Floyd Shivambu on ANC’s tribal politics

Zulu tradition irks ex-ANCYL leader

A few years ago, the ANC made a huge blunder in electing Jacob Zuma as President of the ANC in December 2007. Ironically, the re-election of President Thabo Mbeki in the same Conference would have been a huge blunder, portraying an incapable ANC that cannot outgrow its individual leaders. This is an unfortunate part of politics where it happens that both sides of political options are disastrous.

Now, Polokwane bred a disaster in Jacob Zuma who despite his literary incapabilities, has very low or non-existent moral standards, and obsessed with enrichment of his family members and household. An expectation was somewhat developed towards Polokwane that the election of Jacob Zuma will lead to discontinuation of rabid presidentialism and the ANC will be taken to the people. It was not to be so judging by the many individually inspired blunders committed by the sitting President both as ANC President and President of the Republic of South Africa.

Election of Jacob Zuma in the 53rd National Conference of the ANC will be the biggest blunder the ANC would have made in its history because it is going to lead to massive electoral support decline of the ANC. Majority of the people will lose confidence on the capacity of the ANC to create conditions for betterment of their lives and govern society effectively. The ANC should never elect Zuma, despite efforts to co-ordinate tribal support in KwaZulu Natal.

Between January and August 2012, the membership of the ANC in KwaZulu Natal grew by more than 100 000, actually more than 36% growth, meaning that KZN delegates will have mandates from unseasoned members on what should be the direction of the ANC. The membership growth had nothing to do with organisational development and growth, but the tribal need to defend a fellow Zulu speaking individual who has failed to provide leadership to the ANC.

What this means is that a tribal regiment has been mobilized as voting fodder to defend and protect President Zuma. Under real circumstances, there can never be a straight thinking individual without tribal prejudices, and without expectation to be defended from corrupt practices, and without legitimate expectation of being recipient of State and government patronage who will support the re-election of President Zuma as President of the ANC, and subsequently as President of South Africa until 2019.

If in their wisdom, ANC members believe and think that the re-election of President Zuma is the right thing to do, then the ANC would have lost its moral compass and total wrong. It will mean that the people of South Africa will be justified to lose confidence in the ANC.

Jacob Zuma is a corrupt leader who encourages corruption of self-enrichment. We can all appreciate that the Courts of law have not yet decided on his impending guilty verdict, and it does not need rocket science to know and notice that any competitive and fair court of law will find him guilty of corruption. The biggest corruption however is that Jacob Zuma will cost the South African government more than R1 billion on his three official residences, many wives who are subsidized by the State, and now recently the expansion of his private residence in Nkandla and the roads leading towards there.

A R1 billion can do a lot in the eradication of informal settlements and bettering of living conditions of many fronts. Zuma is a liability to the ANC, to the country and to the image of Africans the world over. He must be stopped sooner than later and held accountable for his corruption, fraud and money laundering.

The wisdom or lack of it on the President’s side led to first, militarization of the Police, second, destabilization of its leadership through unexplainable release of Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, and appointment of an inexperienced and Security cluster novice police commissioner Riya Phiyega.

The mishandling of the mass wage protests in Marikana in August this year, which led to the massacre was as a result of the directionlessness of the police and lack of experienced leadership. The Police Commissioner is on record of justifying the Marikana massacre claiming that the police were defending themselves, whilst they conspicuously resorted to cold-blooded killing of protestors after failing to arrest all of them for withdrawing their labour from the Mines.

The reason why the Mines protests happened in the first place is a reflection of lack of leadership at the highest level of the State and government. As a territory with mineral resources endowments, the leadership of South Africa have a permanent obligation to ensure that the people of South Africa, not Mine bosses, derive maximum benefits through salaries and decent human settlements from the extraction of Mineral resources.

The Zuma led government does and has never even pretended to care about the well-being of the people and Mineworkers, the government has instead arrested thousands of mineworkers, injured and killed some of them and recurrently assured Mine bosses that they are safe and should not panic. President Zuma went to the extent of deploying the military to intimidate mineworkers and those who associate with them from pursuing a national protest action against Mine bosses. South Africa has degenerated into a Security State due to the insecurities of President Jacob Zuma.

Offered an opportunity to provide political and ideological leadership to the ANC, President Zuma dismally failed and instead gave a pathetic characterization of the ANC struggles as second transition, which in all intents and purposes deviates from the core values and mission of the ANC to achieve Freedom Charter objectives.

Members of the ANC had to re-educate President Zuma in the Policy Conference that our struggle cannot be characterized as second transition because the first transition towards attainment of Freedom Charter objectives has not been fulfilled. In the ANC, inability of a sitting President to provide political and ideological leadership is treacherous. There is not even a single new idea or intervention provided by President Zuma that has taken the country forward, and yet he still want re-election for another 5 years.

Re-election of Jacob Zuma will not only cause massive and irreparable divisions in the ANC, it will isolate a significant number of voters in the 2014 general elections, most of whom will stay away for fear of voting for a white dominated party and some who will guarantee the opposition increased majority and representation in the National Assembly and Provincial Legislations.

This is an absolute fact and ANC structures and members should in a uniting fashion avoid repeating the mistakes made in the 52nd National Conference of electing a leader who is only concerned about his personal and private family’s upliftment, whilst not offering any durable, sound and sustainable solutions to South Africa’s crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. We cannot afford to repeat mistakes.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter.