Something is stirring in the soul of the South African people. Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed an unprecedented wave of national outrage aimed at the decades of criminal looting perpetrated by the ANC elite against the citizens of our country.
Unlike during the Jacob Zuma years, the current wave of public anger over the ANC’s corruption orgy at a time when millions of citizens are suffering the effects of a global pandemic and the world’s most brutal lockdown, is not only aimed at one man.
This time around, South Africans are rightly outraged at the entire system of corruption meticulously constructed by the ANC over the past two-and-a-half decades.
It is for this reason that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest seven-page word salad admitting that the ANC is corruption “accused number one”, failed so spectacularly.
By issuing yet another weak-willed statement containing empty platitudes about fighting corruption, Ramaphosa clearly underestimated the extent to which many people have seen through the charade that is his government.
Amid successive waves of public outrage at near-daily revelations of ANC corruption, South Africans appear to have come to the correct conclusion that the entire ANC itself is the problem. They see that corruption and State Capture did not come from the actions of one person or from a few “bad apples” alone. South Africans now know that their country has been captured and looted into near-bankruptcy because of a deeply embedded system of patronage and corruption carefully, and deliberately constructed to feed the insatiable appetite of all ANC cadres.
In one way or another, every single ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, past and present, is deeply complicit in our country’s decline…
By comprehensively rejecting Ramaphosa’s latest hollow inanities, the people have shown that they know that corruption is the very glue that holds the ANC together, and that expecting the ANC to fight corruption is tantamount to expecting a hyena to become a vegetarian.
In one way or another, every single ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, past and present, is deeply complicit in our country’s decline, either because they were directly involved in thievery, because they helped enforce policies that robbed citizens of agency and concentrated power in the hands of the incapable state, or because they enabled looting by shielding criminal cadres from accountability.
The two pillars that support the entire edifice of the corrupt system that South Africans are now rising up against are the ANC’s policies of cadre deployment – which captured and corrupted the state – and race-based empowerment – which captured and corrupted large parts of the private sector. As citizens begin to look beyond the failed ANC, they are demanding that the country’s next government eliminate corruption, roots and all.
In addition to acting without hesitation against every single ANC scavenger implicated in corruption, the DA stands ready to outlaw cadre deployment and replace it with a better government staffed only by qualified, professional and non-political public servants. The DA has long pointed out that State Capture, corruption and failing service delivery all result from the fact that our current legal framework puts politicians in charge of appointments in the public sector.
The government that succeeds the Ramaphosa disaster must eliminate cadre deployment entirely by stripping politicians of the legal authority to appoint, dismiss and discipline public servants, making it illegal for any public servant to hold office within a political party, and legally mandating that every appointment to the public service is made on the basis of merit.
Abolishing cadre deployment is the only way to free what is left of our state apparatus from the clutches of ANC criminals.
To cultivate a pool of highly skilled civil servants who are interested in serving the public rather than politicians, we must also create dedicated public service colleges and institute a mandatory public service entry examination.
Abolishing cadre deployment is the only way to free what is left of our state apparatus from the clutches of ANC criminals. In the same way, replacing the corrupt race-based empowerment system with means-tested empowerment is the only way to free private enterprise from the grasp of ANC cadres.
Make no mistake about it: Race-based policies like BBBEE are just as integral to greasing the corruption machine as cadre deployment itself. This is because the current system, which forces companies to select beneficiaries on the basis of race, has enabled ANC cronies to hijack nearly every empowerment deal, thereby redirecting billions of rands into the pockets of the party and a handful of cadres at the direct expense of the 30 million South Africans still trapped in poverty. Just last week, Ramaphosa’s own brother-in-law, billionaire Patrice Motsepe, obtained a R815-million stake in Sanlam thanks to ANC race-based empowerment. Of course, Ramaphosa himself is a billionaire thanks to the corrupt race-based BBBEE system.
Just like freeing our state will require us to erect a firewall between the public service and politicians, so too will we need to insulate empowerment policies against a political elite who rely on race-based selection to line their own pockets. The only way to do this is by legally requiring empowerment schemes to only select beneficiaries on the basis of their financial means. Means-tested empowerment would truly benefit South Africa’s 30 million poor people – 99.8% of whom are black – while preventing further capture by a predatory political elite.
It is clearer than ever before that South Africans are tired of empty words spoken by a hollow President. What we need now is action aimed squarely at uprooting the entire system of cadre deployment and elite empowerment that has done nothing but facilitate the devastation of the ANC corruption machine.
With more people than ever convinced of the reality that the ANC hyenas will never act against the corruption that keeps them alive, the DA stands at the ready to lead South Africa into a bold new future marked by ethical, clean and good governance that builds prosperity for all. DM
John Steenhuisen is a candidate for DA Federal Leader at its upcoming congress in October 2020.