Ok, please do not ask me where I got that from because I wouldn’t know how to answer you. But the reason is simple, there is ample evidence of men, women and children being kicked while lying on the ground bleeding in Africa, literally and figuratively. But it just seems to give an air of untouchable authority to use the expression; it’s even a tad ubuntuesque, if you ask.
Besides, we live in a country and on a continent where people who often preface claims they make with appeals to unrecorded cultural wisdom passed down generations are almost always guaranteed to get away unchallenged. Another example of such claims goes like this, “being gay/lesbian is unAfrican”. When people make such silly claims we often become too afraid to challenge them. Whites who dare are seen as racist and disrespectful of African culture and Blacks who do so get called all sort of names; coconut, clever Blacks, sell-outs, etc. But I digress. This is meant to be a discussion about whether or not we should be tiptoeing around the ANC, careful not to hurt its self-esteem further, after what it has just gone through.
I was driving from the airport in the early hours of the morning, a few days ago, when I caught the tail end of a recording of Paul Mashatile, Gauteng ANC Chairperson, saying something to the effect that the ANC would need to go back to South Africans – I’m not sure if it’s the broader electorate or just members of the ANC – to ask them to tell the party what it did wrong to deserve the electoral kick in the butt that was administered to it last week.
At that stage, my car almost skidded off the N2, but I managed to tame my shock in time to avoid an accident. Let’s repeat this; Paul Mashatile – he who from time to time manages to raise his head above the sea of political sycophancy, only to be slapped back into line – was promising to or pondering the idea of going back to ask South Africans to tell the ANC where it went wrong. Now, go figure!
Frankly, there is everything wrong with that promise/intention, unless, of course, there is a politically connected research firm out there that stands to benefit from a totally unnecessary project that would no doubt cost a lot of money telling the ANC what it should already know. It is all out there for everyone to see. In fact, it has been out there for almost ten years now, pretty much before Shabir Shaik’s punch-ups with bystanders during golf matches became of interest to the media. I know it seems like many years ago; even my twelve-year-old daughter wouldn’t believe it all started in her life time.
I will not bore you here with the details of what went wrong and how the once glittering ANC brand reputation came to find itself on the back foot, at least in the eyes of many here and abroad.
Understandably, the level of shock is still quite elevated, so is that of denialism. But ANC leaders are no fools, at least not in that way! They know where the elephant in the room stands; they can feel the chill coming from the big, imposing shadow in their mist; but none of them will dare to be the first one to look it in the eye, nor to blink. Everyone seems to be stretching their nerves trying to guess where the allegiance of the person standing next to them lies. But they need to come out of the political stupor and start doing the right thing.
No room for same old
Gone is the era of issuing clumsy apologies while the party continues to do the same thing; hoping that the people will soon forget. A new era has begun, South African voters will no longer be swayed by emotional anecdotes of the past and the mzabalazo (struggle) songs that accompany them.
The EFF is right to demand that they cannot go to bed with the ANC while it’s still being led by a hugely compromised and compromising president. Even that is a huge compromise on their part because a lot more changes are required than a mere departure of Msholozi. The cancer has already spread throughout the ruling party and some state owned entities under its control.
Dudu Myeni and the people around her must be booted out SAA if our flag carrier is to start seeing a real turn-around; and so must Hlaudi Motsoeneng from the SABC. The NPA and the Hawks must be reminded what they’re there for. People of unassailable integrity must be appointed to lead these institutions; uncompromised leaders who will know how to resist any attempt by any politician to use the institutions they lead as tools for narrow factional ends.
The ANC must make an unconditional public declaration that goes beyond mere lip service to respect our Constitution and other democratic institutions. This also means that they must be prepared to take corrective action against anyone in the party – irrespective of their position – who dares to act as if the ANC is more important than our country. It is not. Political parties will come and go; South Africa is here to stay. That is what we should all join hands for to defend.
Until then, for its own sake, the ANC should experience some political Wilderness and sit out its punishment in the naughty corner of opposition benches in key Metros.
To the EFF and the DA; our eyes are on you!