The people of Marikana are not fooled by this sorry bunch of ANC candidates, and nor should we be
Would Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have deigned to visit Marikana had the 2012 massacre of mineworkers not been an albatross around the neck of Cyril Ramaphosa, her chief opponent in the ANC presidential race?
The visit was a political stunt that had nothing to do with mourning the dead or compassion for the community, or Dlamini-Zuma would have at least sent them a postcard sometime over the past five years.
The ANC has repeatedly failed the people of Marikana, and neither Dlamini-Zuma nor any of the other presidential hopefuls have any intention of rescuing that community from the depths of despair.
There is still no justice for the killings and no attempt by the Lonmin mine or the government to improve living conditions of the workers. People there remain traumatised and struggle to survive.Dlamini-Zuma's visit was for a photo op that would have tormented the opposition camp in the ANC. The wannabe "Mother of the Nation" would have looked sombre as she laid a wreath on the site where striking workers were slaughtered by police, while community members stood reverently by and 40 taxi-loads of her supporters sang her campaign song, We Are Ready for Nkosazana.
But the community chased her away. They rejected her faux sympathy just as they had brushed off attempts by Ramaphosa to offer them a rather belated apology.
The people of Marikana have shown us how human beings can withstand unthinkable brutality and cruelty and keep going. Now they are teaching us not to put up with political games and expediency.
The ANC presidential hopefuls are crisscrossing South Africa, trying to build momentum behind their campaigns simply by projecting themselves as marginally better than the other bad candidates.
Ramaphosa is trading on the anti-corruption ticket but is merely stating the obvious. There needs to be a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture and the Gupta family cannot be allowed to loot the state without consequences.
This is hardly ground-breaking.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela recommended the inquiry and there is general consensus in the ANC that a commission should be established.
What else does Ramaphosa bring to the table?How does he intend to undo the damage of the Zuma years and cleanse the state of the rot? How will he ensure the criminal justice system functions? What will he do with the Gupta henchmen in key positions in the state? What happens to the dead wood in the cabinet? What is his plan to rescue the tanking economy?
It is not only Ramaphosa who is short on detail.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is trying to go boldly where no ANC leader has gone but she, too, is being expedient. She said this week that the ANC should initiate disciplinary action against Zuma and his associates for their plunder of the state.
Sisulu is a member of the ANC national executive committee and national working committee. Has she raised the prospect of disciplinary action against the president in any of these structures or is she just jazzing up the campaign talk?
Sisulu says she wants to "cleanse and save" the ANC, but is leaning on the legacy of the political dynasty she comes from to return the organisation to its former glory. That dynasty thrived in a different era. The complex and difficult problems in the ANC and the country require more than crafty sound bites and nostalgia.
ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize is positioning himself as the "compromise candidate" who can bridge the divide between the warring factions in the ANC. Mkhize appears to be winning favour in the business sector as the "reasonable guy" who can provide political stability to get the economy chugging along again.