– Analysis must always attempt objectivity as a basic –
Listening to Prof. Shadrack Gutto you cannot but conclude we have someone who cannot be objective about the ANC, at least the ANC defined from 2007 onwards. Gutto, argues the ANC 2014, Manifesto will not save it. This argument is premised on his assertion that there is nothing new in the manifesto. An aspect like corruption is there forever he retorts.
My understanding is previous Manifestos’ in democracy should be in sink and address the same fundamental issues.
After all the transformation of a society uniquely as ours is not an event but a process conscious of the dynamism of humans and organisations influenced by events, occurrences and circumstances exemplified in past, present and prospective future.
Why Gutto and others like Prof. Susan Booysen (who often relies on tabloid research and drape it up with academic claim) can conclude this journey an event that should have been concluded by now since its 20 years in the making says how little these grasp the nature of a developmental society with its historic and new challenges.
Gutto last wrote something objective and positive on the ANC in 2007, we shall have to assume he became like some trapped in the paradigm of a Polokwane Elections result and an Mbeki recall.
It is accepted that all analysts I mean all analysts (even the one that pens this note) have a bias towards some ideology, party, person and group or value system. Yet what is not acceptable is the fact that objectivity is so often in post – apartheid context sacrificed for unwarranted campaign exemplified in ‘intellectual’ opinion.
To Gutto we say the manifestos of the ANC as ruling party remains the same in overarching dimension because the issues necessitating the cause for transformation remains the same.
We are a nation in becoming and you cannot use the 20 years as a convenient lashing stick as too long a period of time, whilst when you in ostrich head-in-sand type consciously refuses to accept the gigantic strides this ANC has made as a collective of leadership seldom defined in one epoch as more prevalent than the other.
We know some of you have this view that when you ran the government, even advised our leaders in whatever form or capacity it was necessarily clean, clearly focused, problem- free and a picture perfect scenario because ” intelligence” warped defined was the guarantor for this your claim. We know you like some in the public intellectual farm have no regard for the Post – Polokwane ANC leaderships, less on fact but more on conjecture if not bitterness. Thus, you theorise and eulogise this tired song of how great you were.
Some of us beg to differ for we were sojourners in this journey whilst we respect the fact that you and others may have contributed, we also know you are the reasons for our delay in some areas.
Our collective historic conscious does not afford you such latitude to assume we see you the same we you see yourself.
– You cannot negate the fact that South Africa is a different place from the past apartheid context.
– You cannot deny that dignity is being restored when no country ever in the history of democracy has built 3.3million homes in 20 years. You can argue that 380000 of those houses had a defect but, but you cannot argue that 18million people live better.
– When as a society the ruling party has remained conscious of the poor in providing grants in excess of 15million people. We can argue whether we should be a welfare state or not but SA’s poor cannot and dare not argue there is no delivery.
– You cannot challenge the reality of a transforming primary health care system, which serves mother and new-born infants as an established reality in 20 years of governance. We may argue the overall internal challenges in such but you cannot argue it is not happening.
– You cannot argue that whilst education was evident in 1993 as that which reflects almost 12 separate race defined systems the work of the ANC has reduced this in this era to an essentially one but really two national system with its concomitant challenges in delivery.
Again, we can agree the dropout rate is high and a concern, yet we cannot arrive at an understanding of a high dropout rate if we have nothing that we can measure it.
– You cannot argue that this ANC led Government has not drastically changed the context of business as an evolving reality in SA to the advantage of previously disadvantaged groups. Notwithstanding many issues attached to this we must concede BEE or BBEEE is a platform that exists and is entrenched by now. As a system, it has helped many. Today the access to opportunity to take charge of one’s own destiny exists for all.
– On the issue of Mineral Rights the ANC as government has taken the custodianship of such as far back as 2002. We may argue a Marikana occurrence in the context of labour disaster and force it into a political tragedy yet we must ask how did we get to a Marikana? We must ask did this ANC Led Government provide the platform of bargaining structures of which justice and fairness constitute cardinal axis.
– On the issue of Landownership, perhaps the thorniest of all matters in SA, the question that must be asked is what former administrations did on the subject because this era is building on the same and have not deviated. If the ANC failed the people on land ownership and land tenure, it did not start at Polokwane it started with Mandela and was thriving under Mbeki. Yet we know all three administrations have made efforts, good bad and indifferent.
– On the E-Toll saga, E-Tolls (which I dislike and hate too) was not a post Polokwane policy the administrations of Mandela and Mbeki gave birth to it. The Zuma administration is implementing it. Hence, if this sentiment is twisted as an attack on the current administration it is because some refuse to observant, conscious, and truthful in their analysis. What therefore is inconsistent about this issue for it is used today by some as a key point to render the ANC not listening to the people.
I guess I cite these as a means to show an objective assessment of the ANC as led from its manifestos is resulting in these worthwhile achievements.
Again, we not saying this is good enough and the finishing line, we have many mountains to climb but an objective analyst on the eve of the fifth guaranteed peaceful National democratic elections will desist advancing an opinion laced in historic snapshot persona worship, or megalomania. True academics are necessarily humble people for they have learnt in specialising a discipline how little they really know.
On the subject of election – polls, SA has never been a society in election context that has taken pre- elections polls serious. Our context defies these pre-election polls and reduces them to opinions of those who already had determined their preferred outcomes. Those who feed a specific narrative necessarily in question of that which is African.
Therefore arguing the manifesto will not save the ANC – it is all the same stuff, rings hollow in thought application. It is bereft of objectivity, naked of sensible engagement and archaic in semblance of defence of a system that made you Shadrack Gutto in SA probably a personality.
Now we know there are those who desire the ANC losing an election, there are also those who pray for it to get 50% yet our wishes and dreams or prayers cannot leave us inebriated that we refuse to be objective, when we claim to be public intellectuals.
Equally, I hope your “analysis“ of an ANC manifesto that won’t save it has nothing to do with your opinion on an ANC president the same you despise when you worshipped a previous one.
Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine
Ordinary citizen of Mzansi