South Africa: WILL THE REAL ANC PLEASE STAND UP
So, someone has the guts to look into what the ANC is up to and write about it – before the ANC starts muzzling any such articles criticising them. Seems like the days of having fuzzy, warm feelings for the black SA government are over. Like I keep saying – Africa isn’t for sissies…or democracy. It’s for black Africans with their own brand of democracy…
The ANC of 2010 is definitely not the same party as that which came to power in 1994. It has demonstrated a chameleon-like ability to change itself and adapt to whatever happens to be the prevailing power base.
During the early 1990s one Thabo Mbeki penned a strategic note in which he predicted that the tripartite alliance would one day end. He did his best to hasten that day by sidelining the left, including Cosatu and the Communist Party, much to their leaders’ rising chagrin and anger. Fatally, he misread Zuma’s hold over the party’s grassroots and either didn’t see or didn’t want to see how the left would use Zuma as its very own Trojan Horse.
And the great watershed then was 2007. That was the year of Polokwane. And it was the year in which Cosatu led a nationwide, month-long, strike of the civil service. It was when the public sector cemented itself as the highest paid “workers” in the land. Cosatu is on the verge of repeating its earlier feat and the threat this time is that will be bigger and longer.
Zwelinzima Vavi is a clever fellow. Make no mistake about that. And he is truly dedicated to the principles of the left. He’s a believer. Whether he’s on the left of the social democrats’ movement or in tune with the Communist ideology of Marx and Lenin I wouldn’t know but I do know he’s a follower. And that makes him scary – because if, one day, he captured the ANC he would promptly apply that same collection of left ideologies that made Eastern European countries and Cuba such a moribund collection of beggarly and buggared nations.
So, is it really true that civil servants are poorly paid? Let’s have a totally open, for- once-truly-transparent, public inquiry as to just who earns what in both the public and private sectors. Some people may be in for some unpleasant surprises.
Meanwhile, do you remember those warnings that once the World Cup was out of the way, we’d be in for a really rough time? Most of us put that down to scare tactics. So how do we feel now? Look what’s happened:
* The media is being thoroughly lashed because it has had the temerity to complain about how the number of pigs with their noses in the public trough has multiplied. A Media Tribunal is now threatened which sounds very much as though it will be a medieval-type Star Chamber
* The first example of the ruling classes’ determination to bring, in particular the press, to heel came with the astonishing, high-profile, arrest of a journalist, Mzilikazi wa Afrika, while he was walking along to the Rosebank Police Station to hand himself over as had been demanded. As it turns out, his arrest is in response to an article he didn’t write about the premier of Mpumalanga, a province associated with all manner of dark and dirty dealings, including the recent assassination of a number of high profile individuals.
* The Protection of Information Bill is about to be approved by our rubber-stamp parliament. Its purpose is to ensure government in all its forms is spared the indignity of having its various thefts exposed.
* There have been two examples of attempts to raid the mining piggy-bank by making use of failings in the legislation. The most recent of these, the grant of a prospecting licence to an outfit called HolGoun in respect of the rights to various metals such as copper, nickel and chrome which are by-products of Lonmin’s platinum mines has caused alarm bells to be rung in international investor circles. Our president, Jacob Zuma, goes over to London and tells investors, come to South Africa, it’s a great place, we need your capital and we’ll look after you. A short while later, a move is made to filch by-products that have been sold by the extracting companies ever since they began mining. And swallow this: the chairman of HolGoun is one Sivi Gounden who served on Lonmin’s board until October last year. This is a story that has about it the whiff of traitors.
What comes next? Well, don’t be at all surprised if it isn’t the turn of the NGOs. If there’s any doubt about this, and if you’ve the time to spare (make it if you haven’t), have a look at an ANC policy document called “Leadership renewal, discipline and organizational culture.” It is to be debated at the ANC’s forthcoming policy conference.
And – after you have got past all the metres of comrade crap the writers are so fond of – the nub of the argument is that the communications revolution means anyone can now bypass the party’s channels. How is it going to do this? And who are the real culprits, the baddies who are using the new communications systems to subvert the party and who have the temerity to set the political agenda?
Why, it’s none other than the NGOs, that bunch of do-gooders who used to believe the ANC was their darling and who have since been treated to a very rude awakening. The way to bring them to heel is to set up a new regulatory body. It will determine how private funders can distribute their monies. In other words, if the party doesn’t like, let’s say, the Institute for XY and Z, it will be able to deny it the funds it would otherwise receive. Bang. Goodbye.
What all these actions amount to are those of a former liberation movement-turned political party which knows that its days in power, if what’s happened elsewhere in Africa is any guide, are probably numbered and it is taking every precaution to forestall its demise. It actually does want to stay in power until the Second Coming.
If all these things come to pass, including stuffing the Constitutional Court bench with the party faithful, then it really will take a revolution to bring about change.