Zuma's political demise no instant cure for a country caught in ANC grip

10 September 2017 - 00:46

The country seems to be biding its time, waiting for December, almost as if the season of goodwill will somehow arrive bearing good tidings or at least signal the end of South Africa's misery.
But there is no silver lining on the horizon. The ANC's elective conference in December will bring no joy to a country stupefied by the incompetence, corruption, thieving and sheer mayhem unleashed by the governing party.
In a sense, we're like hostages who're somehow looking up to, or begging, our hostage-takers to bring the trauma to an end.
Liberation movements have never been known, once in power, to bring about the nirvana they preached about while seeking to overthrow the status quo.
It is not difficult to understand why. Their modus operandi, their raison d'ĂȘtre and what they're good at, is to destroy rather than to build. And it's easier to destroy than to build. Even a fool can do it.No liberation movement in Africa, Latin America or East Asia has been able to run a passable government or greatly improve the quality of life of the people, beyond giving them handouts. Instead of growing the cake, they redistribute what is already in existence.
They also tend to overstay their tenure in government, either through their use of violence - which is, after all, the means by which they grabbed power - or through the support of a significant part of the populace still grateful that they rid them of the hated ancien regime.
But the old rulers always leave a mess behind that others have to clean up. Also, their departure from power creates a serious rupture in society because their madness and habits are embedded in all societal strata. After all, the party is supreme; it is the vanguard of everything. It therefore cannot be uprooted without destabilising or tearing society itself, leaving deep scars.This is the lens or tradition through which the ANC should be seen. It's true that the ANC behaved impeccably when it took over, running the government better than the National Party and in fact cleaning up the mess left by its predecessors.
But that has proved a false dawn.
Initially we regarded ourselves as very fortunate to have a liberation movement that seamlessly took to good governance like ducks to water.
We were an exception to the rule, we thought. Our values and ethics would shine like a beacon throughout the continent and the rest of the developing world. The world cheered.
But it has to be said that Nelson Mandela's was not an ANC government. It was an outlier. He was swimming against deeply ingrained sentiments in his own party. They ditched his values, his perspective, his unifying compassion the moment he was out the door.
Thabo Mbeki set about putting together a proper ANC government. Jacob Zuma has perfected it. Which is why party members have put their reputations on the line to defend Zuma. He's the soul of their party.Now Zuma is intent on passing the baton to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife, which will mean keeping it in the family - the Gupta family, that is. To call her a Gupta candidate is not at all unkind to her. It is merely stating a fact. The family anointed her long before there was any talk of a succession contest, naming her South African of the year, an award nobody knew existed, and giving her R250,000, money we now know had been laundered. A poisoned chalice if ever there was one.
But she's proving a loyal soldier of the Guptas, faithfully crisscrossing the country for the cause without uttering anything untoward. When she has had occasion to open her mouth, she has said two things: "radical economic transformation" and "white monopoly capital", slogans given to her by the Guptas and Bell Pottinger, their erstwhile PR agency. She likes the first slogan, and hates the other one. That's all we are allowed to know about the woman who wants to be president.
The hope is that she'll prevail in December and then steal into the presidency on the back of an ANC victory in two years .
Winston Churchill once described Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Cyril Ramaphosa remains a frustrating enigma even to his most fervent supporters. He has no fire in the belly. Even if he were to be elected, he would not have the stomach to clean up the ANC or the government.
For all his criticism of corruption and state capture, Ramaphosa has stood loyally behind Zuma since Mangaung in 2012.

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