Defend Truth


Testimony at Zondo Commission is an onslaught against the People


Jessie Duarte is the Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC. She writes in her personal capacity.

It is worrying that democratic centralism is the subject of a commission led by a judge who, with respect, practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws. One can only hope that the Zondo Commission is not going to turn our democracy into more of a neo-liberal concoction than it already is.

The great African writer, Ben Okri, in his book, A Way of Being Free, writes: “There is no greater sorcery than poetry, than the imagination of the storyteller.” He goes on, in the same phrase, to say that “humanity without scepticism, without knowledge is dangerous.” 

Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed both the sorcery, the imagination of storytellers and the lack of scepticism as well as knowledge. In every home, the witnesses of the Zondo Commission appeared more and more surreal as they told their truth and I kept hoping that at least one person would explain how decision-making and consultation in a liberation movement works. For example, the concept of democratic centralism was taught to us by some of the great commissars of our time, the Ma Sisulus, the Nelson Mandelas, the Ray Alexanders.

I kept asking myself: “how did we get here?” 

Little doubt, the outrage started when one family appeared on the scene and became the interrupters of the status quo and, yes of course, the fault-line was the looting of the state and the omission of oversight. The visits to the Gupta compound may, at times, have been innocent friends visiting each other, but now it has become an undressing of the state machinery. 

The sceptics without clear knowledge watch the saga and send missives to include people whom they believe have information. The destruction of reputations is now commonplace. The disappearance of inconvenient witnesses whose truth got too close to reality, these as the drama series writers would claim are “the days of our lives”, and yet simple known knowledge is the real victim now. 

At various stages in the Struggle against apartheid as well as the transition towards democracy in South Africa, the ANC and, at times, the mass democratic movement at large placed enormous trust in me to work with many great heroines and heroes of our struggle. Tata Madiba and Mme Albertina were merely two of these exemplary leaders. 

Often when confronted with the very difficult challenges our country and movement face, it is often consoling to think back and remember working with these great leaders. And so, it is not uncommon for my subconscious to whisper to me: “how would Mama Albertina have handled this?” or “what would Madiba have said?” Such a moment occurred just last week again, when witnessing all of this at the Zondo Commission.

Amidst the flurry of news of tea, some of us noted with disappointment the misunderstanding of political structures within multi-party democracies in general and the ANC in particular. South Africa had to hear how those who participated in the commission last week displayed a lack of appreciation for the elected leadership within a political organisation, vis-a-vis an elected representative in democratic institutions such as Parliament. 

Senior parliamentarians, once endowed by our people with the noble task of representing them, seemingly did not comprehend the nature of a caucus or strategic committees. Tragically, in the mind of these, the purpose of a caucus was to be subjected to one meaning only: a meeting of individuals who have no need to refer to the policies nor the practices of the organisation they represent.  

That the ANC would ask its caucus to hold onto a position of the party was made to appear wrong and yet the origin of the argument, on a vote of no confidence, came from the caucus of the opposition. So, the opposition in our Parliament can speak with one voice, but the ANC, it appears, has to allow many voices with many views on any subject instead of answering to the collective decision taken by the opposition parties, with many voices and one message. 

And so, in this disheartening moment, it was good to recall Tata Madiba’s words to a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, when on 26 March 1999, he said: “Each historical period defines the specific challenges of national progress and leadership; and no man is an island.” 

On another occasion, the tenth anniversary of our democracy and his tenth anniversary of the day he was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of a new South Africa, 10 May 2004, again addressing a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, Tata Madiba said: 

“There are many theoretical debates about the meaning of democracy that I am not qualified to enter into. A guiding principle in our search for and establishment of a non-racial inclusive democracy in our country has been that there are good men and women to be found in all groups and from all sectors of society; and that in an open and free society those South Africans will come together to jointly and cooperatively realise the common good.” 

Like Tata Madiba, one would want to acknowledge and appreciate the many theoretical debates that exist about the meaning of democracy. Yet, as Tata Madiba articulates, a guiding principle for our democracy hitherto is that good men and women, found across the length and breadth of our country, have come together and elected for themselves representatives. 

Respecting minority rights and vowing that one group will never ever again oppress another, the writers of our Constitution, both the interim one and the final one, agreed that we would at a national and provincial level have proportional representation rather than a constituent one. This was for the simple reason that, as many political scholars have opined, proportional representation systems safeguard minority views and voices much more than constituent ones do. 

Invariably, as we see even in the majority of our municipal councils, constituent representation leads to one or two major parties dominating. If our municipal councils were not forced to have half of its members based on a proportional vote, then there would be far fewer parties represented in them. No doubt, even at a national and provincial level, the ANC itself will dominate much more and there would be far fewer opposition parties if our country were run on a constituent representative basis. The case studies of constituency-based systems across the globe proves this. 

Indeed, as Tata Madiba stated, good men and women across South Africa “will come together to jointly and cooperatively realise the common good”. These good men and women, as mentioned, are most aptly represented by their public representatives. It is through their public representatives that the people give life to the imperative enunciated by the Freedom Charter that “the People shall Govern!” 

Through their representatives, the parties for which they voted, a number of interrelated political consultations occur. Yet the first of these consultations, one may argue, is the consultation with the people based on a party’s manifesto. The policies of the governing party then emanate from this manifesto based on the social contract established between the People and the party. Party caucuses, therefore, play an enabling role which allows for agility in the manner in which the party governs from a national level right down to the level of the ward. 

Party discipline plays a key role in ensuring that the mandate given by the people to the party is not compromised and that the social contract remains intact. But again, the party caucuses serve as the bulwark against individualist tendencies, characteristic of constituent-based systems, to guarantee that the party’s mandate, given by the people, is protected.

I have watched with interest how some opposition party leaders make decisions as they stand and talk. In the ANC, though, decisions on policy and how to execute policy go through a very arduous set of consultations which attempts to bring a broad consensus on any matter to the fore. Not exactly the dictatorial system described by a sceptical witness with little or no knowledge of the process by which decisions are made in the ANC. 

More worrying is that democratic centralism is now the subject of a commission led by a judge who, with respect, practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws. One can only hope that the Zondo Commission is not going to turn our democracy into more of a neo-liberal concoction than it already is; where we all sound the same and do nothing real to transform our society.

I shall await my turn to speak without fear, without favour, but I know that my words and the words of some in our society will not be received without prejudice. 

The testimonies provided at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry display a serious lack of appreciation therefore of the role party caucuses play within a democracy such as ours. 

Even more so, one would gladly welcome an example where a caucus, at any level, decided against exposing corruption or agreeing to be corrupt. But none of these examples exist because no party has a party line that would want to indulge deliberately in corruption. 

Instead, what is more convincing as one listens to the testimony given at the Zondo Commission is a systematic undermining of the views of those good men and women Tata Madiba spoke about. 

An undermining that speaks directly to the fact that the majority of South Africans vote and support the ANC. It is not the democratic system that is the problem — rather it is the fact that the ANC lives, the ANC leads and that our people, despite the ramblings of the few who testified at the commission, continue to put their hopes and trust in the ANC. This is the problem for these who testified. 

In the face of this onslaught, which is ultimately an onslaught against the people themselves, there is only one thing one can do and encourage others to do, and that is to have the courage and determination of someone like Mama Albertina Sisulu. DM

Jessie Duarte is the Deputy Secretary-General of the African National Congress.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mark Hammick says:

    So consensus drives the ANC; even if that consensus is to perpetuate the looting.

    Party before state

  • Chris Green says:

    A Luta Continua !! at last, tweetie bird is starting to sing. Maybe from the same HIM sheet, but maybe that’s indicative of which “church” she is attempting to defend. The Africans Nationalising Corruption church, maybe.
    Or maybe the SIU/Hawks are getting close and the oxygen in the mine is reaching lower levels.
    I’ll comment again after reading the article

  • Helen Swingler says:

    The Dark Lady of the Sith just showed up for the tea party. The Sith Lords are gathering.

  • Stephen Davies says:

    It would be an enormous gift if the voters voted ANC out next time. That will give the leadership of the ANC 5 whole years to clean up and figure out how to make themselves electable again.

    The idea that this “onslaught against the ANC” is “ultimately an onslaught against the people themselves” is a statement of the utmost entitlement. People of South Africa – show them the real power of the people.

    • Christopher Campbell says:

      If only.

    • Christopher Campbell says:

      If only.
      If she thinks that she has a point to prove take it to the commission. Swear on oath that you will tell the truth and let us watch the debacle that ensues. But it will never happen, she’ll snipe from her soapbox until it hopefully collapses under the weight of truth.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Just who the hell is Jessie Duarte to make comments like this. She is not a Government official, but merely a so-called leader (and I repeat, a so-called) leader of a political party. On many previous occasions she make stupid comments, including attacking credible journalists. One wonders what her agenda is. Is there something she is hiding? What a c..p article

  • Gareth Cornwell says:

    So what’s your point, Tannie Jesse?

  • Andrew Wright says:

    I can give a really, really simple answer to your questio – “how did we get here?” Your wonderful party has allowed corruption to become the main method of wealth creation for Party members, and Parliament has been (& still is in the view of many) the ultimate enabler, simply because the constitutional duty of each Parliamentarian to hold the executive to account has simply been replaced by the need to bow to your so-called “democracy”. The Party is waaaay too important for Constitutional duties to come first.

  • Charles Young says:

    Jessie Duarte casting herself in the image of Mama Albertina Sisulu is no less duplicitous than Jacob Zuma claiming Robert Sobukwe. Zondo is simply presiding over evidence of how many in the ANC subverted democracy to plunder the state. If the Deputy Secretary-General wants to go onto the record, she should do so, under oath, at the commission.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    You haven’t spoken an yet, Jes, and you are saying some won’t believe. You represent a party whose highest representatives are accused of being opportunists, liars, cheats and thugs and of using public office to achieve their personal ambitions, however nefarious. None have presented themselves willingly nor impressed the body politic nor electorate with their candour. Not one. None. You still have that opportunity before you. Just do it, and then talk about the inspiration of Ntate and hundreds within the movement who aren’t liars, cheats and scoundrels; we just don’t hear from them cos they are not involved in selling out Ntate, the ANC and the Republic of South Africa. You have your moment ahead, for everyone’s sake deliver credibility, for till now, as you rightly point out, we’ve only heard excuses. Please don’t make your testimony another shambles of which we South Africans will be ashamed. Please, I beg of you, Jess. Just do it.

  • Tim Spring says:

    The real worry is that the the Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC sees no problem in attacking the integrity of critically needed comissions, in an effort, it seems to me, to protect the corrupt and criminal.

    It is worrying indeed that the Deputy Secretary-General is seemingly not of the opinion that corruption must be investigated and rooted out. It is telling she offers no defense of the facts, choosing instead to attack the lawful process.

  • Geoff Krige says:

    Jesse Duarte makes an elegant plea for us to get rid of the ANC as fast as possible. She argues that the ANC is a liberation organisation. Liberating South Africa from what, seeing that the ANC is actually the party in power? She argues that party is paramount, without allowing for people of integrity to challenge party permission for corruption, party permission, even encouragement, for nepotism and cronyism. She loses me when she confuses democratic centralism with the fact that Judge Zondo practices his craft on the basis of the parameters of existing laws. How does ensuring that the law is upheld in the face of rampant corruption break down democratic centralism? Does the democratic centralism of the ANC explicitly allow elected officials to become demagogues who run the country for their own excessive personal enrichment? As I understand it, the Zondo Commission is challenging exactly that premise of too many in the ANC. If Jesse Duarte speaks, as she claims to speak, from the party caucus of the ANC, then this is an absolutely clear statement that the ANC is not only happy with corruption in party ranks, but it is aiming to adjust the nations laws to ensure that those ANC thieves cannot ever be held to account. Tata Madiba, Mme Albertina and others, with whom she loves to namedrop, would be absolutely furious. How can any party with these values expect to run a country?

  • Michael Settas says:

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  • michael hook says:

    WoooHooo, Jessie……. So liberation movements have different sets of laws than governments?? As a bit of a futurist, Im predicting orange leisurewear is going to be so in this year, and the colour will suit you perfectly. But hey, lets make it all simple……A means test or Lifestyle audit, unless you too did not struggle to be poor.
    (By the way, don’t you get it, the general population is so sick and tired of you thieving parasites that you are going to find little sympathy once the heat is on)

  • Terence Beney says:

    Democratic centralism is not the subject of the Zondo Commission, state capture is. Discussions about democratic centralism are incidental. And incidentally (now that you’ve brought it up), the Zondo Commission exposes an inherent weakness in the democratic centralist method: dominated by the corrupt, the sheepish caucus is effortlessly intimidated into silence. The example of “where a caucus, at any level, decided against exposing corruption or agreeing to be corrupt” that Jesse Duarte claims she would welcome is the ‘living’, ‘leading’ ANC, which was repulsively complicit in the destruction of the lost Zuma years. At every level. The people have been heartlessly betrayed and invoking the integrity of your betters is no defence. Very few of the current leadership could stand in the presence of those stalwarts without shame. The Zondo Commission is necessary, not for the ANC (whose soul is likely beyond redemption), but for South Africans. For our eyes to be opened, for our justice to be delivered, for a way to be made.

  • John Pearse says:

    An argument eloquently rendered, but it does not justify her Radical Economic Transformation argument (read looting of the state) by her Comrades who have ruined a beautiful country by stealing at every level of Government leaving them now unable to render services and support to the very people they are supposed to represent because the filthy little pigs have almost drowned themselves, their little snouts have been so deeply in the trough. To criticise DCJ Zondo utilising argument by Tata Madiba and Mama Albertina Sisulu is not only appalling and disingenuous but also downright dishonest as neither of them would have supported what is now out in the public domain. Well done DCJ Zondo for the transparency. Also how sad, I was hopeful that JD had seen the light and left the trough.

  • Mark Addleson says:

    Whether it is an organisation (government or business) or a country, there are two ways of ‘managing’ – of trying ensure that things get done satisfactorily, so that institutions function effectively. If they don’t function effectively, the fabric of society will come apart and the result is a descent into chaos and poverty, which ultimately, is an “onslaught against the people”.

    One of these two ways of managing is authoritarianism, with ‘high control’ structures. The other is democracy. Democracy depends unequivocally on the rule of law (importantly, upholding the constitution) and accountability. Accountability is a social phenomenon. It has to do with people recognising that they are accountable to each other for their actions and being willing and ready to hold one another to account.

    Neither the rule of law or accountability can be taken for granted. It is essential, first to have these front and centre, recognising that a democracy cannot function without them, then continuously to question whether they are present or absent and to assess the truth of assertions one way or the other. One way of looking at the Zondo Commission, is as a small – I would emphasise that word ‘small’ – forum, or ‘tool.’ A forum for bringing the rule of law and accountability from the shadows into the sunlight, for asserting that these do matter and for asking whether they are being practiced where they matter most for ‘the people,’ at the level of governance (government-management) – national, provincial and municipal. Unless and until they are practiced widely and openly, government is either potentially or actually ‘an onslaught against the governed’.

  • Louis Potgieter says:

    We decided 26 years ago to adopt modern democracy and be bound by the constitution. Here comes Duarte and argues in support of a liberation organisation mentality where internal politics must determine a direction, which must be allowed to trump the constitution. In the mean time we have become a bankrupt country with a government that neglects its part of the social compact. (The “will of the people” is translated by internal politics and patronage for their own ends. We have a crisis of international competitiveness that will not be solved by committees.) The broederbond also similarly distilled policy and led from the shadows, and nobody was happy with the way things went.
    Thank you for making the issue so starkly clear.

  • David A says:

    This article says a hell of a lot without really saying anything tangible at all…or am I missing something?

  • Rodney Weidemann says:

    there’s just so much to unpack here, though it does help knowing from the outset that Duarte is part of the RET faction:
    “The visits to the Gupta compound may, at times, have been innocent friends visiting each other”
    — Well, maybe, if one were to totally ignore the evidence from the thousands of leaked Gupta emails…
    “practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws”
    — What did you expect, him to practice his craft based on parameters of non-existent laws? like those of Narnia perhaps?
    “That the ANC would ask its caucus to hold onto a position of the party was made to appear wrong”
    — That’s because it WAS wrong – defending a president who had been found guilty of breaking his constitutional oath, simply because only the opposition were prepared to actually call him out on this. That is a betrayal of all your oaths, everything the ‘people’ voted you in for and the constitution itself!
    “But none of these examples exist because no party has a party line that would want to indulge deliberately in corruption.”
    — On the other hand, the ANC has demonstrate that not only is it quite willing to defend the indefensible and enable those who are quite obviously stealing taxpayers money – you need look no further than the infamous ‘firepool’ defence of the exhorbitant Nkandla spending.
    “Instead, what is more convincing as one listens to the testimony given at the Zondo Commission is a systematic undermining of the views of those good men and women”
    — Pray tell, who are these ‘good’ people you speak of? — Zuma? Molefe? Singh? Magashule?
    “I shall await my turn to speak without fear, without favour”
    — I await your appearance with eagerness too — we all know you bend over backwards to defend all of the slimiest, dirtiest, scummiest members of your party (ref: most of the names mentioned above) which clearly means you are one of them – and since you can no longer use the patented Dudu Myeni approach of simply refusing to answer questions, I look forward to you incriminating yourself when called.

  • Heinz Eckart Klingelhöfer says:

    Yes, “good men and women across South Africa ´will come together to jointly and cooperatively realise the common good´”. – While probably nobody disagrees with this statementm the question is who really let´s come these good men and women come together and to realise the common good. Isn´t the problem that some organisations do not let them to be good and to do the good. Isn´t that exactly the point raised?

  • Ben van der Bank says:

    To merely hint that the Zondo Commission will turn our “democracy” into a neo-liberal concoction that it apparently already evolved into, is to say the least very troublesome. Can these words be construed that the state managed by President Ramaphosa is along with the Zondo Commission, responsible for this? I see references to the “Movement” and the Freedom Charter, but no reference at all to the doctrine of the separation of powers, the difference between state and party or the rule of law. Our country is irreparably damaged by state capture at all levels and this has been confirmed by the evidence presented to the Zondo Commission. Our international standing is constantly being downgraded, virtually all SOE’s are bankrupt and third-level government is not worthy of the name. This can surely not be the fault of either the President or the Chairperson of the “Commission”, or even Van Riebeeck, surely somebody else was responsible.

    • Rudd van Deventer says:

      If only the Zondo Commission had the power to turn our Democracy! Unfortunately, it is only succeeding in turning my stomach. The revelations are about bad people doing bad things and not giving a rat’s ass for the people of the country that are poor and not politically connected. In any normal country, this would be an end-game for the party involved, again, unfortunately, not with our electorate. I am glad to see the responses and the outrage to her writings.

  • Richard Weirich says:

    She doth protest to much. So we will blame the looting and self enrichment on the collective. Because that is how it works. Convenient. Where to next, 5000% inflation.

  • Miles Japhet says:

    Ms Duarte cannot really believe that the destruction under the ANC of so much that is good for the common man is a noble thing.
    Time and again we see looting by party members going way into the senior ranks, but this is OK because the party structures agreed to the deploying of thieves!!
    Please show one successful post colonial African country where the lives of its poor are better following the ANC Communist/Socialist racist route? Bankrupt ideology is just that – bankrupt. OPEN your eyes and care about all who live here not just spending time hanging on to power in a dreamland.

  • Ritchie Morris says:

    A good politician is someone who can say a lot about nothing.
    An honest and upstanding politician is someone who does not say much at all but gets on to serve their people – and listens to the people.
    Ms Duarte I remember you sprouting forth in Parliament loudly to defend Mr Zuma. Shame on you and all those others, like Ms Lindiwe Sisulu and the School Mistress of Sarafina fame (NDZ), who let the rot set in so deep. Sarafina and Travelgate is where it (rot) all started with no consequences for the corruption.

  • P G Muller says:

    I do hope that when you testify you are put in a corner and asked incriminating questions
    You cannot defend the ANC looting whatever the “structure” may be
    The last decade has destroyed hope for this nation
    In the corner Jessie – I watch with interest!

  • Jean Morrison says:

    She dispenses with the central problem, that which necessitated the need for the Zondo Commission in the first instance, by a throw-away line: “and, yes of course, the fault-line was the looting of the state and the omission of oversight.”

    • C Moola says:

      Correct. However, it is rather, the “commission of the lack of oversight.” Directly violating the Constitution, as determined by too many ConCourt judgements, is far from an “omission”. There is no “omission” in double invoicing Parliament for travel costs or transferring R236 million to a Gupta account, or advancing Gupta R1.6 billion upfront to buy a coal mine, nor hollowing out SARS so that it no longer possesses the capacity to prosecute Zuma’s friends in organised crime. No, no sin of “omission” there. That’s commission!

  • James Francis says:

    You betrayed the people.

  • Breeze Cooper says:

    I see Duarte is siding with the RET faction who are being investigated for their corruption, rent seeking and theft. They seem to want to band together drive a wedge between the public and commission and have the Zondo commission discredited or overturned so they don’t have to be held accountable and convicted for their evil deeds. Bringing Tata Madiba, Mme Albertina icons shows we are dealing with the lowest of the low. No scruples or remorse.

  • Andrew Newman says:

    Jessie Duarte expecting judges not to follow laws?
    “It is worrying that democratic centralism is the subject of a commission led by a judge who, with respect, practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws.”

  • Peter Moseley says:

    Poplak a reply please!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Yes ma’am, there are many different meanings of democracy, lying, looting, cheating and corruption are not part it.

  • Joe Irwin says:

    Unfortunately Ms Duarte the good men and women you speak of are a minority in the ANC.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    All I can say is well done Maverick – you tip your hat elegantly to audi alterem partem. Pity that other voice of JD’s is so bereft of any sense of morality, so arrogant in its denial of the shattering fault lines running through her colleagues’ acknowledgement of what is wrong and what is right. This piece feels as if it might have been penned by hoary little gnomes in grey suits at Glavlit – the infamous General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press in the USSR.

    • Graham Anderson Anderson says:

      I concur absolutely with you Mac. The arrogance of Ms Duarte is shameful. It is heartening to see so many responses to her penned piece and the contempt it deserves. The ANC from the very top to the useless municipal governing has collapsed this country’s economy to such an extent – and all in less than 26 years – we can only hope that the poor and suffering will no longer accept blankets and food parcels from the ANC just before elections, as has been the norm for this corrupt entity, that they are able to vote for CHANGE and a better life for ALL.

  • Johan Fick says:

    What drivel. Does DM have an editorial board who can parry this kind of posturing down to tolerable levels?

  • Ediodaat For Today says:

    Perhaps a bit of olive oil in the ears may fix the selective hearing. However, that without the ability to look at the bigger picture and what the commission has uncovered so far is not going to help you either. Besides ANC comrades who else has been accused of corruption? Every single one of them on the gravy train paid off an ANC comrade and perhaps that is the acceptable unspoken party line too. The ANC right now is no better than any of the other failed liberation movements in Africa. Just happening in the modern age of Social media and taking a tad more than the average 25 years to destroy everything.

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    “It is not the democratic system that is the problem — rather it is the fact that the ANC lives” easily the most appropriate phrase in the entire apologia.

    Go directly to gaol, do not pass Go, do not collect R2 billion!!

  • Marianne McKay says:

    Very seldom does something or someone make me so livid that I can actually feel personally the old saying “to burn with anger”.
    Ms Duarte, your attempts to show how close you were to the great “Tata Madiba” and “Mama Albertina” by referring to them this way only serves to highlight how extraordinarily far your party has drifted from their values. I wonder if in fact your ramblings are not a sign of deteriorating faculties? If it is not clear to you how very badly your party/ Baba Zuma let the country down, then it really is time for you to retire.

  • Loren Anthony says:

    This article is a masterclass in dissimulation and manipulation – trading on the truly great leadership of the past in order to mute and mask the wholesale theft that has become the standard MO of certain members of the ruling elite (looking at you, NEC). And then this: ‘[Judge Zondo] practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws’. These laws were precisely designed to protect SA from the ravages of cronyism and graft (looking at you, NEC), and, pray, on what other basis should the Judge practice his craft? On the whims of powerful families who rewrite the rule books out of self-interest and profit. We need deep-seated economic transformation, yes, but we can’t effect any change if taxpayers money, which should be used to build quality schools and hospitals, for example, goes into the pockets of the few. As to her defence of the ANC as the people’s party – a loaf of bread and a T-shirt ahead of elections does not make you the people’s party; it makes you the purveyor of abiding falsehoods. And, like Jesse Duarte herself does in this article, all the ANC does is trade on its legacy (so long gone now) as a liberation movement. In fact, she references the ANC today as ‘a liberation movement’. As I said, a masterclass in manipulation.

  • Patrick Veermeer says:

    Nauseating drivel from a lying (she’s on record) opportunist who is a senior member of a corrupted party. Take a look at the country 25 years on, Jessie. A failing state is what you and your crony elite have achieved. And shame on you for invoking the Sisulu and Mandela names.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    It is truly time to vote the anc out. I sailed for 15 years with Russian/Ukrainian and Polish crews. Not one wanted to go back to a communist/socialist system. I have been to China many times. Not one would speak about their political system. Jessie Duarte is totally brainwashed. Time to go, Jessie!

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    Dear Ed – don’t feed the troll.
    Jesse Duarte has been desperate to appear at the State Capture Commission since 2018… every column inch, every pixel of space she gets to air her views about the commission, outside of the commission, delays that.

  • Coen Gous says:

    I have read, and re-read, this article from the self-proclaimed goddess of South African politics. Seldom in my life have I been so upset about about an article. This is my second comment. This article was written by someone else with more intellectual abilities that she has, but she still approved it. Her knowledge of the people living in this country is pathetic, typical rich ANC elitist. The ANC is not the the governing party because people love them. Virtually all their voters simply do not know any better, because of poor education, limited access to news media, limited understanding of English (whether verbally or reading), and left to the empty words of party members. Voters in the 2 major economically active provinces, and more literate, Gauteng and Western Cape, have already voted against them. The ANC survive on the voters of mainly rural communities, who has extreme limited understanding of politics and reality. People that life day-by-day, neglected by their party, and the Government of South Africa . And they have little understanding of it. Shame on you Jessie Duarte. Roll in your money, stolen from the people, and play ball with your criminal colleagues. You are no hero. So do not quote them

    • P G Muller says:

      Defending the indefensible which Jessie is now trying to do should be a crime against humanity. On second thoughts what her and the cadres have done to the people she nobly pontificates about is a crime against humanity

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Ms Duarte asks – how did we get here?

    Yet she is one of the top 6, one of the NEC, one of the NCCC. Is she totally unaware of the rampant fraud, corruption, thievery, self-interest that has got us exactly here?

    Is she so wilfully blind that, in her narrow myopic view, the ends always justifies the means and that as long as the “strike” is against her perceived present “haves” then all is justified?

    Who EXACTLY does she think is going to pick up the R1.5 trillion, that is R1,500,000,000,000 given that she is innumerate, bill?

  • Memphis Belle says:

    Extremely rich coming from Ms Duarte.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Ms Duarte: if we did not have proportional representation a good number of municipalities would have hardly any ANC representation. Die mense raak gatvol. Translation : service delivery riots. I grant you that more councils would be entirely ANC run – until they are placed under administration.

    Consensus leads to very poor average decision-making because by design it reduces the solution to the lowest common denominator. Your party has many very capable, honest people with a will to SERVE. How they battle on while being dragged down by the hyenas is beyond comprehension. A great many of the brave whistleblowers at Zondo are not white male colonialists. You should be thanking the brave part of your organization that are deeply disgusted instead of attacking the jury.

  • John Laurence Laurence says:

    If that mindless ramble is the product of an ANC politician it’s no wonder SA is in so much trouble.

  • R S says:

    The great Mandela, of who Jessie Duarte knew far better than I, said “But the workers, if they are going to drive the campaign to improve the living conditions of people, you must be independent. The fact that we have a tripartite alliance does not mean that you should follow the African National Congress sheepishly.”

    As the crowd erupted in applause, he continued “Power corrupts. Anybody is corrupted by power, can be corrupted by power. And a society should have means of ensuring that power will not corrupt those you have put in power. And one of the ways of ensuring that does not happen is for you to be critical, to be alert, to be vigilant.”

    Over the past few weeks we have witness the opening of the belly of the beast. In every home, the witnesses of the Zondo Commission appeared with stories that peeled back more and more of the truth, and I, as someone who was born in the last decades of Apartheid, would hope that at least some of it was lies. But I knew, deep down inside, that the ANC of Nelson Mandela, even the ANC of Thabo Mbeki, had been placed down, its legs pulled apart, and ravaged by Jacob Zuma and people like him.

    I kept asking myself: “How did we get here?”

    Little doubt, the outrage started when one family appeared on the scene and appeared to be treated like royalty, the family and their extended kin being allowed to land at private military bases that regular South Africans couldn’t even get close to, let alone use for the non-existent jets they only dreamt of owning. And as more time went on, we found out how powerful politicians spent much time at this family’s compound under the guise of innocent friends visiting each other, but we would later find out these harmless visits would be for the exploitation of the state to the benefit of the corrupt political elite and those connected to them.

    The people who still have consciences have come forth to share what they know, placing the country before the party, and destroying what little credibility the ANC had left. The ANC would claim that inconvenient witnesses have “disappeared”, but the truth is that none of these witnesses existed in the first place. We only know one simple fact: South Africa is truly a victim of a once great liberation movement, now twisted into a corrupt, gluttonous monstrosity that, even as it gorges itself into oblivion, still cries out for more.

    In its dying breaths, those who once, and may still, have their hearts in the right place, call back to the righteous, defiant leaders of old. Tata Madiba and Mme Albertina were undoubtedly two of these leaders, and maybe the subconscious of those who are still deluded by the ANC of old would ask: “how would Mama Albertina have handled this?” or “what would Madiba have said?”.

    They would have said nothing. Their mouths would have been frozen in horror, their eyes filled with tears and pain when they would look upon these people and see what the ANC had become today.

    When attempting to defend their party, these same people would refer to how the party operates within the context of a democracy like South Africa. They would ramble on about party structures and the position of the party, but ordinary South Africans would only ask you one question:

    How could you defend a man who has not only violated the constitution, not only violated the country, but violated the party that fought so hard so that so many of us could be free?

    And so, in this moment of betrayal by the ANC, it was good to recall Tata Madiba’s words from the 1993 edition of The African Communist:

    “You must support the African National Congress only so far as it delivers the goods, if the ANC does not deliver the goods, you must do to it what you have done to the apartheid regime”.

    On another occasion, the tenth anniversary of our democracy and his tenth anniversary of the day he was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of a new South Africa, 10 May 2004, again addressing a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, Tata Madiba said:

    “There are many theoretical debates about the meaning of democracy that I am not qualified to enter into. A guiding principle in our search for and establishment of a non-racial inclusive democracy in our country has been that there are good men and women to be found in all groups and from all sectors of society; and that in an open and free society those South Africans will come together to jointly and cooperatively realise the common good.”

    A voice in the ANC might argue that this is done through the voting of representatives, and that these representatives would represent the will of the people. But surely this voice is blind, for it has not seen that as the ANC has continuously betrayed the people, so it has continuously chipped away at the trust that so many once had in them.

    But look, this voice argues, we gave you representation in politics, even if that representation was meaningless when it came to preventing the outright theft of state resources, and the destruction of the future of so many children in this country!


    Yet, despite being blind to the blood that covers them, they would argue against “neo-liberalism”, they would argue that about the role parties had to play, and that no party would intentionally be corrupt, despite mountains of evidence pointing to the exact opposite.

    But this voice does speak true of one thing: what is more convincing as one listens to the testimony given at the Zondo Commission is that there is a systematic undermining of the views of those good men and women Tata Madiba spoke about, but not by those who speak out at the Zondo Commission as this voice implies, but by those in the ANC who would claim power and wealth for themselves.

    This voice fails to see the irony in their next statement, that it is true, it is not the democractic system that is the problem, it is truly the fact that the ANC lives. This voice claims that the ANC leads our people, when the truth was the ANC abandoned the people in 2009. It is the “ramblings of the few” who have testified at the commission that have brought this truth out into the light:

    The ANC has betrayed your trust, and destroyed any hope left in this once great movement.

    In the face of this onslaught by the gluttons who pillage from the government, the people, and the country, it is clear that the ANC clearly leads the onslaught against the people themselves, as truly, it is in this darkest hour, that we must find the courage and determination of someone like Mama Albertina Sisula within ourselves, because it no longer exists within any people that remain in the ANC. Any sense of justice they had has long since been corrupted by greed.

    • Alley Cat says:

      Wow Rowan. Well said. A brilliant answer to the drivel of JD.
      The only conclusion I draw from her BS ramblings? ANC cadres MUST stick to the party line no matter how much that conflicts with their oath of office and morals (for those few that have any). Put differently, when we tell you to steal from the poor to give to the rich, JUST DO IT!!
      At least she’s being honest for the first time that I can remember..

      • R S says:

        Thanks. Some things I would fix up now, but this really was written in a mild state of fury last night at the sheer gall of this woman.

        • Chris Kirsten says:

          Nothing to fix. You should get into mild states of fury more often. Funny how one can smell a rat without even being privy to the all the minute historical detail.

  • Bryan Macpherson says:

    That’s right Jessie – the ANC, its cadres and various hangers-on have the right to loot and pillage the country. The Constitution is to be ignored in this feeding frenzy of theft and it should proceed unchecked.
    To even mention President Mandela is your article is a disgrace.

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Zuma only reached out to and embraced RET as a mechanism to divert attention from his criminal relationship with the Gupta families and others. He only embraced and threw petrol on the “fees must fall” movement because he needed a distraction; his contempt for “cleva blacks” was well-known and documented. Ms Duarte is attempting to re-ignite this false narrative by now claiming that Zondo is an assault on RET. That she represents, and fuels a particular narrative within the ANC, must not be allowed to distract. She, as well as Ace, Zuma and a whole host of others, have a great deal of “skin in the game” – the game in this instance being corruption – and Zondo must continue to delve until the whole rotten cabal is brought crashing down and the king-pins arrested.

  • Ian McGill says:

    Typical waffle. Start with a meaningless quote from a “famous” Black writer, then go on to justify the Mafia that is the ANC. “Democratic centralism” is NOT democratic,it is autocratic. Thus the ANC is the most important thing in their universe. The rest of us “non revolutionaries” can go to hell . Meanwhile the real world is catching them up.

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    Ms Duarte,
    I fear your understanding of democracy is twisted, in the following basic manner:
    1. The definition of democracy most generally accepted is “Government of the people, for the people, by the people”!
    2. In RSA currently it has become “Government of the people, for both party and people, by the party!” Somewhat different I feel?
    3. While “good people have come together to build the country” equally have bad people done the same thing “to milk the country”? In this regard the most appropriate vehicle has been “The Party!”
    4. In RSA the people have no direct say in the election of their representatives, that privilege has been surrendered to “the party”!
    5. Direct representation would definitely NOT limit democracy, but would enhance accountability while limiting the power of the party collective. Finally
    6. The ANC is not really one entity. Rather it is a loose conglomerate made up from disparate entities, each of which has similar aims and ambitions, held together by a weakening history.
    I look forward to hearing your witness testimony at the Commission

  • Wilhelm van Rooyen says:

    Oh Jessie, Jessie, you protest too much! We’ll cobcider your pending evidence at the Zondo Commission with the scepticism you refer to. The alternative is too dangerous.

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    will she take her son in-law to the commission as an advisor ?

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    Spoken like a true cadre….”But none of these examples exist because no party has a party line that would want to indulge deliberately in corruption.” And yet somehow that’s exactly what the ANC is doing. Your complete denial is very very concerning and telling.

  • André van Niekerk says:

    I love how you start this diatribe – “It is worrying that democratic centralism is the subject of a commission led by a judge who, with respect, practices his craft based on the narrow parameters of existing laws.”. That says everything about you and your faction of ANC cronies.

    You see, the NARROW confines of existing laws are there to be obeyed. Even that pesky ol’ Constitution, with its narrow confines.

    This is SO irritating if you are God’s gift to South Africa, when you should have divine right to decide on things; after all you know better than these narrow confines would indicate.

    Oh wait, I guess these laws are apartheid laws! Of course, you’ve only been in power now for what, 27 years. 27 Years is such a short time. I cast my eyes down in shame, asking forgiveness from the last great leader of the ANC, who must be turning in his grave.

    Yes, how were you supposed to be able to change these pesky. narrow laws with only 27 years at your disposal.

    Let me stop, before I get worked up.

  • Mark Ogle says:

    Thank you for this convoluted twaddle that adds to the argument that our current electoral system is flawed.

  • Cecil van den Bergh says:

    Blah blah blah. Not going to bother to even read this.

  • Roger Sheppard says:

    Soap Opera holds no light against this “Victim’s Soliloqouy”. Melodrama has no equal; indeed the Soap-Box Derby Queen. She will always remain a victim…to whatever her dreams (nightmares for all?) suggest. History will have a mean story of her.

    The monstrous misfortune for us all, however, as with ANY of the mob-led ANC persons, is that we have to endure the cogent dysentery which falls mightily from the mouths of all these non-babes and Monster Sucklings. So, until History is told, and it will tell one day, at which, hopefully, for my descendants to wryly shake their heads, we live with good friends and family, closely by, and persist yet in help where and however we can, and encourage a raw truth and hard unyielding effort. Why? ‘Cos..”It little profits that this idle King, beside this stilled hearth, among these barren crags, matched with an aged wife, I meet and dole unequal laws unto a savage race …who HOARD and FEED and SLEEP and know not me”. Come folks, “strive to seek, to find, and not to yield” is what our lot is all about! And, DM, etal, keep up the unbelievable work.!

  • Kevin Broomberg says:

    Your party, under Jacob Zuma, lost its moral compass and you then expect party members to simply toe the line? Shut up and vote! The ANC knows what’s best!

    Well, it seems that there may have been a handful of honourable people who refused to toe the line, and they are the ones now embarrassing you and showing the ANC for what it is; a vehicle to enrich a few connected cronies.

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    ‘In every home, the witnesses of the Zondo Commission appeared more and more surreal as they told their truth,’ writes Duarte. Two dominating words here, ‘ surreal’ and ‘ truth’. The truth is terrifying Duarte and the vilely corrupt ANC. To Duarte the truth is surreal…a word which means ‘unreal: unbelievable.’ To Duarte not only is the truth about her corrupt cadres being revealed but tellingly it is happening, ‘ In every home…’ as she writes. Yes! …so we the public can see, hear and judge for ourselves. That is what is so damning for you Duarte.

  • C Moola says:

    1. Tata Madiba once told me that “it is bad form to name-drop!”
    2. These are just words rolled onto a page. Rather put them into a rational argument.
    3. The business of the Deputy CJ’s Zondo Commission is not “centralised democracy” but the naked theft and plunder of the South African state fiscus that belongs to The People you mentioned. You’ve forgotten that.
    4. You’re no Mama Albertina any more than Jacob is Tata Sobukwe, I am sorry to say, and I doubt any of that ilk would be here apparently defending brazen pillage from The People.
    5. We see you. You’re setting the stage for the Tea Party to attack the Zondo Commission.
    6. The votes of No Confidence were initiated by the opposition parties; but you were one of the Top Six who closed in around to defend Zuma when the ConCourt ruled he had violated the Constitution he is sworn to uphold. You can’t claim to value the Constitution or its statutory keepers under these circumstances. Protecting a criminal doesn’t absolve one of a crime but makes one complicit? Is this not how the law in a lawful state works?
    7. One key issue ‘omitted’ from your narrative is that those who benefitted criminally from state capture were/are expected to make financial contributions to the Party. This kick-back mechanism is well-attested to in public records.
    8. A second key issue you omitted is the brazen pillage of billions from our fiscus, now diverted from the welfare of The People, of which there is now overwhelming evidence in the public arena.
    9. It is this plundering of the state to the detriment of the poor (The People) and the common good, that is the true “onslaught against them (us)”. But here I need to remind you that not once in your entire piece do you acknowledge this.
    10. I’m quite puzzled by your unnecessary reference to The Tea Party. It seems to me that this is your real objective in this piece. It seems to represent the first stone thrown in an attempt to trash the Zondo Commission, and which I very much doubt any of the stalwarts you name-dropped would be a party to.

  • David Mark says:

    I have to say this regardless of whethers it’s moderated: Voetsek Jessie! Voetsek ANC!

  • Stephen Davies says:

    Much better reading in the comments than in the original opinion piece. Succinct contributions, clear reasoning, sharp commentary.

  • Keegan de Waal says:

    I struggle to follow the logic of this argument or view. Please submit yourself to the Commission and test it in a constitutionally sanctioned inquiry

  • Jean-Paul Kloppers says:

    This political gaslighting is insulting. The issue here, which Jessie naturally must ignore, is not one of ANC members standing together on policy. It’s on ANC members accepting party positions even though those positions tear away at the social contract the between the party and the people. There is no contract. We are at the ANC’s mercy: Waterkloof, Oil Rotation, Marikane, wrong size trains for Prasa, rolling blackouts, election black ops, Optimum Coal, Al Bashir, Esidimeni, fire pools, Bell Potinger, Hlaudi Motseneng, Tom Moyani, et al. etc. etc. The ANC puts itself first, not for serving the population, but to serve itself. Jacob said so himself.

  • Chris Kirsten says:

    “But again, the party caucuses serve as the bulwark against individualist tendencies, characteristic of constituent-based systems, to guarantee that the party’s mandate, given by the people, is protected”. The party and its caucuses failed in the instance of Zuma and is still failing in preventing these tendencies. It is clear the ANC takes more than a leaf from the Politburo’s book. Plainly a repeat of Zuma’s litany that the people come last. The party above all. Period. And please forget any notion of attack on any ideology. The ANC simply does not work. There are many similarities between the Lekgothla and Democracy. however; the Lekgothla cannot serve the purpose of a country. Fifty million plus people cannot sit around a lekgothla on a daily basis. Malfeasants can, as well, not be banished to some remote Island any longer to make them invisible. The narrow confines of the law is all we have left to make sane and rational decisions to steer the country on a course for survival. Ms Duarte is so involved in the structure of the political system she forgets the real reason for it all. The “individualistic tendencies” are reined in ONLY WHEN ALL recognize the rule of law. Very round about reasoning, maybe too much of a cerebral exercise?

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