My opinion piece published on News24
In the time it takes most political parties to entrench their
policies and programs into a nations operating system, the ANC has
managed to go from being the 'Default Browser' to a virus-infected users
Not so long ago, we were dancing in the streets and
celebrating a party that belonged to all; a party we were proud to call
our own; a party who's leaders led by example and inspired young and old
to work together toward the brighter future we were promised. I
remember where I was the day I stood in line to cast my first vote in
our new democracy. Filled with hope and brimming with pride, the energy
of the thousands of voters waiting in line was electric. Victory for the
ANC at the ballot was palpable. The only question was how great the
winning margin would be.
Fast-forward 20 years and suddenly the
very party we once embraced as our own, has degenerated into a pariah we
now distance ourselves from.
In truth the rot may have first been
exposed during the Mbeki era with the AIDS debacle and the arms deal
saga. The warning lights were slowly lighting up, and the nation was
starting to sit up and take notice.
Cue the Zuma administration
and suddenly it seemed like corruption, nepotism and every other ugly
known to politics was in free-fall. Nobody within the Zuma
administration was willing to stand up strongly or loudly enough to stop
the rot, and when we looked toward the leader himself we found a
President so wrapped in securing his party foothold that he forgot the
people he served. It suddenly seemed as though the needs of the people
became secondary and the desire to cement ranks within the ANC became of
utmost importance. Claims of tribalism and factionalism had overpowered
discussion on service delivery and job creation. The only jobs being
created were for the politically connected few within the walls of
parliament. The only services being delivered were the tenders to
friends and cronies. Rome for all intents and purposes was burning while
inside it's political chambers, orgies of debauchery and opulence were
the order of the day.
While the citizens searched for leadership
and guidance, the leaders were getting drunk on the public's taxes and
patting themselves on the back. When the voices of dissent from the
public grew too loud, the leaders would come out and scold the people as
though they were little children not worthy of sitting at the adults
Leaders like Gwede Mantashe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Fikile Mbalula
and Jackson Mthembu have recently come out in scathing attack at anyone
who disagrees with the ANC.
No longer are we allowed to simply voice
opinion and have it digested for morsels of truth. The danger of having
dissent or dialogue by a countries citizens being shut down by a ruling
party is that without even noticing, the line between democracy and
dictatorship is very quickly crossed. In a true democracy, government
would and should engage the people to resolve disputes and conflict.
Government must never forget that it is ultimately the people who have
voted them in power. It is when government assumes they hold the whip to
flog the nation, instead of being the servants of the people, that the
foundations of democracy begin to unravel. As citizens we have every
right to show dissatisfaction in our government. For the ruling party or
any of it's supporters to suggest otherwise is to denounce the very
thing ANC stalwarts like Oliver Thambo, Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and
others fought for.
It is the duty of every citizen to defend the
constitution and denounce wholesale corruption instituted by the state.
For the ANC to attempt to discredit independent bodies like the Public
Protectors office and oversight committees who are critical of their
actions and policies, one has to wonder what their definition of a
Public Protector or oversight committee really is. Would they prefer a
Public Protector who does everything but protect the interest of the
public? Would the ANC prefer oversight committees whose sole purpose is
to overlook any ANC wrongdoing? Would Gwede Mantashe, Jackson Mthembu,
Fikile Mbalula, Blade Nzimande and others prefer a robust media that
reports on any and all shortcomings and misdemeanors of all political
parties, except the ANC?
How arrogant must the leadership be if they expect the public to simply swallow without question the fodder they're being fed?
For Blade Nzimande to say Jacob Zuma built Nkandla with his own money
is an insult to our intelligence. Really Blade? Just 4 years ago our
president was singing poverty. Are we expected to believe that President
Jacob Zuma's salary of R2.7million per annum was so well invested as to
reap a 5000% return in 4 short years? Really Blade? Zuma's investors
could teach the worlds most successful investor, Warren Buffet, a thing
or two! I wonder why they never applied the same investment principles
to Aurora mines, Eskom, SABC and a whole string of other failures the
state had it's finger in?
Are we supposed to believe Gwede Mantashe
when he says that economic growth has declined in the Western Cape,
against all credible reports and statistics? I've never been a supporter
of the DA but even one as critical of the party as I knows that the
Western Cape is the best run province in the country. Even one as
critical as I cannot accept Gwede's views on the Western Cape.
we supposed to accept Fikile Mbalula's views that the public are not
allowed to show dissent at their president by booing him? Really Fikile?
History has shown that booing is probably the mildest form of showing
dissatisfaction against leadership. We come from a political history of
brick-throwing, necklacing and molotov-cocktails. I would think booing
is probably the most respectful show of dissatisfaction, considering our
While all political parties may be guilty to some degree of
denialism and discrediting those who highlight shortcomings within
parties, it is precisely because the ANC is currently the ruling party
that the spotlight will be placed squarely on them.
leadership within the ruling party cannot understand and accept that it
is the sign of a healthy democracy for citizens to criticize their
leaders, than I am afraid the political school they have graduated from
is in worse condition than our current education system.