Sharing anecdotes from their latest book, The Fall of the ANC - What Next?, at Rhodes University recently, authors Mr Prince Mashele and Dr Mzukisi Qobo highlighted the collapse of political governance in South Africa and the potential consequences for a society that is feeling increasingly distressed and helpless.
The authors said “for the first time in democratic South Africa we are witnessing a politics of emancipation, with many African National Congress (ANC) supporters turning against the party as a result of service delivery failures”.
“There was a time after apartheid when it was unthinkable for South Africans to rise up the way they are today because the ANC is not delivering. Who will take advantage of this political space? ,” Mr Mashele asked. “I don’t know.”
As scandals of corruption, evidence of nepotism, rampant maladministration in provinces, incompetence in public offices and a general decline in the quality of leadership attest, the ANC is facing a crisis of leadership.
According to Dr Qobo, the authors have reached the conclusion that “if the party does not make a serious U-turn, it will ruin itself and our country at the same time. This is based on the state of contemporary politics of “corruption, factionalism, and the use of politics as a means of accumulation”, all of which are abundant in the ANC. Jacob Zuma, in our view, represents the worst of the ANC historically. ANC documents say one thing but Zuma does another.”
Describing the ANC as a “corrupt party that’s impoverishing its own people” and “stealing money from the pockets of the poor” Mr Mashele explained that factionalism and corruption are at the root of the collapse.
“It doesn’t matter which part of the country you’re in, factionalism is rampant and damaging. The same goes for corruption – it doesn’t matter where you are in South Africa, you could be in Port Elizabeth or Bushbuckridge, corruption is the new DNA of the ANC,” he said.
In explaining why they wrote the book, Mr Mashele said “they were not motivated by love or hate for the ANC, but rather to undertake a thorough analysis of the governing party from the point of view of an impartial bystander”.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are or are not a member of the ANC. If you’re an honest observer of our public affairs you will come to the conclusion that something is not right in our body politic. This has got to do with the observation that there is something fundamentally wrong in South Africa today and in our public space. The ANC is at the centre of this and we wanted to make a contribution to our public discourse and point out the things we believe are wrong,”said Mr Mashele.
He also explained that one of the objectives of the book is to confront the myth that the ANC is untouchable. “We wanted to address the belief that if you honestly analyse this organisation, something will happen to you. If you begin to think that something will happen to you, you must know you’re not living in a democracy, you are living in something else.”
In explaining the choice of the title Mr Mashele noted they often get asked how they can proclaim that the ruling party has fallen. “We analysed the history of the ANC and saw that before it had a practical life it first existed as an ideal. Over the years it has acted as a selfless organisation; leaders and its members weren’t in it for themselves, they stood great risk by being part of it. We don’t think there is greater sacrifice a human being could make. That organisation compared to the one of today looks very different. This one of today surely must represent a fall or decline in ideals.”
Mr Mashele and Dr Qobo were at Rhodes as part of a whistle-stop tour of the Eastern Cape to promote their book. They were hosted by the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU).
By Sarah-Jane BradfieldSource: Communication and Marketing
Please help us to raise funds so that we can give all our students a chance to access online teaching and learning. Covid-19 has disrupted our students' education. Don't let the digital divide put their future at risk. Visit www.ru.ac.za/rucoronavirusgateway to donate