‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.’ – Antonio Gramsci
Yes, it was the ANC that emerged as the only political force to challenge the exclusion of Africans in the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910; it was the ANC that for 48 years led the black oppressed against colonial subjugation and apartheid rule; it was the ANC that built a formidable external mission from 1960 and finally brought the racist regime of PW Botha to the negotiating table. For all of that, the ANC must be given credit.
Fast-forward from 1912 to 2022 (110 years later) and the ANC is now the problem in South Africa.
The former glorious movement of Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela has turned into an unrecognisable, corrupt monster afflicting South African society.
In the same way that the National Party was associated with racism in the past, the ANC is today synonymous with corruption.
Frankly, the ANC is the most corrupt regime since the birth of the Union of South Africa 1910. None of the ersthwhile British and apartheid governments managed to equal the ANC government when it comes to corruption and failure.
The ANC is a typical African liberation movement which, after leading the struggle for independence, morphs into a self-serving organisation serving the interests of a small party elite at the expense of the long-suffering masses.
Who will ever forget 10 May 1994 when Nelson Mandela took his oath of office as the first democratically elected president of the new South Africa? The optics of the flyover of the military planes bearing the new South African flag will forever be etched in the memories of those who were old enough to witness the emotional scenes.
On that day, a new South Africa was born, led by arguably the greatest icon of the 20th century. It was great to be South African, at the time.
Today the ANC, formerly known as the “leader of society”, stands accused as the number one culprit in the State Capture report just released by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Every act of corruption, looting and thievery in that important report can be pointed at a cadre of the governing party.
Try to find anyone outside the ANC accused in this despicable and systematic orgy of looting, and chances are that you will come out with nothing.
It was none other than the ANC president who shocked the nation when he pronounced that “the ANC is the number 1 accused in the corruption outrage” in South Africa.
Today, not only is the ANC the main culprit in the political and economic collapse of a democratic South Africa, but it is engaged in a fratricidal, internal, factional battle that can only lead to its demise.
It is for this reason that we need to turn to Italian political philosopher Antonio Gramsci when he talks about the old refusing to die. The ANC stubbornly refuses to die despite the fact that it has nothing more to offer the people of South Africa.
Yes, at 110 the ANC is too old to lead South Africa.
It is the ANC that has brought this young and promising democracy to a state of almost total collapse economically, with dire consequences for ordinary citizens.
The ANC is now the problem and therefore cannot be part of the solution.
The only solution for South Africa is a change of government.
Only new, modern and progressive parties, to borrow ANC parlance, “can take South Africa forward”.
The emergence of relatively new parties such as the DA, EFF and recently ActionSA is the most positive development in the history of this country.
Without the tenacity of a DA led by Tony Leon and Helen Zille, the ANC would have caused far more damage than we have witnessed; the emergence of the Red Berets under the noisy and provocative leadership of Julius Malema played a crucial role in hounding Jacob Zuma out of office while contributing to the reduction of the huge majority the ANC used to command; the recent emergence of a modern and fast-growing ActionSA party under the able and effervescent leadership of entrepreneur Herman Mashaba represents the final nail in the ANC’s coffin.
Since the ANC is the problem, it cannot by any stretch of the imagination become the solution.
The ANC, as the governing party, is not only a problem of the 60 million people it governs, but it is a problem to itself.
Corruption and factionalism have virtually destroyed the former glorious movement of Chief Albert Luthuli and Oliver Tambo. From the 2007 Kgalema Motlanthe’s Secretary Report at the Polokwane conference to Gwede Mantashe’s Diagnostic Report in preparation for Nasrec – and all other internal analyses – the African National Congress has reached such an advanced state of decay and decadence that its rescue is impossible.
All ANC veterans, from Thabo Mbeki to Mavuso Msimang to Kgalema Motlanthe, have wittingly or unwittingly consigned the former liberation movement to the dustbin of history. These are not opposition party enemies of the revolution, but stalwarts of the Movement.
The current desperate attempt to “renew” the party has dismally failed. In fact, it was stillborn from the start.
The CR22 and RET factions, locked in a self-destructive, fratricidal battle to the death, will not make peace with each other.
Every ANC leader wants to occupy the highest position in the party and in the state in order to loot for the last time before the party loses power in 2024.
This was recently demonstrated by the ANC Gauteng conference at which Panyaza Lesufi and Lebogang Maile locked horns for the position of provincial chairperson. When some senior party leaders proposed the collapsing of slates, advising that Lesufi take the chair with Maile as deputy, Maile apparently refused as he believed he had the numbers. The rest is history.
So, the ANC has a serious internal problem that it cannot address, but, strangely, still seeks to win the next election in order to continue to steal and mismanage South Africa.
Fortunately, the voters have had enough and the long journey of the former glorious movement ends in 2024.
There is a theory in political science that it is only when an unpopular regime tries to reform that it collapses. The ANC has surely reached that stage in South Africa.
Cyril Ramaphosa has reached the Mikhail Gorbachev and PW Botha moments. Gorbachev, aware that the gargantuan USSR edifice was no match for the agile United States in the Cold War, liquidated the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. With apartheid under siege domestically and internationally, apartheid president PW Botha initiated secret talks with the exiled ANC – and that led to the fall of apartheid when FW de Klerk surrendered in February 1990. It is now Ramaphosa’s turn.
All signs are that the former trade union leader-turned-billionaire is clueless how to move South Africa forward.
A former anti-corruption gladiator who saved the ANC in the 2019 election is now caught up in his own Watergate scandal – Phala Phala. His enemies in the party have tasted blood and want him guillotined at his own step-aside shrine.
This is a party in crisis that cannot be expected to provide solutions to an embattled country.
The step-aside rule is now at the centre of this conflict in the ANC as the Thuma Mina faction intensifies its campaign to rid the country of the State Capture faction, while, for its survival, the RET forces have launched a nationwide mobilisation to scrap the now-hated rule.
The battle inside the party is truly fierce and it is anybody’s guess how it will end.
Zandile Gumede and Mandla Msibi survived the chop and the party plugged the holes. More corrupt cadres face the dreaded chop and have launched a campaign to scrap the damn thing. Their numbers are increasing and very soon no one will step aside, including Ramaphosa himself.
The RET forces appear to have the upper hand at this juncture because the Phala Phala scandal has compromised the president as he limps towards the 55th conference of the African National Congress.
Although the RET forces have not produced a single credible leader to take on Ramaphosa, the once invincible Thuma Mina faction has been seriously damaged by former intelligence chief Arthur Fraser, a close friend of the spiritual leader of the RET forces, Jacob Zuma.
The jury is still out as to who will prevail in the crucial December conference of the governing party. A party this corrupt and divided cannot lift South Africa out of its current political and economic morass.
Only forces outside the governing party can save the embattled country.
It is only a National Coalition of Patriots that can save South Africa from total collapse. DM