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The election of Mandla Msibi and Zandile Gumede show that there is something rotten in the state of the ANC

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Rebone Tau is a political commentator and author of The Rise and Fall of the ANCYL. She is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Pan-African Thought & Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg. She writes in her personal capacity.

If you have money in the ANC, you can lead the organisation. This is not just a culture — it has become part of the ANC’s DNA.

We need ANC members who will think more broadly about the agenda of the country — President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to really look at the people who are surrounding him: do they have the same vision as him, or the best interests of South Africa at heart?

It is clear that the majority of ANC members put the ANC first before South Africa and this has become a norm within the party. South Africa does not matter at all, which is a serious concern.

How did those who are allegedly close to Ramaphosa allow Mandla Msibi to contest for the position of treasurer of the ANC in Mpumalanga? It is clear that those who are close to President Ramaphosa are there to serve their own interests but not the interests of the people of South Africa. It is clear that they don’t care about the nation but about themselves having power and access to resources to live a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the people of South Africa. They have no shame at all as they claim to be revolutionaries.

The election of Mandla Msibi was a clear sign that the ANC was far from the renewal process and we are going to see more compromised people within the ANC being elected into positions of power. Everyone in the ANC knew that Mandla Msibi and Zandile Gumede were being nominated by members of the ANC in the different branches. Msibi and Gumede’s elections were just as shocking to society, but within the ANC, it was not a shock, as it was known within that they would be contesting for leadership positions.

Allowing Msibi to contest meant anyone within the ANC who had been told to step aside could be accepted. What you do on the right hand you must also do on the left. It is alleged that Mandla Ndlovu is linked to the faction of President Ramaphosa. Why did Ndlovu agree to have Msibi on his slate? What is the whole purpose of stepping aside if people are going to contest?

The people in Mpumalanga who are in President Ramaphosa’s faction should hang their heads in shame as they allowed someone who is allegedly charged with murder to be elected within their slate.

The ANC needs to even review how people are elected as delegates at a branch level — the issue of money plays a huge role because if you have money you can be nominated and be elected into any position within the ANC. There are people in the ANC who are permanent delegates as they make a lot of money through this process.

Look, at most conferences of the ANC, more especially at regional level, they just go to conference to vote and newly elected leadership would call a regional general council to deal with the business of conference, which in the main are conference resolutions. Imagine — being elected without a mandate has become normal in the ANC. People go to a conference to vote and that is the most important thing to them. The battle of ideas is now reduced to an election in the ANC.

The problem is not the leadership within the ANC but the membership of the ANC. There is a need for the ANC to change how it does things if they are serious about renewal. Currently, if you have money in the ANC, you can lead the organisation. This is not just a culture in the ANC, it has become part of the ANC’s DNA. It has become the norm that if you have money you can buy your seat at the table so that you can enrich yourself and your family while the majority of the people of South Africa live under very difficult conditions.

The late Chris Hani once said, “what I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists who drive around in Mercedes Benzes and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches.” What Hani feared we are now seeing happening. If you don’t drive a fancy car in the ANC you are not worthy to be a leader, leadership is measured by what you have as a person. In the past, it was difficult to be a member of the ANC and today if you have money, you join the ANC and tomorrow you are elected into a position of power.

The election of Msibi must haunt those who are allegedly working with President Ramaphosa and who were present at Mpumalanga provincial conference, as what we saw in eThekwini is a direct result of what happened in Mpumalanga. DM

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  • Old news. There has always been something rotten in the ANC. Even Mandela himself demonstrated this in a live television interview way back in the early ’90s. He said something to the effect that “The graft [of government] will stop with the ANC”. Either he was completely out of touch with his own organisation or he was lying through his teeth to appear better than FW.

    More poignant questions like what caused the rot in the first place or why did it become so entrenched in both the leadership and the membership would be the basis of a far more enlightening article. But I suspect such an article would never see the light of day because it would necessitate delving into The Untouchable Topics as far as journalism goes.

  • Perhaps the only deliverance SA has as Stockholm syndrome victims of its captor, is for the ANC to die. Whether slowly or ignominiously, it really doesn’t matter because there is no hope for salvation under an unrepentant ANC. If SA doesn’t create its own escape from the evil that has enraptured it, then a hastened demise of the ANC is our only hope for survival.

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