Defend Truth


The ANC has mastered the art of demolition, not building


Prince Mashele is an author and political analyst.

A combination of ANC incompetence and corruption has ultimately broken Eskom’s back. No amount of noise must distract us from one important truth: having collapsed Eskom, the ANC can never rebuild it.

Since the dramatic departure of Andre De Ruyter from Eskom following the release of his tell-all interview with eNCA, South Africans have been talking.

White South Africans who feel that one of their own has been ill-treated by a black government have been reluctant to jump into the public arena to defend him openly, fearing the easy accusation of racism. Even black people who believe that De Ruyter has been treated unfairly don’t finish their statements without adulterating their support by pointing out that De Ruyter has failed to end rolling blackouts, or that, in his lamentations, he should have eschewed matters of ideology.

Only ANC leaders and their supporters felt emboldened to grab hammer and nail to publicly crucify the man, excoriating and casting him as an incompetent right-wing saboteur plotting to subvert the ANC-led government.

Even such embarrassing incompetents as Fikile Mbalula did not miss the opportunity De Ruyter presented for them to shine. Under the glare of cameras, Mbalula opted to forget that as minister of transport he himself has fixed no road and improved no transport in South Africa.

In his fractured English and grotesque incoherence, the clownish ANC secretary-general proceeded to lampoon himself. Satisfied that he had hammered De Ruyter enough, Mbalula concluded: “The ANC is not corrupt.”

Tale of the tape

That the ANC has been complicit in corruption and State Capture is a clear and undeletable finding made by the Zondo Commission. The party’s own president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has told us that the ANC is “accused No. 1” in corruption. 

If Mbalula has a mind, and if he needs more evidence, he should simply spend a minute remembering his own engagements with his dead friend, Brett Kebble, the man who corrupted ANC Youth League leaders beyond repair.

But we must be fair. In relation to the mess at Eskom, Mbalula’s major problem is failure to tame his ungovernable mouth. And of course, the company was looted and collapsed by Mbalula’s comrades, not him personally.

All ANC presidents since 1994 — from Nelson Mandela to Cyril Ramaphosa — have failed to invest in building new power-generation capacity at Eskom. In 2007, former president Thabo Mbeki apologised on behalf of government for the ANC’s catastrophic neglect. Alas, an apology cannot produce electricity.

What De Ruyter has alerted us to are problems relating to one vital state-owned company, Eskom, whose failure is to our country what heart failure is to a living organism. This is why there is now talk of a possible collapse of the state that might result from a total collapse of our national electricity grid.

Absence of ANC accountability

When people talk about problems at Eskom, the ANC is happy to fold its arms as if such problems have nothing to do with the party. But we know that it is ANC’s ministers who have been meddling with governance and management at Eskom. It is the ANC that has collapsed Eskom.

Eskom was established 100 years ago, in 1923, by the then government of prime minister Jan Smuts, to provide electricity for industrialising the entire country beyond a handful of mining centres. Operationally, the company was built by the globally renowned South African scientist Hendrik van der Bijl, who ran it professionally and profitably until his death in 1948.

All the governments that came after that of Smuts — from the pact government of 1924 all the way to the apartheid government — appreciated the need to keep on strengthening Eskom, and to never undermine it technically and managerially.

Things went wrong when the incompetents of the ANC took over the company after 1994. They extended electricity provision to millions of previously unelectrified people without building more generation capacity. This is like having a boat that you keep loading with more and more passengers, without the vessel becoming any bigger. It will eventually sink. Hendrik van der Bijl must have turned in his grave as he watched the ANC destroy the company he built.

It is the combination of ANC incompetence and corruption that has ultimately broken Eskom’s back.  What De Ruyter saw is a result of almost three decades of neglect and primitive looting — effectively milking the cow dry and cutting off its udder.

No amount of noise must distract us from one important truth: having collapsed Eskom, the ANC can never rebuild it. The ANC has mastered how to demolish, not to build. Is there anything Fikile Mbalula can show he has built?

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State-owned destruction 

Eskom is only one among many state-owned companies the ANC has run aground. Think of Transnet, Prasa, Denel, the post office, SAA, and so on and so forth. Everything that the ANC touches turns to dust. This list focuses only on state-owned companies. A wider view reveals an even more depressing truth – that the ANC cannot govern a modern state.

Look at what the ANC has done to public education: 80% of public schools are dysfunctional and universities have been turned into theatres of chaos, where vice-chancellors are no longer safe. Even dancers have been deployed to lead serious universities, only to be ejected a few years later with a golden handshake.

To gauge the extent of South Africa’s education problem, ask yourself the following question: If Angie Motshekga were the principal of the school in your neighbourhood, would you take your children there? What about a university run by Blade Nzimande?

The ANC has turned public hospitals to dust. Let us be honest: all the hospitals built by the apartheid government in black communities used to function better than they have done since the ANC’s bunch of incompetents took them over. Do you think ANC politicians go to Thembisa Hospital when they are sick?

There is a dramatic minister who frequently shows up at crime scenes after people have been murdered or after women have been raped. The minister looks like a gangster himself, but his threatening looks have not intimidated the criminals who have literally taken over our country. To kill a human being in South Africa under the ANC is easier than killing a chicken.

The areas singled out above are but a sample of critical pillars of a modern state. And the ANC has collapsed all of them.

If you want to see the collapse of governance in a concentrated form, take a drive through the central business districts of our towns and cities, except Cape Town. The city of Bloemfontein now looks like the Nigerian chaos called Lagos — with putridity in the air, ubiquitous potholes and uncollected garbage all over the place.

We have reached the point where even shack dwellers in informal settlements can see evidence of ANC incompetence in the squalor they live in. Their illegally connected electricity disappears for 12 hours a day, under the fancy euphemism of “Stage 6 load shedding.” Those who live in posh suburbs now grapple with water shortages even though our dams are full to the brim.

That the ANC cannot govern used to be an allegation; now it is a reality that everyone can see. Is there anyone who does not drive through potholes on daily basis? The number of bakkies and SUVs on our roads tells you that something is getting worse. Is there anyone who is not affected by blackouts? When you see the explosion of solar panels on roofs, you must stop taking Cyril Ramaphosa’s twaddle seriously.

In short, the ANC has morphed from being a national asset in the 1990s to becoming South Africa’s greatest liability today. It is a demon devouring every good thing in our country.

Storm of hypocrisy 

Most of the decisions taken by the ANC now are truly baffling.  In the domain of foreign policy, for example, how are we to explain the ANC government’s support for Russia’s murderer in chief — Vladimir Putin? Everything Putin is doing is against our country’s constitution.

There is a tragicomedy about ANC leaders.  If you were to consider recent trips of ANC NEC members who took holidays abroad, you would be lucky to find one, except DD Mabuza, who chose to visit Moscow. Mabuza was not there on holiday. He was sick and scared that his comrades would kill him in a South African hospital.

ANC leaders go to Dubai on holiday, not Saint Petersburg. They go to Paris to buy Louis Vuitton shoes and handbags, not to Vladivostok. They are happy to holiday in New York, not in Kazan. What kind of mental dissonance, then, explains the oddity of these duplicitous lovers of Western culture?

The answer may be as hollow as the discredited ideas that used to animate the defunct Soviet Union. ANC leaders are so out of touch with the world that they are not aware that the Putin they support is not a communist. The billionaire despot is one of the wealthiest crony capitalists of all time. He possesses palaces and yachts (disguised, of course) that are reminiscent of the bourgeois decadence of Tsarism.

To quote another famous Russian, Vladimir Lenin famously asked: What is to be done?

The answer to this requires much more reflection and space than I have available here so I will address it another time.

For now, let there be no confusion: South Africa has been collapsed by the ANC, and will not be fixed for as long as the party is still in charge of our beautiful country.  DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    What a brilliant and sincere expose, Prince! You have called it as it is – to the point, accurate and the reality is there, for all to see and experience, as we regretfully are. That SA has been grossly betrayed by these rapacious, arrogant, heartless, useless and diabolical thieves and criminals masquerading as a government, is beyond any doubt. This country, with so much potential and a place in the sun for all, deserves so much better. Alas, unless the gullible masses wake up, we will continue down this self destructive journey into a failed and bankrupt state. The ANC are masters of theft, breaking and destroying, and exceptionally hypocritical and immoral to boot as our sickening, disgraceful and subservient support for the evil mass-murdering Putin monster continues unabated. You have to be a very special kind of stupid to wilfully bite the hands that feed you, in every way as the ANC does. SA needs to move on and can only progress by exorcising this demon from our midst. Vote these bloodsucking parasites out!!!

  • L Dennis says:

    Thank you for your article. It saddened me when you said white people did not defend de Ruyter. DM readers did though. I will continue to pray for our beautiful country.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Thanks for being so open and frank. When will parties such as DA, Action SA, BOSA united to clean out the ANC’s Augean stable?

    • Derrick Kourie says:

      This excellent piece closes by deferring the question “What is to be done?”
      You begin to answer it by pointing to the fragmentation in opposition parties. Underlying that, I submit, is an electorate that makes bad electoral choices. These bad choices include staying away, voting for the fascist EFF or corrupt ANC, or voting for a multiplicity of fringe parties.
      An important part of the answer to the “what is to be done” question, then, is to better educate the electorate. The burning question is: how can that be done effectively?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    At last! The Eskom crisis viewed objectively without submission to racial distortion. It is precisely honest introspection like this that is so desperately needed to empower all South Africans to rebuild our beautiful nation together.

  • TherealMalcolm x says:

    The reality is that all revolutionary movements are destroyers and the ANC destroyed apartheid and the previous regime. But once that was done, the morally right decision would have been to step away and handover to people with the skills and will to rebuild.

  • Herman Raath says:

    Brilliant piece. This should be prescribed reading at schools and universities. But of course due to our dismal education system only a small percentage of voters can actually read the article and understand its contents. Even worse – due to unemployment most people are too busy looking for their next meal to sit down and read. Come election time we will repeat our mistakes and yet again hand the keys of this broken castle to its chief destructors – all in exchange for a yellow T-shirt with a smiling Cyril and a once-in-5-years handout meal.

  • Bruce Q says:

    Mr, Mashele, please share your oh-so-vivid article and views with the majority of our voting South Africans. Y’know, the ones who mindlessly and inexplicably continue to vote the ANC back into power.
    Please help remove the blinkers and allow the populous to see the truth.
    Allow hard working and peace-loving South Africans bring this beautiful and unique country to its rightful place as a beacon of hope, prosperity and peace to not only Africa, but the rest of the world.
    You can do it.
    We can do it!

  • Vas K says:

    Refreshing. Although most of us have not learned anything revolutionary. Surely everyone knows that ANC is by now just a ragtag gang of greater and lesser criminals with only one skill and objective: that of looting. But Mr. Mashele manages to focus on the crux of the matter and summarize the situation so clearly and eloquently. It is a sad end of the road for a once promising liberation movement turned terrorist, turned would-be-government, turned kleptocracy. I can’t imagine how the few honest ANC members, some of them supporting ANC most of their lives, must feel now. As for the rest of us, I actually don’t know anybody who listens to anything what the government has to say or reads the media analyses of it. It is all lies, fantasies, or ravings of random sick minds. All ultimately spoken just to keep the spot at the trough.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    Prince has written the article in his usual very clear language that takes no prisoners. He has always avoided to immerse himself into sentimental politics because he realised very early that they have taken the country nowhere. Prince is acutely aware that many people are aware of this truth but are prisoners of the past and history whilst the country is seeking deeper into a morass. It is people like him who help us as former freedom fighters to face the hard questions that
    we sometimes dodge of whether we must save the ANC or the country. This question has become very much the centre of discussions in the various discussion groups that have emerged during the horrible Zuma years and are growing louder with the spineless Presidency of Ramaphosa. In fact, he has done
    a lot with his clear and incisive analysis to get people to do something and many of these groups are because of him not hesitating to point to the nub of the issue.
    We have realised that the country and the people must be freed from thieves, corruption, incompetence, criminality, poor governance, unemployment and poverty through mobilisation of the people and continuing to discuss these issues so that our people must understand the damage the ANC has done to this country and must exercise their own agency. We must thank Prince with his indefatigable spirit and commitment to continuously speak on these issues because the media can obfuscate issues.

  • Courtney Morgan says:

    I hope I am not reframing this too much, or drawing too deeply from a really thought provoking title. What you have written here Prince is something so necessary for many of us to read, and you wrote it well.

    Demolition in itself is a skill, it’s necessary to do before we can begin to rebuild. And while we are the victims of this destruction, we are also the only ones left to answer the question of “what is to be done?” and we need to start answering it urgently.

    By looking at the systems this corrupt government has taken advantage of, and how easily they were able to squander our resources, we know how to direct our efforts to empower ourselves from the government.

    Those of us with the grit to commit to progress have to start to proactively build better systems, new mindsets, that truly serve its people – all of its people. Bare in mind we inherited these institutions from a white government that would have, and did fail its people just as callously, and therefore the solution to the struggles we are facing can not come from the same structures of power we have relied on in the past.

    We need more civic action, and that action needs to transmute itself away from complaining and protesting, to channel itself towards human led development that is independent and inclusive.
    The government must become a servant to its people, instead of subjecting its people to abusive and greedy whims, the only way we can do that is through a redistribution of power.

  • michael richman says:

    a wonderful piece Prince if only more of the electorate [if possible ]can come to their senses and to place their tick come 24 in the right place high hopes

    • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

      Which is the right place? I cannot see any party or personality who would be able to make the necessary turnaround. Unfortunately the best ones are not in politics. I really hope that I am wrong.
      In any case, anything would be better than what we have now.

      • Derrick Kourie says:

        Please SA electorate, do not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Do not stay away because no party is good enough. Choose the the party most likely in your judgement to be effective. Do not waste your vote on tiny parties and do not stay away.

  • Jacobus Benecke says:

    The Pied Piper (the ruling party) keeps on playing the same destructive tune and we, the voters, keep on following and will end up drowning in the river!
    When will we wake up before it is too late?

  • Michael Sham says:

    Mr Mashele, I would like to interview you on my State of the Nation platform. If you are up for it, kindly contact me on mike at streamin dot co za

  • Anne De Wet says:

    Give this man a Bells!!

  • mcgmeyer says:

    What a great article!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Could this article and comment be reprinted in the Sowetan so that the voters can be told the truth and not misled by food parcels, free electricity, and ANC/EFF promises of a better life?

  • Glyn Silberman says:

    Wow, what an article! Does the ANC read DM?

  • Leslie Stelfox says:

    Thanks, Mr Mashele, for this article! It should be translated and, even, recorded into the various languages of the country and spread around to inform the the rest of the country (who don’t read the DM).

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