-AN ELITIST ANC LEADERSHIP FINDS A PRO-POOR AGENDA A GRAVE DISCOMFORT-
By Clyde Ramalaine and Carl Niehaus
Will the ANC 2019 January 8th Statement and election manifesto bring clarity, or simply confirm this dialectical tension?
The advent of the Jacob G. Zuma ANC leadership at Polokwane marked the unsuspecting break with the conventional ANC identity of formally “educated” leadership. It also in a sense became the second time the ANC was forced to lead and identify more unequivocally with a pro-Poor agenda. We say this not here in a narrow sense of representing the poor, we say it at the essential level sense because the poor would increasingly begin to dictate the agenda of the ANC, with the threat of disturbing the equilibrium of elitist DNA.
We have since Polokwane heard countless ANC leaders, in public and private spaces, lament their claims of a different ANC. Some poignantly said they want ‘their’ ANC back in what can be understood as. the more elitist, and less pro-poor driven ANC, that was temporarily lost. Those who desired its ‘return’ articulated their discomfort of not being able to fit in or be led by a pro-poor agenda. (A very difficult, if not impossible thing to do, if you have managed, with the privileged preferential treatment bestowed on a few selected elite black business people – under the watchful eye of the White Monopoly Capital captains of industry – to become multi-millionaires and billionaires. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that it is indeed a contradiction in terminus to purport to be a leader of the poor masses from that position of created privileged advantage!). They chose to frame it in claims of their discomfort with corruption which they labelled a Zuma leadership with. What they as gross beneficiaries of a negotiated settlement at personal level really found uncomfortable was the ANC increasingly evidencing a pro-poor stance which if left unattended poses challenges for the perpetual existence of the elites.
This era would see the emergence of the Jacob Zuma leadership, who by-default represented a break from the elitism up to then entrenched in the ANC, where formal education understood in claims of intellectualism stood central as a pre-requisite, and often the dominant deciding factor, for a claim to elected leadership.
Zuma, while unconventional for his humble origins and sparse formal education, is an ANC member for close on three score and close confidante of OR Tambo; thus, he did not mark a total break with the elitist character of the ANC. In his first term, he was less aggressive to advocate for radical policy shifts that would benefit the poor. In fact, Zuma did very little to augment what his predecessor stood for in engaging the predominantly apartheid and colonial beneficiaries. It is only in his second term that he adopted a much more public, and no holds bar approach, to what is called a pro-black-poor (and especially pro-African poor) rhetoric.
We may all argue if his second term awakening to lead the ANC as non-elitist was premised on sincere conviction, or a basic political move no different to what Robert Mugabe, also an elitist, across the Limpopo River, did for the better part of his almost forty-year reign of Zanu-PF, and Zimbabwe. We will remember Mugabe only became radical on land reform the last ten years of his term in office, and the jury remains out as to the authenticity of his choices, whether it was out of conviction or for the sake of personal political survival.
Perhaps Zuma’s calculated reading of the mood of the masses, who increasingly felt betrayed by the negotiated settlement between the binaries of white and black elites, that resulted in deformed freedom immanent in political but not economic freedom, thrust him as the face of the people’s campaign for economic freedom. He, with his antithetical identity as not your typical elitist ANC president, already frowned upon by those who believe in ‘education’ as the evidence of intellect led ANC, would now openly begin to campaign on white and black binaries of economic imbalance, and call out the White Monopoly Capitalists (WMC), for their continued control of the South African economy, and continuing exploitation of the black poor, and economically disempowered, masses.
This while the ANC elites were handsomely rewarded from the start to share in the unjust economy, and became the buffer-zone for white privilege. As a consequence, it turned out to be that when the masses challenged the white apartheid-engineered and maintained shaped ongoing control of the economy, they ended up being confronted and opposed by a political leadership it elected who increasingly acted as the insurance policy in protection of white privilege. This consciousness of this elitist and privileged leadership was shaped by their new found material and moneyed comfort, rather than any liberation driven revolutionary consciousness. Proof that Karl Marx was correct when he stated that one’s class consciousness is ultimately determined by the property you own, and your material well-being, or lack thereof.
By the way, this was not an accidental situation, but a meticulously orchestrated and well-executed plan of the apartheid regime negotiators. We warrant extending them credit for having outfoxed their counterparts at the unequal table of a negotiated settlement.
Zuma for his adopted stance on WMC, therefore, could not go to the same white elites whom Mandela, Mbeki and all others were comfortable with, to support his agenda for economic freedom. He thus became the enemy of white privilege to the extent that they actually marched against him, less for what they confused the masses in claims of corruption or an emptiness of morality, but more so because he was leading the ANC into another direction that militated against the negotiated beneficial settlement of, and for, the elites which threatened a revolution in which the biggest casualties would be the very elites on both sides of the proverbial railway line.
Both white as well as black elitist groups feared the personal impact it would have on their economic well-being and opted to resist to such an extent that high-heeled pseudo-NGO’s, like SAVE–SA, emerged as created and heavily sponsored specifically for the purpose to get rid of Zuma. The struggling to be relevant South African Council of Churches (SACC) was enlisted to re-echo this message until Anglican Bishop Makgoba could abuse the most significant day of Christian Faith celebration to prognosticate his personal political preferences of Zuma removal in an instruction to the Ramaphosa leadership. This SAVE-SA agenda would also be joined by various ‘foundations’, that represent white privilege interest as fulcrum realities. Not missing out on this was the SACP and COSATU.
Jacob Zuma thus in a sense accidentally became the face of RET and the by-default face of RET the same some till this moment regard him. It also appears Zuma in his post-presidential life continues to seek to define this as his real legacy and reading the trajectory of the current ANC leadership knows that there is a still a vacuum. From the bedrock of that awareness he has decided to stay in touch and active in the daily politics and discourse with his more recent entrance of the Twitter social media platforms.
For the record, our support of Jacob Zuma was predicated on the axis of four cornerstones. Firstly we were and remain convinced he was disrespected by the elitist essentially for his lack of formal education, the same who until Zuma‘s emergence had never treated any ANC president with such disdain for his lack of education. Secondly, it remains our conviction that Zuma was served a grave injustice with an NPA bungling and political meddling in apparent charges against him. Thirdly his calculated reading of the masses in demand of a RET and land redress and a willingness to associate with it. Lastly throughout our commitment to a liberation struggle which we also in democracy voted for we have always believed the ANC as the vehicle for true change, not an uncommon hope if the measurement of disillusionment of many with the ANC is used as a barometer.
We inadvertently were labelled Zuma people, in defence of corruption looting and therefore needed to be avoided at all costs. Where necessary our economic livelihood needs to be crippled to teach us lessons for associating with Zuma. To prove that we supported Zuma without any intent of personal benefit, we can categorically state that we never benefitted from even him something we both told him in jest when we had independent meetings with him. Some in ignorance consider us fools because we did not benefit from Zuma, yet they fail to appreciate we were never surrendered to Zuma the person but identified with his association of the pro-poor people’s agenda for RET and Land redress, in that sense he is the ANC president that ventured the closest to a pro-poor agenda hence his popularity with the masses to this day. In a sense, he was SA‘s first domestic president and will continue to be remembered as the father of RET, Land redress and free tertiary education. A year after his forced resignation he remains popular because the masses do not appear to trust his successor to drive the same agenda.
Clyde N.S. Ramalaine He is a writer and political commentator whose work has appeared in most major SA newspapers. including The Thinker Pan African Journal among others. He is the Founder-Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation – The Thinking Masses of SA. Ramalaine in 2017 consciously supported the NDZ campaign with his incisive public commentaries and writings
Carl Niehaus was actively involved in the NDZ17 Campaign. Niehaus is an ANC veteran with40 years of uninterrupted ANC membership, and a former member of the NEC of the ANC, ANC MP, He also served as the SA Ambassador to The Netherlands. He is currently a member of the NEC of MKMVA, and the National Spokesperson of MKMVA. Carl contributed to this article in his personal capacity.
Will the ANC 2019 January 8th Statement and election manifesto bring clarity, or simply confirm this dialectical tension?
By Clyde Ramalaine and Carl Niehaus
On the eve of the ANC’s annual January Statement in a year of the national ballot, to be delivered on January 12th, it becomes imperative to look at and clear up some shibboleths, anomalies and misconceptions that keep our public discourse hostage. To this extent we have decided to write a series of articles to assist discussions on what is emerging as an ANC leadership of a people’s campaign for radical economic transformation and land redress that presents waves of discomfort within the identity of the ANC as historically an elitist organization if its ontology is considered the yardstick.
The parts that make up the musing are respectively: Part 1: The ANC attests a history of elitism, Part 2: Jacob Zuma the ‘uneducated’ identifies with the people’s campaign and becomes the by-default face of RET, Part 3:Why we supported an elitist Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign. Part 4:. Urban Foundation groomed Ramaphosa the test of a People’s Campaign mandate versus an ANC elitist agenda
Part 1: The ANC attests a history of elitism
It is exactly a year since the 54th National Conference where the leadership that emerged was mandated to carry out a set of pro-Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Resolutions. that for many outside the ANC, and even some in the ANC, was never palatable for the far-reaching and fundamental revolutionary change that it envisaged. In order to appreciate this notion of discomfort from within the ANC on its own adopted Resolutions, we warrant first to appreciate who the ANC is from inception. A cursory look at its history will prove that the ANC from the start was an organisation led by elites. It was not a mass mobilisation movement, led by the groundswell support of the poor, landless and the uneducated. It was not a worker’s formation either.
Few historians will dispute that the ANC in its genesis evidences a leadership that unequivocally assimilated as African elites, who no longer wanted to be sidelined and subjugated by white colonial masters, but who were not averse to making deals with the colonial powers in order to achieve their objectives. Thus, some of the most important activities of the early leadership of the ANC was to dispatch delegations to petition the British monarch and parliament for fairer treatment and recognition.
Its later association, with the Worker’s Cause at several historical intersections, left it dishevelled, out of kilt and struggling to maintain its elitist identity. This was evident in the elitist ANC leadership’s initial discomfort with communism. It can be argued that the eventual rapprochement between the traditional elitist, and initially pro-capitalist ANC leadership, was based on the fact that the Soviet Union and other East-Bloc communist countries were more prepared to recognize the ANC leadership and treat them on an equal footing than the elitist and racist insults, and disdainful disregard, that they had to endure from the British, and other European colonial powers.
The material support that the communists were also prepared to provide the ANC, which was cash-strapped and had hardly any resources, also played a huge role in forging a closer relationship.
Arguably this material support channelled through the South African Communist Party was initially the main foundation for the growing relationship, rather than ideological affinity. Initially the elitist, and traditional leadership of the ANC felt a far closer cultural and ideological affinity with the Western European colonial powers, which in no small measure also influenced western orientated colonial missionary education. But the arrogant disdain with which they were none-the-less treated the Western Europeans, and the need for material resources to keep the ANC afloat, drove them to the communists East-Bloc.
It was more a case of being driven into the arms of the communists by the arrogance and racism of the Western European colonial powers than feeling a natural affinity with the more equalitarian worldview of communism, and of a working class led society.
The modern identity of the ANC attests ambivalent because it is a movement that purports to represent the masses, but for almost all of its history it was and continues to be, led by a black traditional, intellectual and business leadership elite. That identity was upheld for the better part of its 107 years. Even in the darkest days of apartheid, also during the years of banishment and exile, the ANC represented that paradigm.
Interestingly enough this was not changed by the pro-African radicalism of the ANC Youth League when it was formed under the leadership of the Anton Lembede, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu among others. In fact, these pro-Africanist young radical leaders were initially even more anti-communist than their older counterparts in the Mother body and NEC of the ANC. They launched harsh verbal, and even physical, attacks on the communists. Nelson Mandela acknowledged that he once attacked Dr. Yusuf Dadoo of the SACP with a chair in an attempt to literally to beat him off the stage, during a communist party meeting in the Krugersdorp City Hall.
Evidently, although more radical in the acknowledgement of their Pan-African identity the young lions of the ANC Youth League were no less elitist in their overall political approach. They also saw themselves as an elitist vanguard, empowered by their mainly western missionary education, with the right to lead.
It was only when Umkhonto we Sizwe was finally formed on the 16th of December 1961, and it was only through the South African Communist Party and their links with the Soviet Union, and other East-Bloc communist countries that guns and other weapons and military training could become available, that Mandela’s attitude to the South African communists and communism in general softened.
However, it can be argued that it was more a utilitarian association of need rather than a deep ideological commitment. This was confirmed by OR Tambo who often narrated that the ANC’s association with communism and the especially the Soviet Union was necessitated by the fact that the West was not prepared to support the anti-apartheid struggle of the ANC in general, and specifically not the armed struggle. The only source of support for years came from the USSR, and other East-Bloc communist countries, later further supplemented by support from Cuba.
For the first time in its history, in the 1980’s the ANC became forced to associate itself with the internal groundswell of the masses that were mobilised not as ANC per se. This was personified by the student revolt of 1976 and beyond, and the emergence of a strong civics-based country-wide resistance movement against apartheid. Initially the ANC did not lead this period, but eventually, it agreed to lead because it was assisted by the internal activities of people that were not formal ANC members, but who often identified with thosemore progressive pro-people liberation pronouncements of the ANC, such as contained in the Freedom Charter.
Many of the leadership collective elite in the ANC was, however, never comfortable with leaders like Winnie Mandela, Harry Gwala, Allan Boesak and even Chris Hani, whom they considered populists.
Let us not forget for an elongated period populism, inside the ANC had a negative connotation, and was considered the antithesis of intellectualism and pragmatism. While in exile ANC leadership battled to fully identify with internal leaders who were very popular, and plausibly a threat in their own rights for the prevailing leadership of the ANC.
In order to appreciate the elitist character of the ANC’s leadership throughout time, we must look back and ask where were ANC leaders were trained for their primary and basic education? It is on record that an early group of ANC leadership were educated at white mission schools like Lovedale, Adams College and Institutions like Fort Hare etc. Meaning the prism of their education was that of the coloniser and the missionary–colonizer. Thus, the education of the ANC’s leadership in its prism and epistemology was essentially borrowed from that umwelt, and it can never escape that reality for its undeniable influence on the panoply of their thought and struggle convictions. We may, therefore, accept that the elitism of the ANC is a borrowed one from the colonisers who intrinsically shaped the ANC leadership since 1912, up to at least 2007.
The ANC appears suspended between the mandate to lead a people’s campaign and its fundamental identity of elitist which wrestles for its future existence.
“Ah, ah, yeah (Lies, lies) ooh, baby (lies) Well, well. We took a vow to be ever true. I lived up to mine, tell me, did you? Someone saw you with your old lover. Hand in hand, I don’t understand. You said it ended so long ago. You had me believing while you were deceiving me with lies (lies). Wish I could have seen it in your eyes. (Lies) but I never did (no, I never did). Words made famous from the guitar-laced tune of South Africa’s famous jazz export Jonathan Butler.
A week is a long time in politics, we know it because on November 6, South Africa’s caretaker president Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa pressed by the DA to clarify his knowledge of a payment of R500000.00 paid to his businessman-son Andile Ramaphosa’s trust account by Bosasa, the questionable facilities management company stood proudly and told South Africa that he as ‘moral’ leader would take his son personally to jail if there is any corruption with the payment.
This statement was precipitated by the DA leader Mmusi Maimane informing the House that he has in possession an affidavit signed by the former Bosasa accountant of a payment of R500000.00 paid from the company to the Ramaphosa’s son (Andile). Bosasa, which now trades under the name, African Global Operations, is a company that receives billions of rand in contracts from the South African government.
Caretaker president Ramaphosa in reply to this question told the House that he had confronted his son on the payment and that Andile explained that the money was for advisory services provided to Bosasa. Ramaphosa senior went on to explain his son’s business interest with the following words, “He advises both local and international companies and this payment, I can show you Mr Maimane that I asked him at close range whether this was money that was obtained illegally, unlawfully and he said this was a service that was provided. To this end, he even showed me a contract he signed with Bosasa and the contract also deals with issues of integrity, issues of anti-corruption and all that.”
Ever the one seeking to be seen to act against corruption, a scripted trademark of his infamous CR17 campaign was framed around, Ramaphosa was eager to let us know that if there was any corruption in the arrangement, he would act.
Showing that he wears the big drolls, Ramaphosa talked tough with the following words: “If it turns out that there’s any illegality and corruption in the way that he has dealt with this matter, I will be the first, absolutely the first to make sure he becomes accountable even if it means that I’m the one that will take him to the police station,” [sic]
On Friday 16 November, Ramaphosa in a written reply to the Speaker of Parliament shared that he “inadvertently provided incorrect information”. Clearly, this constitutes an undeniable backtracking on his earlier response delivered in parliament. Ramaphosa now would tell South Africa the received amount that was paid by Bosasa into his son’s account was really a donation for his CR17 Campaign to ANC high office.
What then to make of this 360 degrees turnabout of SA’s caretaker president on a subject of politics and money complex where beneficiary companies who earn billions from their relationships with political power exert power for their donations.
There are those who argue we must extend Ramaphosa honour for him rectifying himself through his latest version. These argue it shows his consistency of trying to be clean. Firstly, while this may be or not, the issue of Ramaphosa’s response in the first instance was not organically coming from as initiated, he was coerced in asked questions from the DA. Meaning the DA must get the credit for firstly, bringing the subject matter of this questionable payment to the House’s attention. Secondly, the DA’s threat and subsequent action to attain a right to access the details of the claimed contract Ramaphosa proudly shared, forced the second response. We may therefore not rush to extend praise to the Ramaphosa, it can be argued that he was forced to make both statements and can, therefore, never get any respect for taking the House in confidence on the subject matter.
Secondly, his latest turnabout on the saga, by itself does not take him out of any troubled waters. We now have two versions of one incident, two versions provided from the same mouth and we have to make sense of this in a space of media crafted “angels and demons’, where the toxic relations of capital’s influence on the political canvas is laid bare daily in VBS scandals, Municipalities looted by business, State Capture Commission, and politicians fingered for corruption. Can we simply take the president’s word in both instances, why should we not place the burden of truth on the president? May I also remind us in this very toxic space, Ramaphosa is paraded as an angel, the opposite of his predecessor.
Thirdly, Ramaphosa’s first statement thus can be reduced to the typical fancy footwork of politics in which he thought his charm would save him and stop the DA from seeking the details of a claimed contract. His so-called ‘tough talk’ was nothing but politics as guided by his ever-present public relations machinery.
In the fourth instance, beyond the first and second statements of Ramaphosa which presents diametrically opposite content lays the critical question: How much of the donation did Ramaphosa know upfront before his first oral response to Parliament? It becomes crucial to engage if Ramaphosa knew or not because his second statement affirms that Andile received this money as a donation not for Andile’s campaign but for the CR17 campaign. Meaning, Andile and his trust account were used as a conduit to receive R500,000.00 under the guise of a service-provider contractual relationship as advanced in his first response.
In the fifth instance, we must need again attempt to understand, the intention to have received the money for work performed in a trust account which holds its own ramifications that the relevant authorities may want to engage in an unfolding saga. What is now essential is to establish did Ramaphosa know before he made his first statement. His claim from his first response suggests he did not know. He equally in his second statement claims the money was deposited or received without his knowledge. Who exactly directed and or advised that the donation is made into the trust account?
It, therefore, becomes a matter of what is the common denominator of both statements, as you guessed in both first and second statement Ramaphosa denies knowledge. That for us can become the smoking gun. Because it attests motive for both statements without realisation. It can be surmised knowledge of the donation compromises Ramaphosa in every aspect.
With the benefit of his second statement which places him as the direct benefactor, we know it becomes an attempt to move Andile out of the picture and Ramaphosa daddying-up to say I can handle this. If we now take cognisance of his second response which delineates a CR17 campaign and not a contract, can we still assume that Ramaphosa did not know? It becomes increasingly challenging to extend the benefit of the doubt to Ramaphosa as absent in knowledge of the donation.
In the sixth instance, thus, on the other hand, merely acknowledging the money was for the CR17 campaign as the new truth, opens up a slew of questions among others, were these donations solicited? Who was directly responsible to have fiduciary control and powers as to where and how such received money was to be spent? How many other State-purse beneficiary companies made similar donations, and are the other accounts beyond Andile’s trust account that were also used for the CR17? Can we trace how the money left Andile’s trust account and who became the second level beneficiary?
Have we forgotten, how Bidvest a company Ramaphosa has known close ties with, reserved hotel rooms for ANC delegates attending 54thConference and was rumoured to buy the votes of delegates. Bosasa’s ‘donations’ and Bidvest’s generous gifts and that of others can be construed as nothing but to buy the favour of the incumbent. It goes without saying that at some stage Ramaphosa will have to repay them in kind and that in SA will come from the state coffers however wrapped. We know businesses do not give out money without an explicit intent of benefitting ultimately or later. What is the deal Ramaphosa has with his donors, that he would use his son’s Trust Account under the guise of service provider contract relations?
Let us equally dispense with the sophism of the donation was for the ANC Campaign. The ANC was not campaigning in 2017, it will campaign for 2019 national elections. It is deceiving to make the claim that it was an ANC campaign who benefitted. This was the CR17 Campaign who was in the race to become president of the ANC. Hiding behind an ANC flag is not acceptable, it must remain the Cyril Ramaphosa campaign for ANC high office. The ANC cannot be used to hide who was the benefactor of this donation.
We are compelled to ask, what was the motive of the donations on the part of Bosasa and others we still in the future will hear who equally made donations? We do not have to go far, Bosasa is infamously known for having bought politicians favour, we recently learnt of the vocal MP Vincent Smith loans and monies received from Bosasa. We have heard how other politicians like Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane were also linked to Bosasa favours or deals, while these are not yet proven they fill our discourse. We also know that Watson’s controversial company is a gross benefactor of billions from the very state coffers now presided over by Ramaphosa and his team. Among those who also benefitted from the corruption of Bosasa is Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla who received a bribe of R1million, the same has not yet denied but dubiously after a month returned to Bosasa as is claimed.
What then is the meaning for someone who framed his CR 17 campaign on morality narrowly understood in money corruption claims between the state and capital, why would Ramaphosa have been that naïve to assume these donations would not indicate the opposite of what he was seeking to sell South Africa? Or was this common for Ramaphosa throughout his political and business careers to receive donations regardless of how these may compromise and send wrong messages? Was this the businessman cutting the deals in receiving donations to propel him to the ANC high office by extension SA presidency? When were Bosasa plausibly and many others going to call on a return of the favour of their donations? Was Bosasa and others told ‘you have benefitted it’s time to pay back‘? We don’t know there are so many unanswered questions and the more we engage Ramaphosa in his two statements, the more we see a character emerging of someone who has questions to answer.
Lastly, the undeniable subject of familial relations between Ramaphosa and his son arguably the heir to his billions affords grounds to conclude Ramaphosa may have from the start been totally in the loop on the either, requested or offered and subsequently received money. He as the face and head of the CR 17 campaign, may even have directed the Trust as the recipient beneficiary account for this and possibly other donations.
Should we prove that Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of this ‘donation’ for his advancement into ANC high office, can we then argue Ramaphosa consciously lied since he knew upfront? What then are the implications for Ramaphosa if it can be established that he lied to the House and that he was responsible to direct all the funds of his campaign?
The State Capture Commission has seen many lies exposed, Nene Nhlanhla was made to fall on his sword for his lies. Malusi Gigaba after 14 years of being in the cabinet was proven to have lied under oath. Zweli Mkhize was exposed by the ANC Treasurer-General to have lied when he denied the ANC received donations from Vele Investments who owned the now sequestrated VBS bank. Vytjie Mentor’s multiple lies are laid bare in the middle of her testimony, was forced to correct lies in her published book, and subsequently, through her attorneys Webber Wentzel apologising for having lied about meeting Fana Hlongwane. Barbara Hogan and Vytjie Mentor have both lied about the role, designation of among others the ANC DSG, Jessie Duarte who only became DSG in 2012.
Now we have to contend with the ANC President, who is the current caretaker SA president, who may have knowingly deceived and lied to the House when he may have known from the start the truth of the Bosasa donation to his son’s trust account which was for his benefit. Ramaphosa remains suspended in mistrust, the face of ambivalence and not trusted by the poor to lead SA to an economic transformation that will benefit colonial and apartheid victims. With seven months to the elections, can Ramaphosa be trusted to lead the ANC to victory as a morally sound corrupt free individual, when his business deals – donations – which spares not even his own and however wrapped follows him like a wet diaper?
– Disruptions usually occur where order protests a presence –
Jeremy England in his postulated disruption theory as physics asserts, “life is the universe’s way to dissipate energy more efficiently, meaning that what we see as an order is really just nature’s way of spreading disorder more broadly.”
England’s mind in this regard, therefore, leads that, we assume the energy we employ to create order as constructive or “putting things aright,” when actually we are setting the stage for more disorder. In other words, most people look at an ordered system as the natural way things should be. That’s what opens up opportunities for successful disruption.
I thought of this as I continue following the State Capture hearings that started on August 20. The State Capture as a Commission initiative as led by some is to set things in order, at least that is the claim of politicians and those who claim to know. It is also the claim of those who want to find against others where they absolved themselves into the media crafted ‘angels and demons’ frames of our discourse. Yet while, as is claimed things are being put right, the stage of more disorder is set. Who would have thought that the angel Nene around whom a campaign of Zuma removal was led, would fall in the disorder of putting things right?
We have been listening to a number of essential media crafted ‘angels’ sharing their accounts with the explicit intent of proving the existence of state capture as a crime through the funnels of their personal experiences as linked to an ecosystem of a job. Some painstakingly and without realising painted a picture of how their presence in a specific setting was a threat to the claimed looting hence they were fired from such job.
If one closes one’s eyes and listens deeper, one will be forgiven to assume the Commission increasingly purports a glorified labour dispute resolution entity that after the fact is used as a means to hear the aggrieved in a cabinet and senior official descriptions. In a drama filled week where Barbara Hogan shared essentially her 18-month tenure as minister of Public Enterprises, she spared few as she dragged the ANC’s deployment system, scorned enemies Jacob Zuma, Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jeff Radebe and Blade Nzimande among others from the ANC and the state before the commission for their degrees of complicity to the media-created crime of state capture.
We can comfortably surmise the Commission for some constitutes their last moment to settle scores that cannot be settled in any other forum. Hogan, among other things, relates how the late Ahmed Kathrada, her partner accompanied her and was sitting in the car while she was being fired inside by former President Zuma and Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe. The issue of Kathrada’s choice presence to accompany her is used as another means to evidence a heartless Zuma and Mantashe combo. Clearly a side-show of note, we are not sure what she had hoped Kathrada’s presence should have meant.
Until now the media reporting on the State Capture Commission as relayed in particular by eNCA, the unofficial mouthpiece of a faction of SA broadcasting with unfettered space and access who muscled itself into being the official news channel after ANN7 was forced to die, would daily feed us the salacious angles that fits their ideology and agenda. We are fed Ad-nauseam the same opinions and clips of among others anchors and commentators who consciously make more of for example a Hogan account.
Since eNCA has its own scripted agenda of conditioning ignorant minds as to who really proved state capture, we must hear them defy the attempts of objectivity, because objectivity for many in the media space is a dreaded disease to be avoided at all and any costs. Clearly having no interest or appetite the likes of Jeremy Maggs, Vuyo Mvoko, etc lack the capacity to hardly ever critically in balance form reflect on the testimonies of those whom they have already declared heroes.
Until now the proverbial ‘State Capture ship’ was sailing in crafted smooth waters, with Vincent Maleka doing his job and pretty much in control of convincing SA of the media invented crime of State Capture.
Then came Wednesday, just before lunch we saw Mzwanele Manyi take the stand, yet he took the stand not in the witness seat, but in the place customarily reserved for legal counsel. Manyi showed up without any legal representation.
Manyi originally scheduled to appear before the Commission on November 23, took issue with evidence leader Maleka for seeking to deny him the opportunity to engage the matters raised by Phumla Williams who earlier shared her experiences at GCIS. In such testimony, she implicated Mzwanele Manyi as the CEO of GCIS on a number of scores. Let us not forget Pumla Williams’ account was made out to be the gospel and became a key testimony for the media’s claim of State Capture. She was passed off as a very credible, hard working and proficient in knowledge as a repository for state processes on procurement and contract employment conditions.
Advocate Vincent Maleka naturally attempted to throw a block to Manyi’s request to only engage the matters pertaining to Williams’ evidence. He even suggested if Manyi was going to avail himself now, he must be willing to face cross-examination on every issue that Maleka has in front of him that implicates Manyi. Maleka previously also argued to deny Fana Hlongwane among others the right to cross-examine, when he opted for a narrow interpretation of what the Terms of Reference of the Commission in this regard mean.
Manyi protested and said he has not filed a petition to cross-examine hence he will restrict himself to the account as it relates to the Williams submission. Judge Zondo allowed sense to prevail and directed that Manyi, for availing himself be afforded to present what he had deemed the reason for his appearance for Wednesday and be available to be engaged on the scheduled 23rd November date. Manyi was emphatic that he is ready to be engaged on the said date on the litany of other matters that Maleka has prepared to engage him on. The Chair Deputy Chief Justice Zondo prevailed on Maleka to consider either questioning Manyi after his submission or to hold back on all questions for the scheduled date of November 23. With this Manyi prevailed and began to lead share his account on the terms he had advanced.
Right here a disruption in the State Capture narrative as heard before the Commission was now being presented. Manyi became the first person to give an account on matters that he had determined to address devoid of other things that may be levelled against him. His testimony backed by reports including a scathing report from Treasury he had to fight to lay his hands on confirmed a disruption. Manyi presented his account which includes exhibits detailing a different story of his leadership at the helm of GCIS as juxtaposed to the claimed competency of those who have been celebrated by the testimony of Williams.
Manyi shared how he became the CEO of GCIS. He made it clear that it was the late Collins Ohm Chabane, the Minister in the presidency with jurisdiction over planning and monitoring who very briefly informed him that he has a choice one of two jobs either, CEO of GCIS or COO in the presidency. He opted for the first and started working based on his understanding and prism of leadership to transform GCIS from its complicated shaded visionary statement to the still embraced simple but practical statement that has survived since 2012. He shared his analysis and assessment of an entity that lacked in effectiveness and efficiency to execute its mandate. Manyi also highlighted how he uncovered the crime of corruption through a procurement system that seasoned celebrated ones could not.
He took the time to show how Pumla Willams was economical with the truth on straightforward questions directly posed to her by the Chairperson on some issues. Manyi clarified these matters and gave explanations as to why Williams’ testimony is not credible and bereft of facts. Manyi’s account poured cold water on the claims of Williams, he even explained his so-called contact with her when she was testifying seeking to enable her to relay the facts and not the imagery.
Manyi’s evidence proved damning to the media crafted so-called ‘star account’ of Pumla Williams, he came armed with documents and reports as he outlined that Williams was implicated in an R7million scheme at the expense of GCIS. This payment was paid in tranches of R1million to avoid the scrutiny of the treasury. Apparently, the splitting of invoices was until Manyi’s arrival at GCIS a common practice.
Armed with a Treasury Report on its investigations into irregular expenditure he broke down the calculations. The 7million expense raised had to do with the irregular appointment of a service provider. He also raised the subject of R777000.00 paid to the second supplier. Manyi explained that had Treasury not launched its investigation, the financial exposure for GCIS could have accrued to R26M. Manyi was emphatic the person who signed this payment was Ms Pumla Williams.
According to Manyi, Williams was not authorised to sign for such expenditure. Manyi informed the Commission that there were in the real sense three service providers found naked in the National Treasury’s report. Two of these were directly linked to GCIS, while the third one was contracted to Stats SA. He outlined the duty of the Stats SA service provider was to supply goods for the work to be done at GCIS appointed service providers. He argued that this did not happen while the service provider was paid R64million for work not performed. Manyi explained that his decision to divert reporting from Williams to the CEO, was once he became aware of the rot at GCIS.
It can be argued that Manyi’s testimony caused more than a disruption to the much made of Pumla Williams testimony at one level while on the other hand to the Commission itself which was coasting along assuming their witnesses have made the case for the media crafted crime of State Capture. Not only did Manyi tore Pumla Williams’ testimony to shreds, and disrupted the Commission he equally disrupted the biased media led by eNCA anchors. We know that as much as the Commission is claimed to set things right, as its own universe it really is spreading more disorder particularly to those who naturally assumed their testimonies can only be the truth.
State Capture Commission,
season one, are you following?
Where facts become fiction
and fiction is led by fixation,
where published books are re-edited
and multiple versions,
have become concrete evidence.
State Capture Commission,
a comedy of drama,
where one is offered a bribe
you really can’t identify,
by the same person.
All for millions six-hundred on toe…
All of this after
you starred in a movie
dubbed “Guptaleaks”, illegally obtained,
and sold on bootleg,
you were paraded in an expert of linking dots,
the champion of proving of state capture.
Now you not sure,
all you know it was a Gupta…
after all they all look the same…
State Capture Commission
where Zondo laments lack of evidence
when Ramaphosa told us
of the grave ‘extent of capture’ …
and confusion on Brian Hlongwa
and a Fana Hlongwana runs wild,
and plays out naturally in stuck mental confusion.
Season one sees,
a Mr Kaunda regularly confused
for a known female Lakela.
meetings with people
that simply never took place.
All of this between
an acquired taste for curry,
handbags – carried by a president,
wheelchairs and crutches,
galore claims of ministerial jobs,
when the record shows,
you invited yourself and was red-carded for wasteful expenditure,
your Transnet request-sponsorship.
Yet you are the second key witness,
for a crime called state capture.
State Capture Commission,
where evidence leaders,
err in lack of skill,
the focus is misplaced,
some hellbent on reading rules
in punitive means,
and a deputy chief justice forced
to help and educate,
while his own reputation,
in the end, may suffer.
Will we hear of jobs lost?
When you have lost other jobs too,
while linking the dots co-star Parafin
says he has no claims against,
Zuma…state capture’s fixation.
Will these stand cross examination?
Your guess as good as mine…
Evidence is important,
if I must write a report in the end,
I need evidence, not media reports
evidence is important,
Zondo clearly in irritation bemoans.
A mix-masala assortment of fiction,
drown a semblance of facts,
Where more than a flirtation with fixation,
paints the canvas, the land of tourists and smiley faces.
Backed by a puppet master’s guide…
You can’t wonder,
who is the puppet master,
behind all this, rehearsed play?
Just a matter of time before all know, we already linking the dots –
after all Pravin – he signed Pauw’s book,
the drama continues,
the twists ever so real
Exactly, how much more can we handle,
in this soap-opera,
the subscription we pay for?
EFF dethrones the DA in coalitions while it leads a blindfolded ANC along, making a mockery of the will of the people.
South Africa remains a country proving an oyster tray for any interested public intellectuals. There is so much to opine on, from the drama at the State of Capture Commission to Theresa May’s whistle blow-stop, the ANC’s reneging on land reform as per its latest statement, the Constitutional Court pronouncing on culpability in the CPS and Sassa saga that cleared a Bathabile Dlamini, the Cape Flats police brutality in Bonteheuwel and the Nelson Mandela Metro’s dethroning of former mayor Trollip and replacing him with his arch-enemy Mongameli Bobani of the UDM. Claims of a resurgence of xenophobic violence in Soweto. This was followed by the Tshwane non-event and obvious egg on the face of an overconfident Kgosi Maepa of the ANC.
John Adams, the second USA president remarked on coalitions and democracy with the following words, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. Twas never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
The changing nature of our politics as evidence in an appetite for coalitions some claim is a sign of democratic maturity, while others see this era of political coalitions as utter expediency in which the will of the people in ballot definition is prostituted for veiled but glaring self-interest even at a personal level. South Africa is less than a year from its sixth national elections that will give effect to a sixth administration. Since the municipal elections of 2014, South Africa is increasingly proving a country ready for coalitions.
A coalition in political party sense attests a political alliance or an agreed political bloc for cooperation between different politicalparties on common political agenda, often for purposes of contesting an election to mutually benefit by collectively clearing election thresholds.
The SA psychology for coalitions is hardly a natural process but has a central player who above all else until very recently has defined the canvas of coalition politics in a democratic SA. The Democratic Alliance until recently stood unrivalled in its existence and daily life as anchored in the phenomenon of coalitions politics. For an elongated period, the DA singularly initiated and determined the political landscape of opposition party politics.
We saw how it swallowed Patricia De Lille’s ID party, we witnessed how its kiss with Mamphela Ramphele bludgeoned to death an AGANG-SA, it toyed with Lekota’s COPE and had flings with Holomisa’s UDM. It long bedded Meshoe’s ACDP and had flings with Buthelezi’s IFP. Can we forget how it’s chasing after Zwelinzima Vavi’s skirt was made public? This is a party that while it fails to live up to its first name (democratic) it excels in its last name (alliance), it rules by alliances where interest is the common factor.
It, therefore, becomes important to contextualise what happened this week against the backdrop of who the Democratic Alliance is in its governance of SA political nodes. What we are witnessing in this season is the fragility and glaring imploding, that many of us have opined over a longer period of time that showed this week when the last streaks of glue of its alliance with the Economic Freedom Fighters tore and it could no longer rely on the Patriotic Alliance for that one significant vote that stymied the earlier plan of the EFF.
Not only did the DA lose the Nelson Mandela Metro mayoral seat but it also lost its leader status of coalitions, it was dethroned by a less sophisticated somehow uncouth, streetfighter bully small enough to be an annoyance and big enough to make you realise how small you are with your so-called numbers. The DA learns again today the truth of Napoleon Bonaparte’s words when he remarked, “The allies we gain by victory will turn against us upon the bare whisper of defeat”
It was clearly a week of political intrigue and drama. One that delivered jolts of tremors in the body-politick of South Africa’s leading political parties. We finally saw the much threatened and long promised removal of Nelson Mandela Metropole Mayor, the controversial vernacular-sassy Athol Trollip has his mayoral chain violently removed. The first salvo for this now historic event saw the DA speaker of the house Andre Lawack removed. Trollip was removed when a rebellious DA councillor decided it is time to pull the plug on him and the DA. Trollip and the DA were unceremoniously removed.
The DA’s entire campaign in parliament was in painting majority rule as a bad thing often using the northern state of Zimbabwe and its Zanu–PF as the evidence for this. The DA in its reinvention from its former Democratic Party, under Tony Leon whom Mandela dubbed a chihuahua, to its iron-guard Godzilla’s Democratic Alliance, had this idea as its central persuasion. You will recall how the DA in its practice of politics often sought to make democracy and political life determined by the courts.
The DA was always the master coalition partner and has had several intimate relations, one – night stands and weekend-spends with virtually every party that is defined in opposition sense. In 2016 it started flirting and casually dating the EFF, it’s most difficult so far.
The DA in 2016 first succeeded to smooth talk the young virgin of politics, who out of its anger for her parent the ANC was willing to defy every law and make agreements with the worst to insult its parent. The DA with this anger of a young lover, the EFF, was able to secure itself in two Gauteng metros.
Not that Gauteng in recent national elections ever delivered for the ANC outright power, it was always a borderline case of 50%-plus. The ANC in the province made a ton of blunders; can we ever forget the move to force Thoko Didiza into the race as an alternative when the race between two contenders was considered too violent. This move left the ANC exposed since its voters in Tshwane did not endorse the will of a boardroom Gauteng leadership and showed their dissatisfaction when the ANC failed to make the cut to define and form the local government of Tshwane.
While Trollip has been long on the radar for removal, Solly Msimanga in a comedy of recent appointments from people who claim education and expertise they simply never had soon stood accused of massive corruption for an issued tender that did not meet the necessary PFMA requirements. Msimanga was fingered by the EFF as the next one after Trollip to go. We knew that because the EFF’s leader had a press conference and spelt this out. They made it clear that Herman Mashaba, the City of Johannesburg Mayor, was not in any danger or under any threat of losing his job because, apparently, he is pliant to the objectives of the EFF. The noise around an intended Msimanga ouster gained intensity and momentum with the emergence of a new face in the ANC Tshwane leader Kgosi Maepa.
We learnt of a night-vigil to be held on Wednesday as the ANC in Tshwane was readying itself for taking over the mayoral office. Maepa’s social media world was a-flood with him making wild claims how he will be mayor come Thursday night. Well its Friday now, the mayor of Tshwane is still Solly Msimanga, after two motions sponsored respectively by the EFF and the ANC against him were disrupted abandoned after the EFF staged a walk-out.
Interesting enough, the EFF is so smart and self-centred and knows how eager the ANC is to occupy the mayoral seat that it staged a walk-out because their motion was procedurally questioned. To show you the EFF is not concerned about any of these political parties including the ANC, it didn’t want Msimanga removed on an ANC motion, it was never going to allow the lusty ANC to get that honour. It rather staged a walk-out to ensure the ANC’s motion fails regardless of whether the aim of removing Msimanga was the objective. The ANC had to abandon its motion because without the EFF it could never bring the motion to succeed
Coalition politics while a practised invention of the DA as matriarch is quickly becoming the playground of the much smaller in size EFF. The EFF has understood the greed of its fellow partners to hold office and uses that as a means to negotiate whatever it deems right for itself. The EFF has become the kingmaker for the DA and promised the same to the ANC; its best role is its practised king dethroner. Trollip was made by the EFF, similar to Msimanga and Mashaba. The EFF’s stance though glaringly obvious is interesting since they have managed to make a mockery of democracy because it better understands the heartbeat of a ruling party who has lost credibility and an essentially white-interest party that can snap out of the fundamental core of its interest.
The EFF plays their new type of coalition politics in a form of street-brawl style. It’s unconventional demand and threat strongman politics are informed by scaremongering as it claims it leads SA. Another aspect of the EFF, which many don’t see, is their dictate of who becomes the appropriate candidate. While it claims not to dictate choice, it essentially demands the right to veto the choice of partners for what it deems ‘clean’ or ‘proper’ candidates. This, in a nutshell, is telling your partner it’s your choice to select, it’s ours to veto your choice, therefore directing you in your choice because you not capable to present an honourable choice.
The ANC is very uncomfortable and not accustomed to coalition politics, it’s really a novice because it was spoiled for the better part of democracy to always secure an average of 62% of the national ballot.
It’s the first sign of dipping across the board was the 2016 municipal elections. It was now in stark reality faced with not a single outright win of any metro in Gauteng. It survives in Ekurhuleni, aided by the singular vote of the PA who keep Mzwandile Masina as mayor. Since the ANC is new to the notion of coalition politics it does not know how to play the game and swayed by its rudimentary interest of ruling it assumes it can negotiate itself back into a mayoral position because that has the same power of a ballot endorsement. If the ANC in both national and all metropole definitions can rightly pause and hear again Benjamin Franklin when he cautions, “Necessity never made a good bargain”
Clearly, SA’s leading party is at sixes and sevens on what coalitions mean and where that will play out, it has been sold the story that it will not make it to the psychological 60% threshold come 2019 hence it must now find the most appropriate partner to pull them over the bar. The ANC remains inept on the practice and ingredients of coalitions, it trails the mother of coalitions the DA, it equally falls behind the upstart street-brawler bully EFF.
Coalitions are essentially about a deal. It just appears the EFF gets better for its size from both the DA and ANC, who remains one stuck in sophistication and the other inept in negotiating the best deal for themselves.
–plotting against any elected ANC official with aim of removal remains wrong, be it a president or secretary general functionary-
The role of the media in South African politics with the ANC as its epicentre cannot be overstated. If we today have ‘state capture’ or ‘secret meetings’ claims bandied around in certainty of persuasion less in evidence but anchored in sentiment, it can directly be attributed to intimate relations between political personalities and a lusty media.
Yet, it is also not a complete picture to end there, peeling the layers in search for a better understanding of the media on these two respective matters lead us to a discovery we perhaps didn’t want to make. That being, a group that does not exclude some who in apartheid sense were agents and today are paraded as celebrated moralists. Also, not excluded from this group in the media, may I add, is a segment of essentially women journalists who at some point in their individual and or collective careers have been on the side of those they today appear to seek to destroy at +every turn with their claims through an access of media as weaponry.
Twisted relationships, friendships some intimate between journalists and politicians are an age-old thing. Apartheid’s known project, Stratcom evidence the symbiotic relationship shared by both media and political interests. In SA we also know of this since this increasingly extends to some leaders of organised labour and political party definitions in which among others the ANC, COSATU and the SACP are not exempted.
The challenge we must contend with remains, have we reached a place where this tiny segment of journalists dictates the daily politics from personal deep-seated scorn over what happened at a personal level and setting. As already concluded the paucity of politics as led by the ANC has provided an opportunity for the personal agenda of journalists to direct the landscape of SA discourse. On another score, are these journalists mere tools used by sophisticated political interest to wage proxy wars in zones of public space where they are handsomely rewarded? Has South African discourse become controlled and dictated to by past intimate relations and to what extent have these journalists been active in dictating to ANC leadership their utterances?
We know this pollution of cross-border relationships between the political and the media immanent in agreed pact by some as EFF leader Julius Malema recently confessed of himself and Ranjeni Munusamy on removing Jacob Zuma. This is a classic example of how common interests can violate and abuse the profession of ethical journalism reducing it to an orchestrated vendetta-driven-machinery of pure interest where the rules favour those who have the platforms to denigrate others while celebrating those they may benefit from at essentially an economic level.
On Monday elected ANC President and SA caretaker, Ramaphosa addressed the COSATU Congress that was about to elect a new leadership. For the first time in a very long period, the entire ANC Top 6 leadership attended together. We know that COSATU is vocal for its claims of ‘state capture’ and more recently its demand on action against those who stand accused of having engaged in ‘secret meetings’ to oust Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa is silent on many things among others, our request for him to speak on the Bird Island Boys scandal, which he hitherto has remained ominously silent about. He is silent on the subject of true economic redress in line with ANC adopted resolutions, I am not yet engaging his temporal relief rescue deal, we will engage that shortly. Ramaphosa continues his double- speaking on land and appears to navigate his way around what white monopoly capital have come to define as radical and populistic ANC adopted policies that scare investors from seeing SA as worthwhile investment soil.
Notwithstanding that, Ramaphosa appears to have used his presence at COSATU, his historical constituency base to take wild but direct swipes at his own Secretary General Ace Magashule. Let us hear Ramaphosa in his own words., “Those who want to divide the ANC, what agenda are they serving? Because coming out of Nasrec, we all held one agenda of unity, renewal, jobs and transforming our economy. So, if you are going to divide the ANC tell us what your agenda is,” Ramaphosa accused those who met, as having done so in the claim of some “meeting in dark corners” and plot to divide the ANC of being counter-revolutionaries. “Comrades, this is a call for unity. And those who are engaging in acts to disunite our people and divide our people must be exposed,” he added.
With this statement in the heartland of his constituency, Ramaphosa ventured to entertain a salacious topic, abandoning reason and the espoused interest of the unity he in the same breath prognosticates for populistic rhetoric and being in control of a media-led initiative. It became his space to serve a volley of shots necessitating a response which was to be returned by a Secretary-General, Ace Magashule who from the bedrock of his 25 year-long of the Free State province will not be going down in the silence of the night. Magashule too went to his home-based Mangaung constituency, this time it was a youth event of COSAS. There he would make known his mind and heart on the actions of Ramaphosa as displayed at a COSATU rally.
Well, what happened at COSATU was an ANC president throwing his secretary general for his convenient wolves, he went there to politically annihilate a nemesis, someone he never appreciated because Magashule was not part of his ‘winning team’ that he in a break with ANC culture and traditions dared to announce months before the conference. Ramaphosa fed Magashule and he knew it because as he spoke his pack of wolves were shouting…. AAAACCCCCEEEE… in reference to Magashule, whom Ramaphosa deliberately sought to embarrass.
The ANC president failed to protect his leadership but was willing to sacrifice him to the lowest bidder, ready to proverbially deliver his secretary general’s head on a silver platter to those who have to bid for his political life. In a strange recurrence of a repeat of proverbial Marikana tragedy, Ramaphosa knowing a better path consciously opted to be this callous and less circumspect to appreciate what his actions would have in impact on the ANC.
Ramaphosa misled by the venom his constituency decided to abandon the sense of leadership for unity and fell hook-line-and-sinker for an audience that in all probability forced him to lose his composure and be reduce to the one-minute politics in defiance of being the one who was elected to lead the ANC in unity. Ramaphosa had been here before when he was one of those accused of plotting to overthrow a Thabo Mbeki presidency in 2001. He knows from where those claims emanated and what the prevailing internal political climate was at the time. He, therefore, with such historical information may have had access, as in the case of Marikana, to a better toolbox from which he may have opted to deal with these claims of ‘secret meetings’ which he rephrased as, “meeting in dark corners.” He knew that the meetings took place in public spaces (Maharani Hotel lobby and Beverley Hills veranda) and that the claim of a ‘secret meeting’ is and remains a sophism but he needed to suck on the joystick of this moment in front of his constituency base flexing his political power muscle.
Secretary-General Ace Magashule, in addressing the COSAS gathering in the Free State, therefore, responded to Ramaphosa’s open attack and would not back down. He made it clear that Ramaphosa with his attack was first attacking an ANC leader. Never before has a secretary-general been so clear on a president he was serving. While former SG’s may have expressed their private views on presidents they served, Magashule told Ramaphosa in an unequivocal sense, you and your CR17 hardliner crowd will not prevent me from meeting a former president. His choice of words significant, “Let me tell you, nobody can stop me from meeting President Jacob Zuma. I will even invite President Jacob Zuma to come and talk to you as students”
Magashule continued, “There is no ANC leadership which I am part of, that is going to stop me and many others from meeting president Jacob Zuma”. He asserted, “Nobody will take me out of this ANC, nobody.” With this Magashule underscored the important role and significant place former President Zuma holds in ANC setting despite attempts to reduce him in political expediency to a pariah state of leprosy because some in their fears and media invented ‘state capture’ coupled with ‘secret meeting plots’ prove gullible to earn public sympathy by playing the victim.
What Magashule next said, is more scathing and more blood-curdling, he ventured to draw a distinction between himself and Ramaphosa in ANC original sense. It is a given that Ramaphosa owes his public life and later political presence to the mind, heart and hand of white monopoly capital if we accept his emergence in 1978 as adopted one by the Urban Foundation. Magashule would have known, the words of Clive Menell’s spouse, Irene who as recorded in Anthony Butler’s biography on Ramaphosa, said Ramaphosa was brought into the Urban Foundation as a ‘charity gesture’.
Ramaphosa from his Urban Foundation umwelt, therefore, owes his public life to white capital interests since we also know it was Harry Oppenheimer who envisioned a UF, while Anton Rupert had the honour of defining the UF in strategic ethos. Calling Ramaphosa a product of white capital interest is driving a jagged-edged dagger into the heart and twisting it for maximum impact, clearly a very angry Magashule. He with this becomes the first high ranking ANC official and member of the ANC to tell Ramaphosa you not authentically ANC, you don’t belong to the ANC you are a product of white interest, that is your known history Magashule dovetailed this in reference to himself as juxtaposed to Ramaphosa,
“I am not the product of a white person. I am not a product of capital”. He thus seizes the moment to claim himself as a member of the ANC produced by the ANC and thus a product of the ANC, unlike Ramaphosa.
Why then would Ramaphosa take the media inspired so-called ‘secret meeting’ so serious though he appeared to have attempted to downplay it?
Ramaphosa remains an ANC president that is confronted with the reality of an ANC that may stumble for the first time in reaching the proverbial and psychological 62% margin his predecessors since Mandela to Zuma comfortably attained and maintained throughout the life of democracy. He is confronted by a significant portion of ANC members and leaders who did not trust him to lead and continues not to trust him. While many at first glance wanted to make NASREC a battle of CR and NDZ camps contest, a better way to look at it remains the battle between the forces of capital and the actual poor that has come to describe and define the ANC in a totality of its existence in this epoch. Nasrec became the struggle between white privilege and black economic denial. What cannot be denied is that Ramaphosa’s rise to the ANC leadership comes with flame grilled peri-peri white monopoly capital spice. While the most recent published most IPSOS survey (a useful tool that forces peoples thinking) extends him a personal popularity of 72% over the ANC’s 60% it cannot be seen as a final word on what is really happening in the ANC when it comes to the division of white capital and the economically disenfranchised poor.
From this, it is crystal clear that the ANC as led by Ramaphosa continues to lead a deeply divided organisation and one increasingly as warned by Oliver Tambo teetering with ‘self-destruction’ if the two fundamental positions of its president and secretary general offices are at war with each other. For the last known 25 years of the ANC in democracy seldom have the lines so clearly been drawn and the divide so emphatically clear. The last time we saw a secretary general resign was Ramaphosa himself when he bitter with not be considered fit to accompany Mandela to a deputy president post, stepped down in 1996.
What then is at stake as an immediate focus?
The critical aspect at stake is the ANC list finalisation, the balance of forces in an ANC setting has always subjected itself to the use of this cardinal aspect to determine the actual lay of the land in support for or against. This critical aspect usually managed and led if not controlled by the office of the secretary-general is in this season the prize position, it appears the CR 17 hardliner group has smelled blood and will seek to hound Magashule from his elected office, incidentally something not considered a plot. They seek to solidify their control over the ANC at an internal level where Magashule in his current position stands as the last frontier.
A tale of secret meetings since Nasrec 2017, have come to define the ANC leadership. Not having won the contest of presidential elections in the outright convincing sense, it is visiting in ghost form of taunting the current ANC president. The margins of 179 votes that separated him from his contender has after nine months not dissipated. Equally so the even tinier margin by which Magashule became secretary-general a mere 24 votes is also not relenting for those who never wanted him in that position. The strategy to bulwark and upstage the secretary-general’s office was the beefing up of the presidential office at the Luthuli Head Office.
While the contest is easily drawn between two personalities of a Ramaphosa and Magashule, we will miss the bigger picture that of a contest between capital and the poor, what some have dubbed as the Bidvest ANC versus the Gupta ANC. A tale of ANC policies versus a cremora-lite version of double-speaking. The survival of an ANC organisation needs the cooperation and working together of these two offices with clear boundaries. While Ramaphosa remains thrust in legitimacy crisis for those who didn’t trust him to lead the ANC which made up a significant chunk. Magashule is also abhorred by those of the Ramaphosa camp who see him as a problem and the next one to hang to dry after forcing Jacob Zuma and Supra Mahumapelo.
Was Ramaphosa, wrong for referring to the Maharani and Beverley Hills Hotels meetings as “meeting in dark corners”? Yes, he was, we all know as I already opined in another piece earlier that the claims of a ‘secret meeting’ in a public space simply do not corroborate. We know that the term ‘secret meeting’ was not even concocted in origin by any ANC leader but a questionable journalist Sunday Times journalist, Qaanitha Hunter, who herself in the aftermath of her exposition was exposed for her past and cosy association with Atul Gupta and the New Age newspapers which she left angrily for not being appointed as its deputy editor when she demanded to earn more than others. We also know that Ramaphosa’s ‘meetings in dark corner’ claims feed of the media led narrative of ‘angels ‘and ‘demons’, those who make up his dark corners crowd, are necessarily following the scripted media line of ‘demons’. I am afraid Ramaphosa knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.
It was, therefore, irresponsible for the ANC president to fall for the claims of a ‘secret meeting’ unless the president so relies upon, or is in cahoots with these expressions of the selected media for a means to deal with his organisational leadership legitimacy challenges. Why then would Ramaphosa be this irresponsible? It is a game of high stakes and time is not favourable to his leadership. On a daily basis, the window of opportunity for CR 17 hardliners to convince those whom they in the aftermath of Zuma resignation squeezed out and side-lined is closing to take control of the ANC, to engender true unity, or to convince others that they can be trusted to deliver unity. In order for these known hardliners to secure full control (whatever that means), they have in their wisdom resolved to get the elected secretary general Ace Magashule out.
They have worked meticulously on that plan. The plan is clear Magashule is a problem and not working in the interest of those I would refer to as the undying CR17 hardliner supporters who include Ministers like Pravin Gordhan publicly accused by among others the DSG of the ANC Jessie Duarte as sitting behind a plot to have her and others who were Zuma sympathetic removed, purged and exposed with state capture claims as a politically expedient means. It means Magashule will face a drummed-up SACP and Cosatu led the disciplinary hearing, yet I ask why is Ramaphosa not facing a disciplinary hearing too.
Ramaphosa, with this statement at COSATU, may have read the balance of forces at an internal level as shifting towards his side, buoyed by the idea he was going to announce on Thursday a government initiated economic rescue package. The idea of being seen to saving SA in an economic rescue package though aesthetic and very temporal may have been part of his arsenal for coming at the elected ANC secretary-general. Magashule on a pre-planned drummed up theatre of a COSATU elective conference. When former Cosatu president, Sdumo Dlamini was interviewed on the subject of a secret plot to oust Ramaphosa, he had more wisdom to publicly laugh at the reporter, perhaps thinking are you not understanding this as part of a lame public relations job aimed at harvesting sympathy for an incumbent.
It is clear that the lines have been drawn, and pretending it has not been drawn is to fool oneself. The ANC unity that was propagated from the voting at Nasrec and pleaded for in the aftermath of the outcomes of the conference, appears a long-forgotten past.
The unfolding days and weeks purport to be very interesting particularly since Ramaphosa already stands accused of playing the man and not the ball. He is already called out for his double-standards of questionable morality as it relates to an organisation and its leaders on corruption claims. As is asserted in for example the weekly Mail & Guardian that accuses him of an ambivalent ethic when he is silent on some of his key supporters like Chairperson and Minister Gwede Mantashe and Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla who are fingered in BOSASA corruption when he is obsessed to want to listen to questionable scorned journalists leading a media narrative of ‘secret meetings’ from the bedrock of their personal displeasure with deals that have gone wrong. In the case of Makwetla, very vocal in condemning of Zuma, it gets even worse because he admitted he received a bribe of R1million which he kept for six weeks before developing a conscience to take the money back. This again exposes Ramaphosa in a farcical leader sense again as more concerned about his personal self-interest and political survival, something his days from UF, CUSA and COSATU later ANC SG days became notorious for. It is an open secret that Bosasa directors offered to make many ANC MPs millionaires. I this what happened to Vincent Smith?
Something will give and only time will tell but those on both sides of the NASREC presidential divide are today more emboldened, the lines are harder and the risks more pronounced. The ANC is and remains a toxically divided organisation and do not have the luxury of uniting before May 2019 a time schedule for South Africa’s sixth national elections.
What must remain as undeniable, is that a plot against an elected organisational president or its secretary general attest the same crime and one cannot be preferred to the other in blurred aesthetics of kaftans of an SA president as super important. If we too condemn the media created ‘secret meetings’ of those Ramaphosa call meeting in ‘dark corners’ can we also condemn the ‘secret meetings’ to plot against Magashule for his removal? Don’t be misled by a caretaker SA president’s role, see the wrong at an ANC organisational level where its most senior incumbents are subjects of alleged plots real or fake.