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August22

The ANC and the art of ignoring the reflection in the mirror

A THREE-MAN PLAY AND A SHADOW

( President Jacob Zuma and Democratic Republic of Congo Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanda N'Tungamulongo). President Jacob Zuma departing at N'Djili International Airport in Kinshasa. Democratic Republic of Congo. 16/10/2015. Siyabulela Duda

( President Jacob Zuma and Democratic Republic of Congo Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanda N’Tungamulongo). President Jacob Zuma departing at N’Djili International Airport in Kinshasa. Democratic Republic of Congo. 16/10/2015. Siyabulela Duda

The characters: The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC); SA voters (including ANC supporters); the Observers (and a Shadow).

NEC: Okay, we get it now; we’ve heard you loud and clear. We’ve taken four days off our busy schedule to assess our party’s performance in recent elections and have come up with an action plan to win back your support.

SA voters: (looking on with bored faces, some rolling their eyes, expecting nothing new) Go on, we’re listening… (a lonely voice responded from the crowd).

NEC: Okay, we analysed our overall performance and appreciated the wining of wards in many municipalities. We were nevertheless disappointed at the loss of a number of key municipalities and failing to retain our majority in the metropolitan municipalities of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni and other municipalities… blah blah blah…

SA voters: We know all that; it’s all in the papers. In fact, the signs have been in the papers long before the elections. We tried to warn you directly, through letters to newspaper editors, Twitter, Facebook, radio talk shows, service delivery protests… but what world do you guys live in? Do you pay any advisers? Do you follow current affairs? Or is the partying on the gravy train too loud for you to hear our cries?

The observers: Hmmm… let’s see where this is going…

NEC: Okay, please let’s have some order and proceed, comrades… erm, ladies and gentlemen; we’ve agreed to take collective responsibility for the poor performance of the ANC during the elections and resolved to take immediate and bold actions

Observers and SA voters: (as if on cue) Joh!

NEC: … Where were we… yes, we will take immediate and bold actions to address weaknesses and shortcomings that led to the decline of our electoral support.… while noting the efforts to rid our society, government and the private sector of corruption and its associated consequences, the NEC calls for an approach that will effectively deal with this cancer, without fear or favour…

SA voters: Oh really, what does that mean? Will you finally be tackling the Zupta effect and resume the probe by the secretary general into allegations of state capture…

At that point a huge shadow entered the room, accompanied by a cold chill that made the bespectacled NEC spokesperson stumble on his words, missing the last point he was reading on the thick wad of papers before him. He tried to compose himself and continue reading where he had left off, but he couldn’t ignore the uncomfortable silence in the room as the shadow took its place in one of the seats at the main table. All eyes in the audience were shifting between him and the big shadow… he tried again to compose himself… his breathing seemed uneven. He kept on…

NEC: … Like I was saying, we plan to accelerate interaction between government, the private sector…

The observers: Ahem, Sir, you were still on corruption…

NEC: (Pauses, and glances uncomfortably in the direction of the shadow) Ah, yes, the NEC resolved to mandate government to take urgent steps to bring stability and policy certainty in state-owned companies such as SAA, the SABC and Eskom. Relevant government deployees are expected to report on these matters at the next NEC meeting… we call on all sectors of society to continue participating in the national project to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

SA voters: But Sir, your own leaders have been at the forefront of undoing everything we have signed up for at the dawn of our democracy; personal and sexist insults against our public protector, arrogance, disregard for her rulings, disrespect for other democratic institutions, brazen racial polarisation of our people; your president went around telling South Africans that the main opposition party would bring back apartheid if it were to be voted into power. The big shadow…

NEC: (Pulling up his winter coat, shifting uncomfortably in his chair) There is no shadow here; there is no cold… we take collective responsibility. No opposition party will force us to get rid of anyone. We’d rather sit it out in opposition benches than get rid of people simply because the opposition says so. We will make sure government delivers on its promises to invest in youth employment and addresses the issue of free tertiary education. So, for now, the principle of no-fee increase in universities remains in place to give all a chance to a consultative engagement…

SA voters: Even if the opposition wants you to get rid of people who got you to where you are today? Surely, that would be in line with your immediate and bold action?

The shadow: Coughs…

Another silence…

NEC: Can we have some order and move on please?

The observers: Wow, these guys are still not getting it. It’s amazing how they can still come out, look us in the face and issue a statement that seems to say everything but in fact says nothing. It seems like to they’re going to be dishing out a lot more of the same in the coming months….

The next three years will be an exciting period in political brand positioning in South Africa. Blink at your own peril…

  • Posted by donvalley
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