This behemoth of an organisation can make a real difference to the people who need it most in the country. It has the resources, the skills and the talent at its disposal.
But if anything could scupper the stirrings of my political ambitions, it was the sight emanating from just beyond the dancing delegates, where queues of Range Rovers and BMW’s lined up to carry the party’s elite to some high- browed luncheon, away from the revelling commoners. Needless to say, my inspiration was short-lived.
For all its previous glory and grandeur as a liberation movement, the ANC has struggled as a ruling party, let alone a functional government. A point made so eloquently by former New York Times editor, Bill Keller albeit a little too politely. In his piece, Keller calls South Africa “a blessed and abused country”. Abused by the former Apartheid regime and now abused by the ANC. With all that power at its disposal, the ANC, like so many other freedom movements once united against a common oppressor, has become divided by a multitude of ideals and principles at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. The socio-political differences which were once secondary to the walk to freedom, are now obvious for all to see.
Instead of marshalling South Africa to the heights we know it can achieve, our municipalities, our pupils and our treasuries are being dragged through the sewerage by those abusing the power of ANC. Corruption, fraud and an arrogant sense of entitlement that permeates the upper echelon of the party means things are likely to get worse before we hit absolute rock bottom and things can get better. By worse I mean the continued raping of the country and its resources, and by better I mean a change in ANC leadership. When enough hope has been destroyed and the laurels of liberation have been forgotten, maybe then we will see the change the ANC needs to embrace.
Imagine an intensely powerful Top Six working together for the greater good of the nation, rather than cadre gain. Imagine a national executive committee of 80 inspired by true leader of the nation. Imagine 4,500 branch delegates running functional municipalities and harnessing the efforts of 1,2 million members. Imagine what we could achieve.
Leaving Mangaung, I know I will be a more informed and more concerned citizen. For South Africa to prosper, to be more than just a resource-laden token appointment to BRICS, to be a continental superpower, to be the country we deserve, we need the ANC. Just not in its current state. DM
- Book review: The Grand Scam by Rob Rose – how the Tannenbaums and Madoffs get away with it
- Analysis: The Kallis Conundrum
- Read the writing on the paywall
- Balancing the budget, NDP-style
- Harnessing the power: ANC in action
- Operation Mangaung 2012: chaos reigns supreme
- Survivor: Media edition
- South Africa's bittersweet Olympics
- Ernie Els recaptures form - and the Claret jug
- The 50 Shades of Victoria's Secret
- Prohibiting prohibition
- A brief history of rogue bankers
- Boks v England: Dour end to series win
- Meyer and Boks pass first test hurdle - just
- Speartackled: The real story
- First Thing with Styli Charalambous: UN Security Council condemns Syria attack
- My coming-out story
- Dear Heyneke Meyer, April Fools' is no more
- Masters: Bubba breaks South African hearts
- Will the gays and women please rise?
- Don't touch me on my sponsor
- 25 Billion reasons why Apple isn't going away anytime soon
- The Entrepreneur Chronicles: Q&A with Ronnie Apteker
- Entrepreneur chronicles: Snapbill
- The Entrepreneur Chronicles: Dave Blakey & Snapt
- Final whistle blows for Capello
- ANC's mining solutions: a depressing exercise
- Analysis: Facebook's $100-billion reality
- Djokovic triumphs in clash of the titans
- Rugby: Letting the tiger out the bag
- The changing face of cricket
- Australian Open preview: Clash of the Titans
- 2011 - The sporting year that wasn't
- Bridging the funding divide
- Up yours! New Zealand style
- Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best Springbok coach of all?
- What if Zuckerberg came from Sandton?
- Yippee - the Outsurance pointsmen are gone
- Six Nations is Bryce-less
- Kings of Leon: anything but a royal performance
- SA Tennis: no game, no set, no match
- Why the orchids of RWC 2011 reek of onions - An overview
- A generation later, All Blacks are World Champions again
- World Cup farce preview
- End of the Federer era? Don't bet on it
- All Blacks bundle Australia out of RWC
- Sacrebleu! as France stumble into World Cup final
- Where to now, Bokke?
- Australia break South African hearts
- Wales polish off Ireland in Wellington
- Quarterfinal crunch time at RWC
- Weekend of wonder at Rugby World Cup
- Boks bruise their way to win over Samoa
- All Blacks boss France off Auckland's Eden Park
- Bok selections: good headaches to have
- Jesus, the USA and gay rights
- Irish make mockery of the formbook and Australia
- Boks blow Fijians away in Wellington
- Boks scrape through in Wellington thriller
- The time has come: crouch, touch, pause... Engage!
- 'I got World Cup fever; she got World Cup fever!'
- Sonny Bill Williams and Rugby Union: End of a brief but dazzling affair?
- Wallabies beat All Blacks in Brisbane bruiser
- A team of 30, backed by a team of millions
- Hope restored as Boks put All Blacks to bed
- Smith's exit could be Boks' Achilles Heel
- US Open - last chance saloon for the Fed express
- John Smit drops to Bok bench for All Blacks encounter
- Moment of truth awaits the Boks in Durban
- The Global Financial Crisis - a bedtime story
- Blackout at Eden Park, as All Blacks demolish Wallabies
- Tri-Nations decider - a Pacific skirt-lifting affair
- Why I'm betting on the Boks to bring home the Rugby World Cup
- All Blacks blow Boks off Wellington's Westpac Park
- Tri-Nations preview: Winds of Wellington will blow Boks away
- Wallaby display dazzles Bok B-Team
- Tri-Nations: Short-term pain for World Cup gain
- Super Rugby fairytale Crusaders ending ruined by Red devils
- Brisbane promises breathtaking rugby as Reds face off to Crusaders
- Crusaders storm into Super 15 Final
- Serving up more economic empowerment
- LinkedIn: Taking the office Xmas party public
- Analysis: 100 billion reasons for Zuckerberg to smile
- U2 in Johannesburg - the real greatest show on earth
- Tis the season to be jolly, so hush about the church's lolly
- Beware the state of Nanny McUnfree
- Is the Internet is making us stoopid?
- Time to face reality about steroids?
- Cooler than English?
- In defence of Tiger