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South Africa comes first — this country is ours and not an ANC (Pty) Ltd


Thamsanqa D Malinga is director at Mkabayi Management Consultants; a writer, columnist, and political commentator, as well as author of Blame Me on Apartheid and A Dream Betrayed.

Mark my words, we ain’t seen nothing yet. In the next two months, in the run-up to the ANC National Conference, abuse of state resources and machinery in the jostle for nominations is going to be the order of the day.

Well, once again South Africa the silly season is upon us and it’s not the annual “festive season” characterised by the spending spree and countless family festivities as we take a break from the yearlong toiling.

This silly season is the one that comes once every five years when the ruling party, the African National Congress, holds its elective conferences that culminate with the National Conference where new leadership is elected. This is the period where about 4,000 members of the party come together and decide for over 50 million South Africans who the next president (and deputy president) of the republic will be.

During this silly season of the ANC, I can tell you with certainty that service delivery will not be top of the list of the current deployees of this movement that is also the governing party of the country, the majority of provinces and municipalities. What tops the agenda is making it to whichever list is put up. We have seen it with regional conferences as well as the provincial conferences that have recently taken place.

If you believe that this is not the case, and my view is influenced by whatever dried plant I have smoked, then ask yourself why in previous years have we seen chairs flying and recently court interdicts being sought to either stop an elective conference or nullify its results.

With the nomination process open for branches of the ANC, reasoning and patriotism will fly out and South Africans stand to find themselves in limbo and our country will be on autopilot — if not already in a nosedive with its engines switched off a la Eskom.

It is said that history has no blank pages, so let us for a moment digress and dig into historical data. With every year where we have the ANC National Conference, we have experienced political battles play out and resources — largely state machinery — used in the tussle for this or that position.

Towards the watershed Polokwane Conference, the former National Intelligence Agency (now State Security Agency) together with the now-defunct Scorpions and Special Investigative Unit were used as the weapons of choice. South Africa was left exposed as state resources were used to fight party battles, all in the name of securing positions.

It was during that conference when ANC members — some of them deployed public servants, shouted, “it’s our turn to eat,” and others wore t-shirts unashamedly declaring, “I did not join the Struggle to be poor.”

History records that the ANC’s Polokwane Conference gave us one Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. His ascension to the ANC top post and de facto the country’s number one citizen was preceded by an act that was seen as a constitutional coup d’état with the recall of former president and ANC number one, Thabo Mbeki, before the end of his term.

Zuma’s reign has its own record of malfeasance and neglect of the republic at the expense of benefitting “his supporters” as a means of reward for having been elevated at Polokwane.

Then came Nasrec in 2017 where Zuma, in campaigning for his cronies, departed with a salvo of declaring that free education for all will be provided. He used state machinery to ingratiate himself and try to leave some form of “legacy” apart from the mess he was accused of creating. The Office of the Public Protector had painted his presidential period as that marred by “State of Capture”.

Once again, we saw ministers abandoning their national duties that they had taken an oath for, to go on to media platforms and call for Zuma to resign. No one in the Cabinet and deployees of the ANC cared about fulfilling their jobs. Their allegiance lay with positioning themselves for positions in their party which often results in deployment.

Remember how Malusi Gigaba declared on international media that “if Zuma does not resign, we will fire him.” If this and previous events pre and post the ANC National Conference are not proof that the ANC cadres do not have the interests of our beloved country at heart, then nothing I say will convince you.

We are now headed to the party’s 55th National Conference and the same old tricks are applied with the abuse of state resources. If it’s not Arthur Fraser with his case against the incumbent, then it is the seemingly well-timed Eskom rolling blackouts. If not that, then it will be something else.

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Mark my words, we ain’t seen nothing yet. In the next two months, abuse of state resources and machinery in the jostle for nominations for the party’s election of new leadership and extended committees are going to be the order of the day.

If you are thinking, “so what, we know this happens every five years and we have made peace with it,” then shame on you. In fact, you do not deserve to be called a South African.

South Africa should come first, not the ANC. The party has been arrogant to the point of declaring that it will rule until the biblical sandal-clad son of Joseph comes back. Its leaders, public service deployees as well as electoral supporters have consistently proven that the ANC matters more than the well-being of South Africa. We saw that with the unremitting defence of Jacob Zuma. Now it is the “acceptable” delay into president Ramaphosa’s investigation of the Phala Phala Farmgate.

The above is no exception. Look at the current nominations and endorsement of leaders to contest the party’s elections in December and, by default, being our government-in-waiting for 2024.

The former Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, with the Digital Vibes scandal like an albatross around his neck, has been endorsed to contest for the position of president. The same with 2017 runner-up, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who had to be taken to court by tobacco manufacturers amid the National State of Disaster that was necessitated by the Covid outbreak.

There is also the name of Fikile Mbalula for the party’s top six — this is the man who only needed two years to bring the country’s passenger rail system to its knees, a system that took decades to build up — he managed to destroy it in two years. This is a man who believes in having a publicity photo shoot to launch a “campaign to close potholes”. Like, really?

It is debated in hushed tones that the branch members who will be “nominating” party members to stand in the December ANC National Conference, together with those who will endorse such nominations with votes, do not have South Africa’s interests at heart. We know that should Ramaphosa lose the ANC top post, we are likely to have episode three of the constitutional coup by January 2023. By no means am I saying the incumbent must be retained, neither am I saying the opposite. I will leave that to the ANC family.

What South Africans must know is that in the next two to three months there will be no government, and the service delivery you get will be a form of campaigning for Nasrec 2022.

Whatever the outcome of the ANC processes leading up to its conference, together with the results of that event, South Africans must know that it is time to stand up and declare that the interests of this country and its citizens are far more important than those of the ANC as an organisation and its internal slates.

If you are tired of being at the mercy of the ANC, its neglect, the internal fighting that weakens organs of state as well as all its other machinations, then you have the responsibility in 2024 to make sure that South Africa as a state, together with its citizens, comes first.

How many promises have been made? How many dreams have we been sold? How many more years do we need to be disappointed in order to wake up? To what extent of dereliction do we want to see this country slide to before we say “enough!”?

This country is ours and not an ANC (Pty) Ltd. The Republic of South Africa comes first, the ANC can go bust — if it must. DM


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  • Beyond Fedup says:

    We, the decent citizens of SA and by far the large majority, need to take our country back from these ANC predators and bloodsuckers, thieves, misfits and halfwits. They are not fit to govern, have stolen the country blind, brought it to its knees to the point of a failed state, are incompetent and arrogant beyond words and have imposed on us their miserable failed Marxist centralist policies and ideologies. SA is on the edge of a cliff and in mortal danger as waiting in the wings to take over are the vile racist EFF and the hideous/rapacious Radical Economic Thieves. It will be curtains for this wonderful country of ours should these diabolical degenerates ever assume power.

    • Gordon Bentley says:

      We cannot wait any longer for the likes of Cyril, Gwede, Pravin, etc. to do something. Nothing will happen in the forseeable future, only we and South Africa will fall further down the abyss.
      We could wait for the for 2024 Elective Conference and hope for some light in the way of serious reshuffles if the ANC is likely to stay in charge. But that is too late.
      We must all recognise that the ANC Cadres and Management are the wrong people to call the shots in managing an essential utility such as Eskom.
      First Prize would be to privatise Eskom and then dissolve the present management, maybe, by way of a National Referendum?? Let’s face it we have a National Disaster and must act now. Then we would recommend that all Eskom staff be retrenched and given the option apply for their jobs back again – from the new-hard arsed Private Owners – keep the good management/workers and lose the bad.
      Then Engage competent new Engineers and Management. It’s sounds as if it Easy to talk about but not easy to implement?? We have no option but must implement this – South Africa depends on this! I suggest that we may well have the whole of clear-thinking, South Africa behind us, Black and white, if we go about our campain in the correct manner.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Rebuilding the country from bottom up is the only possibility of realising the potential this country and its people have.
    When shall we see the forum within the DM “Maverick Solutions”?

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Regarding your concluding words …. note that the prescient Madiba (without any humming and hawing or apologies) said about doing to the ANC … what you did to the apartheid regime !

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