The ANC (African National Congress) which celebrated its 98th anniversary on the 8th of January, has in recent times become a shadow of the principled, honourable organization it once was. Men of integrity such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu have long since given way to a new class of leadership which styles itself around self-interest and loathsome behaviour, reminiscent of power-hungry dictators all over the world.
A post-apartheid ANC earned the right of governing the new South Africa, with honour and distinction. That was little more than 15 years ago. Now, true leadership has become a distant memory. The right to lead and govern is no longer earned; it is now demanded. In ANC circles, this is the age of entitlement.
It seems this new breed of ANC leadership have learnt well from the mistakes of despots such as Robert Mugabe. Why hang around for more than 25 years and then raid the treasury? Better to raid the treasury in the beginning of your term of office, then live off the fat for the next 25 years, or as long as you can still rig the vote.
Not that the ANC have ever rigged the vote, but it is not in their interest to rule brazenly, in the dictatorial fashion of Robert Mugabe; not yet anyway. There’s much work to be done – appease, placate, sweet-talk the sheeple, while the taxes roll in. Then, as Patricia de Lille, leader of the opposition Independent Democrats commented on a television show recently, “loot the treasury.”
Traces of the work ahead for the ANC could be found in leader of the ANC, Jacob Zuma’s New Year speech in the Northern Cape on Saturday. The usual platitudes were in abundance. While conceding that local Municipalities were in near disarray because employees also held leadership positions in the ANC which caused the “blurring of political and administrative roles,” he promised that the ANC would “tighten its deployment procedures.” He was quoted as saying:
We will tighten our deployment procedures to ensure that we deploy comrades with political integrity and professional competence.
Where will he find these “comrades?” Political integrity and professional competence is almost unheard of within the ANC today. And surely not in the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) which traditionally spawned leadership greats such as Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. The Youth League of today is noted for producing pin-heads such as Julius Malema and other misfits, more suited to rabble-rousing than leadership or administration.
Right now, this new breed of leadership needs to own up to having sullied the memory of this once great organization, and as penance, change its name to the New-ANC (NANC) or as I dis-affectionately like to refer to it, as Nancy.