SOUTH Africa should be ready to take a leaf from post-Brexit UK and France; call for a snap election – because the situation is ripe for it – and open up space for someone new to come and lead the country out of the current rot.
And by someone new I do not mean another ANC leader; the Zuma cancer has already metastasised too far all over the ANC body for us to find someone we can trust to be sufficiently cancer-free to lead South Africa. Do not be fooled by the beauty of the public pronouncements that are now dominating the headlines. Judge the speakers by what and who they defend each time they’re faced with a choice between country and party/personal interests.
They’re all consistent in that; joined to the hip. That is about the only clear message that all ANC leaders have been sending out, and it’s a very strong one. Party and personal interests come before the well-being of our Republic.
Everything else is just diversionary poetry and dance, appealing to lingering emotions born of a painful yesterday and aimed at fooling those who still allow themselves to be fooled. Our dream has long been deferred, and the culprits do not necessarily sit on the side where many latter-day sloganeers want us to look for them.
All the noises, pleading, cajoling, threats, harsh criticism, peaceful protests, emotional blackmail, gentle reminders by elders and veterans, as well as busloads of other attempts over the past few years by a growing plethora of civil society formations and people inside and outside the governing ANC have fallen on deaf, stubborn, and arrogant ears.
The well-respected former public protector and several courts, including the highest in the land – one that defines the constitutional democracy we chose to become at the dawn of the new era – have tried and failed. The ANC middle finger remains stubbornly shoved into our collective face.
It is one thing to repeat the refrain that the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly; it’s something else when the speed at which they turn has been artificially blocked by a totally discredited president, aided and abetted by a political party that pretends to have no power to act when we all know it does.
What it does lack is the will to act in the interest of the country. What it also lacks is the kind of leadership that has not forgotten where this country came from and how we came to be here. The key reason why these “leaders” – for lack of a better word – consistently fail to place country ahead of party and individual interests is that one question, and one question only, lurks in their heads each time they have to act: “What’s in it for me?”
The rest of us should wake up, stop sympathising with the nonsensical view that consists of being worried about the possibility of MPs losing their jobs and livelihoods if they were to vote to impeach their president – a clear brand South Africa misfit.
It is time for them to vote, anonymity or no anonymity, in a way that will enable our country to start over. There are already millions of South Africans without jobs and many more will lose their livelihood as a result of recent credit downgrades in the coming months. The fat, well-fed MPs and ministers have had enough time to feather their private nests while in office. Their material well-being is not more important than that of the millions of South Africans who are still waiting to see the benefits of freedom.
The temperature of the water in which we all swim is slowly dropping as the downgrade trickle-down takes effect. I fear it will be too late by the time those who are still busy pushing nonsensical diversionary slogans even they cannot define, wake up to reality.
Lashing out blindly at imagined enemies and conspiracies
The mad political adrenaline that keeps them lashing out blindly at imagined enemies and conspiracies would have waned by the time they finally wake up, and the pain of high costs directly associated with the actions of the leaders they revere and defend will have penetrated down to their fragile bones.
It is time we arrested the morbid belief that the solutions we seek can come only from the ANC. The ANC has had 23 long years in power. Going by the conduct we see around us, it is too long for the health of any democracy. There have been some successes no doubt, but the fast-growing number of failures will soon overshadow whatever successes anyone might still remember if the situation is allowed to go on.
The democracy we signed up for is now down on its knees, pleading with those who can still hear it, i.e. those who have woken up to the Ponzi scheme the once-glorious ANC has become.
Despite everything that has been said, Zuma remains president of the ANC and, sadly, of our country. His favourite protégée, Dudu Myeni, still calls the shots at SAA; Matshela Koko continues to use Eskom as a private enterprise to support Zupta-linked businesses and those of close relatives, yet he remains untouchable.
The carefully selected, seemingly politically-aligned people who sit on the board of Eskom either do not care or are so much in it that they dare not raise a finger. Their inaction can only mean that their personal interests are better protected under the status quo.
If the situation continues as is, we’re going to end up allowing all bars to be lowered so low that the most unthinkable acts will be regarded as normal.
South Africa deserves much better.
As things stand, the ANC cannot cleanse itself fully of the cancer consuming it while it is still in power. It is in the interests of the ANC and those of South Africa for this once-glorious liberation movement to walk the political wilderness for a period while it finds its soul again.