OP-ED

The dream we had of a glorious ANC has not been deferred — it has been destroyed

By Zwelinzima Vavi 29 April 2019

Convener of the New Federation Steering Committee, Zwelinzima Vavi during a media briefing on September 01, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Jabu Kumalo)

The rot runs deep in the ANC and the party is deeply compromised. The destruction not only of the party, but also of the country, that began under Jacob Zuma is so severe that Cyril Ramaphosa may never be able to undo the damage. And Ramaphosa kept quiet for far too long while Zuma and his cohorts ran roughshod over the Constitution, the courts, and the country.

In conversation with my Homeboy, Mthimkhulu Mashiya: Congratulations again Radebe [Mashiya’s clan name] for a well-presented argument in which you eloquently articulated a position that the country has no other choice but to vote for the ANC under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. The central argument you were making is that this will strengthen him to deal with his corrupt comrades he serves within the leadership structures of the ANC post-elections. I respectfully hold a different view, Mkhaya wam.

Let me make a few confessions up front. I allowed my membership of the ANC to lapse. I could no longer defend my membership of the once-glorious movement of the people in my political consciousness.

Second, I am a socialist. I declare bias towards the working class. I believe that the people have made tremendous gains under the ANC leadership, but overall, the 25 years of the ANC rule has been disastrous for the working class where it matters most — the midsection of the body. Employment, which is the source of dignity, has worsened to the point that we have the worst youth unemployment rate in the world. We hold the infamous title of being the most unequal society in the world. Poverty has increased now to afflict 55% of the population. Our two-tier education and health system are utterly dysfunctional for the poor majority, but excellent for those who can afford it, as epitomised by the Life Esidimeni massacre.

I am not going to bore you with more statistics that show how our people are reeling under the consequences of this triple crisis in terms of record-breaking levels of crime, the epidemic of drugs among the African youth, the deepening culture of violence and crime, the scourge of suicide among the young boys, etc.

On these facts alone, how do you ask the working class and the poor to continue endorsing their worsening material conditions for another 25 years? That’s why I said your concerns represent the people of where we reside now in Sandton and not the people of Alexandra and Sada where we came from.

The third confession is that I am not an angel. I have committed fundamental political and personal mistakes and scored own goals. The difference between many others and me is that I have taken full responsibility for all of the errors of judgment I have committed. Some of these have been very costly not only for me, but for the movement I once cherished, and the country I love so dearly.

Fourth, I want to confess that Cyril Ramaphosa was my hero! I consider him as one of the senior leaders who played a significant role in shaping my own development. As you know, I was a member of the union he led with distinction. He signed my first cheque when I graduated from being a shaft steward to a union organiser. I have led songs in his praise in all NUM and Cosatu gatherings. Up today I call him fondly “ngqondo-ngqondo”, loosely translated as the brainy one.

I hope that I am not unfair to him that I judge him today by the standards he set for us as shaft stewards, perhaps under a different set of circumstances and conditions.

The ‘Great Men and Women’ view of history

While preparing this response, I read a short pamphlet by Rob Sewell on the Decisive Role of the Individual in History. In summary, Rob Sewell makes the points below.

Many believe that history is made by “Great Men and Women”, kings and queens, statesmen and politicians. Supposedly through their force of character, they can shape history while the masses play little or no role.

I don’t deny the role of individuals, but history is made by a dialectical relationship between the individual (the subjective) and the great forces (objective) that govern the movement of society.

No person, no matter how talented, capable or far-sighted, can determine the main course of historical development, which is shaped by objective forces. However, under critical circumstances, the role played by individuals can be decisive. Under certain circumstances, the “subjective factor” can become the most crucial fact in history. I am going to speak to these subjective and objective factors in our conjuncture.

While the individual in history can be seen to have played essential roles, such a role could only be undertaken in the given social conditions — the objective factors. The personal qualities of the leading individuals play their part, but only within the general context, and are subordinate to the broader historical forces at play.

What were these “historic forces at play” in the ANC and South Africa today? The historical forces in our context are the motive forces that led a struggle to defeat colonialism and apartheid under the leadership of the ANC which itself was led by capable individuals leading a highly ethical movement of the people. We talking of Chief Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, and countless others who have, in a different epoch, been replaced by Jacob Zuma, Gwede Mantashe, Ace Magashule, Malusi Gigaba and, may I add, Cyril Ramaphosa himself.

The subjective and objective factors have changed. This is not the ANC, a liberation movement whose leaders led through the force of example. I am not in any way suggesting that all past leaders were the best we have had.

A quarter-century of bourgeois democracy

In the coming week, we will be marking the first quarter of a century under new conditions of a bourgeois democracy led by the ANC. The ANC is a governing party under new conditions of a constitutional democracy that gives us a Bill of Rights, but that also seeks to enforce property relations as defined under colonial, apartheid and capitalist conditions. The ANC has since the inception of the new order been articulating how these conditions and trappings of power have corroded its values and ethos.

Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us” — Nelson Mandela

I think that the trust you have in President Cyril Ramaphosa as an individual is misplaced in this context of historical materialism — the objective and subjective factors.

Let’s start with the subjective factors, Bhungana. There is a big difference between Cyril Ramaphosa, a militant socialist, and an organiser who was a stubborn and arrogant (in a necessary and progressive way given conditions of the time) product of the black consciousness movement, and the Cyril Ramaphosa who is a ruthless capitalist and a multi-billionaire whose wealth is accumulated through the super-exploitation of the working class he once represented with distinction.

I hear a voice whispering in my ear saying — what capitalist? What has he ever produced in which factory and mine he managed personally? If anything he is a typical example of the comprador bourgeoisie whose fortunes are not accrued by business astuteness but by proximity to white monopoly capital in general and a multinational conglomerate, Anglo American, in particular. In case some don’t know what a comprador bourgeoisie is let’s help: The comprador bourgeoisie is “a section of an indigenous middle class allied with foreign investors, multi-national corporations, bankers, and military interests”.

It is the failure to recognise this in particular that makes your argument to be flawed Ndlebentle zombini.

The ANC as an Nguni-dominated organisation

Ramaphosa let me remind you, resigned as the ANC secretary-general after losing out in a race to become the deputy president of the ANC and the country, contrary to the wishes of our icon, Nelson Mandela. Tata Mandela was obsessed with the need to address a perception that the ANC was an Nguni-dominated organisation. He wanted to be succeeded by a non-Nguni and Cyril was his choice. But then there were several more senior ANC leaders in the ANC who happened to be Nguni.

When this non-Nguni card fell flat, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa is said to have taken this so personally that he missed the historic inauguration of Nelson Mandela where Cde Thabo Mbeki became the Deputy President.

He resigned as the secretary-general and the ANC “deployed him to business”, at least according to Cde Nelson Mandela.

A lot of us committed that cardinal sin of defending a compromised leader from 2005 until the majority of the ANC members won in the infamous Polokwane conference.

We had stupidly believed that Cde Jacob Zuma was the best for the job. He was the only one willing to raise his hand against a common enemy of what we called a “coalition of the wounded”. However, more importantly, JZ was too desperate to lead! He had all manner of allegations following him. We were concerned about these allegations, but had felt that the need to, as we mistakenly called it, “bring back the ANC” to its members and liberate it from the claws of the aloof leader who was driving a class agenda hostile to the interests of the working class, weighed above the immediate concerns or revolutionary morality. So we committed this cardinal mistake.

Let me summarise the mistake we committed. We forsook principles for the concept of “a better devil” than the one that had sidelined and humiliated us in public. The country has not recovered from the destruction that followed.

But there is something we don’t want to confront which the election of Cde Jacob Zuma symbolised. The elevation of a compromised leader to the highest office of the land epitomises the emergence of a new ANC which started forming immediately after 1994. Already by then, the ANC had been wounded! We closed our ears to clear problematic tendencies that had emerged conveniently. We saw bums in the ANCYL congress in Bloemfontein. We saw coffins written with the names of the leaders of the opposite camp. At the Polokwane conference itself, we saw delegates standing on chairs shouting down much older comrades such as ntate Mendi Simang. Money was slowly becoming a significant factor in the elections of the new leaders across the alliance.

We conveniently did not stop this because it favoured our agenda. The ANC branches were now willing to elect a compromised leader to lead the process of “renewal” — to claim back the ANC from what to what is the question we did not truly engage with.

Jacob Zuma, the compromised leader

This new ANC led by the compromised leader was enjoying the support of 60% of the delegates to the conference and started a phenomenon that many such as former President Mbeki and former secretary-general and deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe have been articulating in the recent past.

The ANC of strong ethical leadership had been buried, and a new ANC of patronage and thieves was emerging. The death of politics and ideology characterised this new ANC. Its new ideology now was the tender, associated with holding a political office at all costs.

A full destruction of the state was to follow. This destruction began with the dissolution of the Scorpions, which we naively supported. More was to follow. All of us started to ask questions, initially whispering in our comfort zones, and slowly we began to express these concerns forcefully in public meetings, in the presence of the media and discussion documents.

Some of us paid the price for speaking out against what was a full-blown counter-revolutionary agenda. I am very proud of my own role in the mobilisation of the citizens to resist what today is called State Capture.

There was growing unhappiness about the state of affairs. There were now countless examples that demonstrated that the ANC itself was being hollowed out. The Cabinet and the NEC have been juniorised. Seasoned cadres were sidelined and rooted out. Principled and good nationalist leaders like Zola Skweyiya, Barbara Masekela and later the socialists like Thenjiwe Mtintso were sent to a new exile to be forgotten. Some, albeit few, such as Pallo Jordan, refused to be exiled through the ambassadorial positions. However, Pallo Jordan had a secret, which was used to weaken him fundamentally.

Tokyo Sexwale was also shown the door for pointing out that the army had been deployed into a foreign land without express Cabinet approval. The whole Cabinet and the NEC knew this is the real reason he had to go, but the Land Rover and newly acquired farms weighed heavily on their political consciousness.

All the tried and tested leaders were replaced by the juniors, in the making of the likes of Fikile Mbalula, Malusi Gigaba, Faith Muthambi and others, all in the name of bringing the youth into the leadership. Before we knew it, almost everyone was calling the President not comrade President, but Ubaba. The era of cutthroat politics and the survival of the fittest had arrived.

A culture of fear and sycophancy

Before we knew it the same culture of fear and sycophancy we struggled against during the Mbeki presidency was back multifold! Chaos was unfolding and corruption which was always there deepened to unprecedented proportions. At times, even apartheid operatives were replacing skilled and experienced and well-trained cadres. Richard Mdluli was in charge of Crime Intelligence. ANC cadres into which many years of investment had been made to develop their skills were now being replaced left, right and centre. In the process, the likes of Gibson Njenje, Jeff Maqethuka and Mo Shaik in Intelligence were replaced by apartheid-era operatives. Malusi Gigaba became Minister of Public Enterprises and wasted no time in launching a full-scale campaign to purge all capable ANC-linked personnel and replace them with Gupta appointees in all state-owned enterprises. You have to read The President’s Keepers, the SACC’s Betrayal of the Dream, The Republic of Gupta, and Outa’s A President Caught in the Act to appreciate the destruction that followed.

This is the context under which the 2012 ZuMantashe campaign took place. A very reluctant and usually very cautious Kgalema Motlanthe eventually agreed to stand in direct opposition to this train of the destruction of the ANC and its alliance partners. His very late entry into the fray did not help people seeking for an alternative.

But the train of destruction had gained full speed. Motlanthe stood no chance. He could not rely on the people who once vowed that they would never serve under Jacob Zuma. These people, such as Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, have been given what they valued more than principles — the Land Rovers associated with Cabinet positions. Eventually, Motlanthe was humiliated in the conference. Warlords who were clearly new recruits schooled in the IFP culture sang a song I have never heard before taunting Motlanthe to leave if he so wished.

Motlanthe had made it clear that he would rather be humiliated than to endorse by stealth the looting spree happening in the name of the ANC. If you want to know what broke the camel’s back in my case, it was this moment, combined with the worsening material conditions of the working class.

Your man, the new Cyril Ramaphosa, apparently never having given up on the dream to ascend to the highest office of the land, had been approached to be a decent face to this chaotic destruction of the ANC and the country.

Ramaphosa, the perfect candidate

Ramaphosa was a perfect candidate. Only a man desperate to lead could jump on to a bandwagon he knew had turned the ANC into a house of hungry hyenas. He had already proven his reliability when he had agreed to the destruction of the ANC Youth League. He rejected an appeal of the then ANCYL President, Julius Malema — dismissed for what was a clear political vendetta of Ubaba. He had sat there quietly when the ANCYL structures were being dissolved from top to bottom. The purpose was to domesticate the youth — nothing else. The debate about the generation of Julius Malema deserves another article, and I have no intention to speak about that in this article, but I insist it was not fair to dismiss him in this instance for voicing a political opinion on Botswana’s politics.

Still, Cyril Ramaphosa had not been associated with corruption scandals outside the illicit cash outflow activities of Lonmin where he was a director, and the Marikana massacre, in both of which he was not directly involved.

The biased pro-big business media never saw both the Marikana massacre and Lonmin illicit cash outflows and mispricing as a problem. Media can dictate the narrative when they are the only player on the field. In the eyes of capital, he was Mr Clean, which is what the discredited ZuMantashe brigade did not have. They needed someone perceived to be of high moral standards to be in the leadership so that they could rent a face to provide a cover to what was now a full-blown “operation vat alles”, may I say an unstoppable tsunami, to a fully-fledged predatory state where there would be no accountability.

He was ready to be used, so he stood, knowing very well why Kgalema Motlanthe was no longer prepared to keep his position as the deputy to a project he had lost influence over, even within the ANC. The deployment committee he was supposed to chair had been made irrelevant as all important appointments were decided at Saxonwold.

The destruction was immediately moved to top gear immediately after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected Deputy President. He sat there quietly as an Egyptian mummy, as John Gomomo liked saying, for nearly five years. He never once raised his finger to protest the destruction of the future of our children. On the contrary, as the country was cringing, he frequently and publicly showered Ubaba with praise, to the dismay and disgust of some of us who had had such deep respect for him.

Even in the period when the campaigning towards the end of the Zuma term had begun being championed by civil society and joined by the opposition parties and even business, he kept on showering him with praises. By the time he opened his mouth following the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan as minister in March 2017, some of us had long written him off.

I have read some desperate people suggesting that he kept quiet and complied with that agenda of destruction for so long because it was a strategy to lie low until the Nasrec moment arrived. Nonsense! What is the price the country paid for his and many others’ silence? But one Twitter friend raised a very important point in a debate with me, saying I must imagine where the country would be today if Cyril Ramaphosa had not followed this strategy of keeping quiet to avoid the axe.

When will the real Cyril Ramaphosa stand up?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Martin Luther King Junior

The ANC was not formed for itself but for the people of South Africa. Its interests and the interests of its members should be subordinated to the interests of the country and not to the political ambitions of its leaders. The ANC taught all of us to love our country and be prepared to lay down and make the ultimate and supreme sacrifice for the common good of the country and its people. That’s what we learned from selfless leaders like Chris Hani.

I’ve never wanted to spare myself because I feel there are people who are no longer around and died for this struggle. What right do I have to hold back, to rest, to preserve my health, to have time with my family, when there are other people who are no longer alive — when they sacrificed what is precious: namely life itself?” — Chris Hani

Let me quote Kgalema Motlanthe because I agree with him wholeheartedly: “Jacob Zuma is now a metonym. He is the ANC, and the ANC is him. The two are inseparable.”

That ANC to which Kgalema Motlanthe referred included Cyril Ramaphosa, who had been a member of the NEC since 1991, a secretary-general and a heavyweight who became the deputy president.

The question that we must ask is, when next will he play along? If he was so scared of Jacob Zuma, what will happen when an even more powerful person emerges? How will he stand up to Donald Trump’s madness and bullying?

The ANC is a sorry shadow of its former self, and frankly, I can’t see it ever coming back to its past glory. This is symbolised by President Ramaphosa admitting in public that there was a special fund created to fund his presidential campaign to be the ANC president. So he is now confirming that we have a new ANC where leaders no longer get identified by members, but ascend to leadership positions based on the size of the wallet, not because they are above reproach.

It’s an era of ondikhetheni and phuma ndingene! A message has now been communicated to the lower structures that it is OK to use money in the leadership context, where allegations fly thick that delegates are bribed to change mandates of their branches in favour of money, where the highest bidder wins the day. Ramaphosa as the president will never be able to tell members that this new culture must be buried as part of the renewal. Here is a more devastating truth; no one can take him to task because everyone else is doing the same across the organisation. I suspect the next leader will also be a multi-billionaire who will pay his way to the hearts of the ANC members.

That he is still the president after this shameful confession, points to how deep-seated the rot is in the ANC as a whole. Is this someone to lead renewal? I firmly believe that he and anyone who was an obedient complier with the project to destroy the country are not fit to lead a renewal of the ANC, worse, to lead the country.

If we corrupt the internal processes of the organisation, we will have corruption across the length and breadth of the country. We can’t fail to practice democracy internally and hope to practice it in terms of the country as a whole.” — Kgalema Motlanthe

Above all, let us for argument’s sake make a point that the people who supported the current ANC president are all or mostly clean and are all pursuing this renewal and self-correction. Give me 20 of these leaders who are, and who can go through the eye of the needle, and tell me why they are not in the leadership to lead the renewal project. Let’s start in the top six — start counting, Mkhaya! As I edit this article, I see in the City Press headlines that the Integrity Commission has asked the very deputy president and national chairperson to step down from the list to Parliament.

Let me tell you what is going to be their defence: They will ask that pertinent question — “what about?” What about the very president who willfully lied and misled Parliament and later tried to do damage control on the Bosasa matter? They will ask the same question about others in the top six, and they will say this is all factional manoeuvre.

Nearly everyone is compromised

The reality is that the rot runs too deep. All sides are deeply compromised. Bathabile Dlamini’s famous quote was spot on! We are talking degrees of corruption here, not a movement with sufficient numbers of leaders who can lead it back to its former glory.

The Nasrec conference produced a 51/49 split. Admittedly the 51% took a posture of the clean girls and boys angry with the Zupta brigade.

As now all and sundry can observe, the rot coming out of the closet, as exposed by the Zondo Commission, has put the ANC as a whole on trial. The divisions are not ideological or even political. That’s why you will never again see a debate among ANC members on the direction of the National Democratic Revolution. There is one ideology now as imposed during the Mandela/Mbeki era. The ANC is a black version of the DA — they are all free market economy fundamentalists who believe that the solution to this 2008/9 world economic crisis caused by the greed of American capital must be solved through neoliberal and austerity measures. Ramaphosa believes in this, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma believes the same.

I acknowledge that 51% may have grown bigger now. In the new ANC, individuals shift their loyalties based on calculations of what price individuals will pay for sticking with the forces that have lost power. The considerations now have to do with how individuals endear themselves to the leader and the faction he had led so that they don’t prejudice themselves when patronage is distributed.

Let me make a confession though, Mkhaya: The ANC under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa has a far better image than the ANC under the leadership of Jacob Zuma. However, Mkhaya, important as that is, the poor don’t eat excellent images. It is the ANC policies, inspired by the neoliberal enforcers in Washington, the rating agencies whose policies have helped to reproduce poverty, unemployment and inequalities, that matter the most even though we have now learnt the connection between unethical leadership and poverty.

Having said this, I hold the view that no one is capable of taking the ANC and the country into uncharted waters the way Jacob Zuma did. I don’t know if this argument can be sustained, though, after reading Gangster State on Ace Magashule.

It is good that today the ANC supports the Zondo Commission. The ANC under the leadership of Jacob Zuma was dragged screaming and kicking into supporting the Commission. However, Mkhaya, we have Thuli Madonsela to thank for the Zondo Commission, not the ANC.

But it is important that the President initiated the other commissions to expose and uproot the crimes against our people. This is commendable and must be supported.

Limited reforms, not a fundamental change

Going back to the dialectics of the objective and subjective factors. In my view, Cyril Ramaphosa can only drive an agenda of limited reforms, but not a fundamental change of government and the ANC. He has limited scope to use his prerogative to appoint Cabinet and appoint people to state institutions.

I doubt that he has the backbone and support base even to implement the limited reforms demanded by the Mangaung conference of the ANC.

Let us quote a few passages from the Mangaung conference to develop this argument further. The conference said:

Having noted that the gradual erosion of the core values of the ANC threatens its continuing existence in the second centenary, Conference agrees unanimously that safeguarding and promoting the core values of the ANC constitute one of the key tasks of the second phase of the transition.

The promotion of our core values should be undertaken within the context of the ideological struggle to cultivate progressive values among all South Africans as part of building a national democratic society…

Conference reaffirms the NGC resolution on the setting up of the Integrity Commissions at all levels of the organisation. More urgent steps should be taken to protect the image of the organisation and enhance its standing in society by ensuring, among others, that urgent action is taken to deal with public officials, leaders, and members of the ANC who face damaging allegations of improper conduct. In addition, measures should be put in place to prevent abuse of power or office for private gain or factional interests.

The ANC can no longer allow prolonged processes that damage its integrity…

The ANC members who are found guilty of wrongdoing in other institutions of society should also be subjected to internal disciplinary processes in line with the ANC Code of Conduct. This will send an unambiguous message in society that the ANC does not tolerate any wrongdoing, including corruption, among its members.

Conference further instructs the incoming NEC to: Develop a code of conduct booklet (to be) circulated to all branches within the first quarter of 2013.”

I doubt you have seen any booklet circulated on the code of conduct. The reason for this is simple. There is no united leadership collective to drive this. The branches have been corrupted over time and can only produce a hastened move towards a total decay.

You are now asking us to vote for people condemned by the Public Protector, High Court and even the Constitutional Court with a hope that after the elections they will be dealt with.

There are no objective factors that exist today to drive a new movement towards a better life for all. There is no alternative today that our people trust that can bring back the ethos of Chris Hani’s ANC. That ethos of selflessness has been replaced by the capitalist ethos of “me first, to hell with everyone else”.

No individual leader can champion a revolutionary programme alone — worse when the individual concerned is not a revolutionary. You need unity, and unfortunately, that’s not going to be forthcoming in a fractured ANC. Wait and see the pandemonium the day Zondo publishes his recommendations after listening to all the dirt.

It is politically naïve — or downright opportunistic — to think an individual can lead this renewal agenda. The current top six can’t change the direction of the ANC. You have to read the book Nothing Left to Steal to understand what DD Mabuza represents. You have to listen to Angelo Agrizzi to appreciate the reality of a compromised national chairperson and so many in the ANC leadership. Read Gangster State and The President’s Keepers to understand how deep the rot is.

The current Public Protector has condemned the very head of the elections of the ANC for violating the Constitution. The reason he can’t be taken out is simple — who is clean who can take over?

I am waiting with keen interest to hear what the Public Protector is going to say about the president misleading Parliament on the Bosasa saga. I have a suspicion that advocate Mkhwebane will not spare the president, and when that happens, many will feel like burying themselves.

A compromised president?

Outside of that, he may have compromised himself. President Ramaphosa does not enjoy the total support that previous leaders enjoyed. That’s the objective factor with which I started.

Nelson Mandela, for example, had 100% members’ and leadership support, and that’s how he could ram down our throats privatisation, neoliberalism and a Constitution that protects looted property.

Thabo Mbeki was elected unopposed because objectively at that time he was a natural successor following the generation of Mandela/Sisulu. Above all, he is a celebrated intellectual and child of the ANC carrying that surname — you know what I mean. Mbeki enjoyed the overwhelming support of members and leadership, at least in his first term. Jacob Zuma had 60% support in his first term, which he consolidated to 75% in the second term.

Cyril Ramaphosa won the conference by a whisker. He knows that any wrong foot can make him lose just 1%. We are told that there is a campaign to displace him in the NGC. There is just too much at stake for individuals who have compromised themselves in the past 25, not the past nine years.

It may be possible at some point to salvage the ANC from this race to the bottom. But it is also equally possible that the ANC may so thoroughly discredit itself that there may be nothing to salvage.” — Kgalema Motlanthe

These are the objective factors that led 60% of the delegates to embrace the chaos of Polokwane. The combination of these subjective and objective factors is not ideal for a societal forward movement. Let us repeat what we said earlier: The personal qualities of the leading individuals play their part, but only within the general context, and are subordinate to the broader historical forces at play.

To ask the country to ignore these objective and subjective realities is to insult their intelligence. I have no illusion in my mind that the ANC will win the 8 May 2019 elections. It will win, not because the people do not know that poverty, unemployment, inequalities and corruption have got worse under ANC rule. The majority love the ANC and live with a hope that one-day things will change for the better.

The hope is what keeps billions in church every Sunday hoping that the day is nearing when the “Son of the Man” will arrive to flatten the earth and that all who believed in Him will grow wings and fly to meet him in the skies.

So powerful is the ANC brand that the disappointed black majority will rather not vote instead of voting for anyone else. But that is not going to remain forever. DM

Zwelinzima Vavi is Secretary General of the South African Federation of Trade Unions, Saftu. He writes in his personal capacity.

  • This article was amended on 2 May, 2019.
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