No saints in ANC contest

Corruption enablers failed to rein Zuma in

26 September 2017 - 07:21
The ANC top six: Zweli Mkhize; Cyril Ramaphosa; Jacob Zuma; Baleka Mbete; Gwede Mantashe and Jessie Duarte. File photo.
The ANC top six: Zweli Mkhize; Cyril Ramaphosa; Jacob Zuma; Baleka Mbete; Gwede Mantashe and Jessie Duarte. File photo.
Image: DANIEL BORN

There are no saints in this extremely dirty war that's unfolding within the ANC. Many, such as former president Kgalema Motlanthe, cling onto the vain hope that the "good guys" will set the party right, but they are wrong.

That sort of naive hope mimics exactly what happened in 2007, when even with the malodorous pus pouring out of the Jacob Zuma campaign (stalked by rape and corruption allegations) some still said the "man of the people" would turn out good. Zuma was no man of the people and his tenure has been a nightmare.

Care should be taken this time around, for there are very few or no saints and angels in the pack that's running for the ANC office now.

Take Lindiwe Sisulu, for example. She has crisscrossed the country promising better governance, more focus on the people and a return to ANC values. That's rich given that this is someone who fought vociferously for Zuma to get into power. Once Zuma was installed in Mahlamba, Ndlopfu Sisulu never once raised her voice as Zuma slept on the job, killed the economy and handed taxpayer billions to the Gupta family and his relatives.

A coup happened right in front of Sisulu and she never once said a word as her illustrious family's legacy was trampled upon. Her vows to clean up the ANC and government now are just about as believable as the rattling of an empty can.

Then there is Baleka Mbete, an ANC leader who, for the past 10 years, has failed comprehensively to make Zuma accountable on any issue. One really need not waste time on this candidate - every outrage the Zuma executive has carried out has her fingerprints all over it. She totally eunuched the legislature. The prospect of an Mbete presidency should make every South African quiver with dread.

Jeff Radebe says he will clean up government and set us all on the road to prosperity. After 10 years in the Zuma administration (he has been in government for 23 years) we are expected to believe that, miraculously, Radebe will deliver. Oh, by the way, what exactly has he had to say about ANC policy towards those like Zuma who have brought this "glorious movement" of Mandela and others into disrepute? Nothing. Instead, he has been a willing and even enthusiastic praise-singer of Zuma.

They ululated and
celebrated as a corrupt Zuma danced and giggled his way to power

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has embraced the Zuma administration's ideas, policy outlook and encouragement of corruption. By all means ANC members should vote for her in December. At least they know exactly what they are getting: Zuma with a medical degree - and the Guptas.

Zweli Mkhize also got Zuma into power in 2007. He found his backbone only in March this year after Zuma's chaotic and criminal cabinet reshuffle. For the past 10 years he has been part of the cabal that has suckled Zuma's corrupt presidency. His response to his role in the Zuma rape matter last weekend was mealy-mouthed and lacked credibility and authenticity. His only credit is that he is the man who got Des van Rooyen bundled out of the Treasury in December 2015.

The biggest disappointment of all is Cyril Ramaphosa. This former mineworker leader has an incredible history - trade unionist, democracy negotiator, astute businessman, dealmaker and philanthropist.

In the run-up to the 2012 ANC conference it was clear that many wanted Ramaphosa - but they were not enough to unseat Zuma - who had essentially rigged the 2012 ANC elections by ensuring provinces and branches that supported him were dominant at conference.

Ramaphosa dumped principle and joined in with Zuma. By doing so he gave Zuma legitimacy. The period between January 2013 and now - when Zuma returned from Mangaung - has seen the most comprehensive and astounding looting spree. Zuma and the Guptas plunged their hands into the coffers of state-owned enterprises such as Eskom and Transnet and looted with gay abandon.

Where was Ramaphosa? He was silent. He was silent when the Nkandla report was tabled, silent when Nhlanhla Nene was fired, silent when Pravin Gordhan was charged, silent when the public protector's State of Capture report was ignored.

His silence allowed Zuma to do as he pleased. He failed to realise that his illustrious history has been abused to whitewash the Zuma criminal enterprise. His silence in the face of corruption gave Zuma legitimacy. Until the cabinet reshuffle in March, he never said a word. The price of all that is what we see now.

Ramaphosa's silence endorsed Busisiwe Mkhwebane and undermined Thuli Madonsela; it emboldened Van Rooyen and left Mcebisi Jonas lonely, confused and crestfallen. Ramaphosa may have been a hero once, but he is not one now. His silence has meant that he is just another politician in a shiny suit trying to get one over the electorate for the top job.

If any of these leaders want to tell us they are about change, then they need to explain what they have been doing in the past 10 years as South Africa went from a globally admired country to the politically and economically stagnant, corrupt and compromised entity it is today.

They cannot say they did not know. They ululated and celebrated as a corrupt Zuma danced and giggled his way to power.

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