The greatest irony in the recent local government elections is that the opposition used former ANC leaders for inspiration, but the ANC itself could not be inspired internally by its leaders. The opposition party’s out maneuvered the ANC in using former state presidents, namely: Thabo Mbeki’s and Nelson Mandela’s names strategically. After winning Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA feels vindicated in using Madiba’s name in their campaign. The EFF’s visit to former president Mbeki was a move that startled many. The whole episode gave the EFF an unanticipated political optics expressly in the eve of the elections. It is puzzling as to why a former leader of a party would declare his vote a “secret” whilst is still a member in good standing of that political party? My assumption that parties are at least assured of votes from their members is put in doubt. Sharing his thoughts on 702, Mantashe said that: “Black South Africans have not appreciated fully the value of voting. I know that, in the ANC, when you have a problem with the branch, the first thing they tell you is that they won’t vote. Now that means that they don’t value the voting.” Contrary to Mantashe’s utterances, Zizi Kodwa on the ANC today wrote, “As results from municipal elections continue to come in to the IEC National Results Center in Pretoria, an unprecedented 14 million votes have been cast in favour of the African National Congress (ANC) in this election. Kodwa’s statement shows, contrary to Mantashe’s conclusions, black people do appreciate the value of voting. Appreciating the value of one’s vote does not necessarily mean voting for the ANC. It is intriguing to think that the “clever blacks” are enough to drop the ANC under 50% or is the ANC members in good standing who secretly voted the opposition.

With the ANC failing to get the accustomed over 50%, the coalition rush with the EFF in Gauteng is on. Taking a look at the election results, the people of Gauteng wanted the DA and the ANC to govern. Why can’t they swallow their pride, collate and govern, as per the people’s mandate? Both parties support the NDP which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. They claim to be diametrically opposed but at the National Assembly, they worked together in “harmony” for years until it was invaded by the red berets. The EFF out staged the DA in the National Assembly, set the house politically alight and draw the public’s attention to the house. As a proven political python, the DA swallowed Patricia De Lille’s Independent Democrats (ID) and other smaller parties to govern Cape Town. With a Pan Africanist background, De Lille’s ID composition was mainly the coloured community. If you look nationwide the minorities have made the DA their home of choice. This was for them easy to assimilate with the DA after ANC’s disappointment. If the DA has ambitions of swallowing the EFF through coalition politics by offering top position to its leaders, it won’t work. Most EFF supporters see the DA as a white supremacist party with a black stooge to woo the black majority. History will alert the DA as we saw with the Ahang mess. Malema has put forward an African child benefaction clause in the coalition contract and the ball is in DA’s court. As for the ANC, Msholozi recall is a bait that will definitely lure the EFF into a coalition with the ANC, and is a tough one. As long as the agreement is an issue based, agreeing on deliverables and time frames, the coalition will work. One will never know what will happen, my money is with the EFF/DA coalition as a perfect convenience to kill the ANC. Metros drive the country’s economy, and hence the urban migration, losing metros will stifle the ANC efforts to implement its policies and will reduced it to a rural party.

You cannot pigeonhole debates and jettison comrades to lead constituencies that have their favored leaders and expect a flattering outcome. The Tshwane uprising and the subsequent election loss was a surprise to the ANC itself, but to some of us it was expected. The grand plan to have “communities” electing leaders turned deadly because the execution, like most ANC programs, was riddled with controversies. Superficial communities were formed and the members rebelled against their own. As a result, precious innocent lives were needlessly lost in the deadly candidate’s list battle. With so many corpses in the ANC recent election list, the party needs an honest postmortem. Strangely, ANC wounds are self-inflicted after repeated failure to self-correct. The own goals constantly scored by the captain of the team have eventually led to an embarrassing defeat in Gauteng. With the infamous Mbeki recall and the Malema expulsion being the main culprits in members exodus. 

Both the DA and the EFF have openly stated they will not collate with the ANC. If this stance remains, and a re-run is avoided after 90 days, it will be trouble for the desperate ANC. This desperation is likely to result in a desperate move to lure the fighters. Given the fighter’s uncontainable desire for land, and the ANC’s desperation for a coalition partner, the ANC can resort to anything including changing the property clause at a national level. They urgently need to win over Malema and spite the DA or die a slow one. If Malema sides with the DA, the blue brigades will try their level best to win the metro outright in five years’ time, and they are capable. The struggle heroism narrative of the ANC is fast running out of steam. Their leaders must quickly transition from struggle heroes to service delivery heroes. Self-serving leaders and the spoils of political incumbency have destroyed the ANC’s moral fiber. So what now? The party must remove the entire top six, call the national conference as soon as possible and nicely ask the elders to retire. Modernize the current constitution to rid it of slates election politics and factionalism. Allow those with desires to lead to come forward, and debate their ideas. Develop internally processes that allow confidentiality (secret vote) in choosing leadership. All political deployment must be drawn from a pool of those who are prepared to come forward and debate their ideas. I identity critical positions in province’s, regions and so forth and subject the aspired leaders to leadership test which they must pass. Of course, this is just my two cents, the fact is the ANC needs change and they need it fast. As they say, “If you’re not busy changing, you’re busy dying”.

By Sivodlo Silombo

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.


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