Opinionista Omry Makgoale 14 February 2018

Is the ANC committing suicide?

The current ANC leadership seem to forget they are supposed to serve the people and not think – or appear to think – that they own them. Or South Africa.

The ANC under Jacob Zuma has lost the plot. He thinks the ANC is more important than South Africa. According to his logic, because the ANC liberated SA, they own it. The Mangaung slate under Zuma in 2012 handed over the country and the ANC to the Guptas. It has to be acknowledged as the worst leadership of ANC since 1994. It cannot be absolved but should be condemned to the dustbin of history.

The Nasrec Elective Conference, which many hoped would clean and restore the ANC to the levels of the Mandela-Tambo quality of leadership, has not lived up to expectations, with Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte in the office of the secretary general at Luthuli House – the engine room of South African political control, post-apartheid.

Alongside them we have the National Executive Committee consisting of Malusi Gigaba, the man who destroyed state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, Transnet, Prasa etc, along with Faith Muthambi who handed over the SABC to the Guptas to fund The New Age newspaper and ANN 7 with taxpayers’ money, and Bathabile Dlamini running Sassa down to the ground. Such an NEC cannot clean the ANC. Although slightly better than the Mangaung slate, it is not good enough to restore the integrity of the ANC.

Zuma has been requested to resign, instead of being ordered to resign by the newly elected Nasrec leadership as happened with Thabo Mbeki in 2008. This is a man who immediately senses weakness in an opponent. He has refused to do so, and has defied them, supposedly placing conditions for his resignation such as who will pay for his legal fees once he is out of office, as well as for the security of his family.

Zuma is defying the ANC, which might be left with only one alternative: to remove him by legal and constitutional means, through a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Unfortunately this route will be playing into the gallery of opposition parties. Such a departure for Zuma will offer ammunition for opposition parties as we prepare for the general elections in 2019.

It is also important to acknowledge that the Zuma phenomenon is a creation of the electoral laws created by the ANC in its negotiations with the National Party, based on 100% proportional representation and leading to party accountability of politicians as deployees, not individual accountability to the voters. In this way the ANC has created a poison that is killing it; it is actually committing suicide with these electoral laws. Zuma’s defiance is based on his understanding that only Parliament can effectively remove him if he refuses to resign. But removing him through Parliament will reveal that the ANC is not in control of its deployee. It is the deployee in control of ANC.

It is the ANC that can only undo the mess by reforming the Parliamentary electoral laws. The opposition parties are celebrating the suicide of the ANC and they hope to prey on the carcass of a dying ANC.

Ramaphosa does not have a solution to save the ANC except to give it temporary relief. Surrounded by Magashule, Duarte and DD Mabuza, he cannot clean the ANC. In fact the Nasrec slate might be worse than the Mangaung slate. Imagine Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte compiling a list of candidates for the 2019 general elections. It will be more like asking the Guptas to compile the party list for the ANC in the National Assembly.

It is now clear that it is only the people of South Africa – that is, the electorate – who can clean and save the ANC under a reformed parliamentary electoral law as advocated by the Slabbert Commission in 2003, where 75% of MPs will be elected directly by the people in large multi-member constituencies and 25% will be appointed by political parties through the current list system. Without these reforms the ANC will only decline further and further; with its leadership being captured by tenderpreneurs.

In a reasonable time, will South Africa be like Italy or Nigeria – who knows? DM

Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views

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