This 'unity' game has nothing to do with democracy

05 December 2017 - 07:12 By The Times Editorial
Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. File photo
Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. File photo

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has set the cat among the pigeons with the little "unity" game he is playing in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference this month.

He finally showed his hand when more than 200 of Mpumalanga's branches spoiled their ballot papers with the word "Unity" at the provincial general council last week.

Mabuza was quoted in the weekend press as saying he would use his province's kingmaker muscle to force Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa to adopt a mixed, inclusive slate that accommodated the different factions in the ANC.

But why should all the different factions in the ANC be accommodated? Why should the election of the ANC's new leadership corps be a negotiation?

This is not 1991, when we had a Codesa1 to try to navigate our way around the complexities of creating a new, united South Africa. We have moved beyond that. We have become a proud democracy. The Greek word demokratia, may we remind Mr Mabuza, relates to a popular government. A political system in which the people - the citizens - hold sovereignty.

In this crucial time, the ANC should be focusing on electing the best possible leader who can put an accountable government in place that can return South Africa to the united rainbow nation we all once dreamt about.

The ANC's Gwede Mantashe recently warned that the party's support could drop to below 50% in the next elections. Perhaps this is the essence of our governance problem - the ANC is so preoccupied with itself, it has forgotten how to govern a country.

It is time for the ANC to prove to its critics that a liberation movement can transform into an efficient democratic government.

It is time to grow up, because time is running out - for both the ANC and South Africa.