ANC, please discern between good and cheap agenda advice!

Advice or counsel is a necessary intervention in our daily lives as human beings. We often listen to counsel and are helped by it, yet counsel or advise is also relationship informed. It would be difficult to justify any advice defenders of apartheid proffer to victims of apartheid.


In the aftermath of the now snippets (the fullness of this not known or tested as yet) of revelations of the Gupta influence on the State immanent in a word not yet defined but bandied around of “state capture”, the ANC in this season is finding itself advised, by a crossbreed of groups. I do think we need to unpack this term “state capture” but that is for another time.


Advice is flying around hard and fast facilitated by sectors of the media. The ANC has in this season never looked more vulnerable as leading party than this hour. Never before has the ANC appeared this forced to listen to advise by those who exert themselves over what they have deemed a week ANC. It is as if the ANC is under siege if not constipated with advice from antithetical groups with diverse political agendas.


When so much advise and counsel is offered it can render one confused, hence it becomes important how the ANC entertain or pay attention to the advice extended.


Our context is further made volatile with a combination of an up and coming municipal elections and the ever lurking threat of junk status downgrade from rating agencies, critical agenda items for the last NEC meeting.


Is it possible that not all advice freely offered and demanded as extended to the ANC in this season is devoid of contamination?


It is perhaps important to dissect the sources of ANC advise in this season: Of those who feel it their right to advise the ANC in this season we find:


Opposition parties, 

  • The opposition parties led by the DA and EFF is all about effecting leadership change in the ANC through a consistent campaign of attack on the top six leaders as a collective with their primary focus the ANC’s president. It is no secret that this getting the ANC president removed has become the practical manifestos of these opposition parties.


The Media

  • The media has made its own contribution to advise the ANC. We know that some parts of the media is the unofficial voice of opposition, the media has waged their concerted effort consumed to blackmail the ANC into doubt of its leadership.



  • Veterans are an important group of an organization because it normally represents history, values and counsel. Yet in our conflated season and time laced with economic grip it also includes those who are not exempted from their own political agendas that in no other season had a felt a need to direct the NEC.


Public intellectuals

  • Some in this group have had little if any regard for the collective ANC leadership elected in its last two elective conferences. We know this from looking at an aggregate of their opinion pieces and analysis freely published. Yet they too today seek to direct the ANC in its choices of leadership.


Fired Ministers

  • Of those who in this day offer advice are former cabinet members of the Zuma administration who have been off-loaded for one or other reason. As fired ministers it is difficult to understand their advice devoid from considering also personal interest a sense of being aggrieved.


2008 Recall Hangover group

  • Some who cannot get over a deployed SA president 2008 recall and will not rest until old scores are settled. As often as the ANC categorically regretted this unfortunate incident in its past, these campaigners for a revenge will not rest. Hence their advice is simple recall this ANC president and we settle scores.


Ex – MK

  • MK the gallant past military wing of the ANC in this season is hardly a coherent group of ex-soldiers but in this season represents fragmented individuals who speak in divergent sense on behalf of a claimed collective of a historic MK. Many of these individuals today claim a larger than live relevance.  Some of these are now demanding new leadership. We must assume this leadership to mean all elected officials at the ANC 2012 elective conference held at Mangaung.


White Capital – Interest

  • Capita, yes even colonial and apartheid benefactor capital has equally in this season considered it their right advice the ANC.




With all this “advice” however coached the ANC appears vulnerable and thrust in a landmine littered field in which at anytime an explosion is possible.


The ANC must be very careful how they deal or entertain this advice from a crossbreed of groups with definite political interest.


If the ANC chooses to listen to all in this season it may surrender itself to be controlled by external diverse agendas that will deem it their right continue demanding to be listened to in the future.


Listening to this type of advice will make a mockery of those who trust the ANC in ballot. For if the ANC can listen to those who oppose it to influence it in choice of leadership it will fail not do so in the future.


The ANC must desist the easy way out to assess the choices currently bandied around, it must carefully deal with this landmine littered land of political agendas that in this season manifest as good advise.


Easy choices that attest “recall or fire a president and our problems are solved” are simply not sustainable. For this type of advice is not sensitive to the reality of how capital has infiltrated the ANC since the times of the first engagement with capital before it took power.


The ANC owes it to itself to honestly reflect on the role of capital throughout its 22 years of governance. It must ask itself how its leaders many who never were entrepreneurs became wealthy and to what extend this wealth has created an unintended buffer zone for capital to control the ANC.


The ANC did not arrive here overnight the fullness of this moment visiting upon us necessitates upon the ANC to make wise choices. Choices that may appear selfish but if it’s to preserve the ideals, values and core of its 104 year struggle and vision it warrants to rise above the noise and deal with the critical issues at hand.


Just merely caving in to pressure in this created moment will leave the ANC weak and irrelevant in a future.


Whatever choices are made cannot be emotional, factional driven, or in appeasement of make belief constituencies. Tripartite alliance members cannot lead; it has to be ANC choices.


The ANC must remain true to its voters and regard all less but it’s voters. It must engage its branches and listen to those who vote for it in trust of delivering the ideals its liberation mandate.


Lastly the “soul” of the ANC so often talked about is in season attempted as located outside the ANC with those who feel it their right to advise it be it in force advise or demands made by some from inside.


I hold the hope that sense will prevail and that choices the ANC a party I vote for makes prove not emotional, thoroughly thought through for the ramifications of these will live with the ANC and all of us for much longer than is currently imagined.


Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

An ANC Voter






Is Pravin Gordhan under attack as a victim?

Our discourse is teetering on precarious grounds where the personality cult – worship of individuals – defines us in blindness of subjectivity.


J. McWhorter defines victimology in drawing a distinction between a constructive approach to victimhood as opposed to claiming victimhood “where it barely if at all exists”. He asserts, “approaching victimhood constructively will naturally include calling attention to it, and it is healthy. However, much more often in modern black American life, victimhood is simply called attention to where it barely exists if at all. Most importantly, all too often this is not done to forge a solution, but to foster and nurture an unfocused brand of resentment and sense of alienation from the mainstream. This is victimology.”


Last week Pravin Gordhan in his second coming as Finance Minister became the overnight hero for having put together a budget that articulates a future that would set us on cause to stymie the threats of junk status and solving our economic woes. I am one of those who listened to every word applauded the budget speech as a concerned citizen.


This budget speech attests indeed the fulcrum of intense juggling, ingenuity, crafting and foresight fueled by an undeniable conviction that South Africa can be resilient, as poignantly articulated by Gordhan.


However since our discourse is so pummeled with a need for individual messiahs, Pravin Gordhan became for some an overnight messiah the answer to all SA economic woes. The twist in this is that whilst he became the economic messiah he was declared immediately an endangered species that warrants defense, rallying around, protection and absolved to be questioned. We not sure from whom or for what reason?


Gradually our minds were refreshed of a nagging old story of a claimed ‘rogue unit’ operative during his tenure as SARS Commissioner in another era. We again heard of a long standing Hawks investigation into what is considered the existence of a ‘rogue unit’ established to engage in plausible illegitimate activities of probable intelligence surveillance on certain sectors and individuals of society with claimed political overtures. Apparently this investigation is ongoing and was first made public in May 2015. It is important to note that at the time of it being made public Pravin Gordhan was not the minister of finance but of CoGTA.


No soon did the news break on this when we heard a crossbreed of voices some from very opportunistic clergy, others purely ill-informed and yet others from the conspiracy worlds of political gerrymandering drawing lines of a Minister versus a President testosterone contest. Underscoring a victimhood and villain status as defined landscape.


The chorus to defend Gordhan comes conflated if not convulsed with claims of he is the bastion of economic defense and the victim of an orchestrated political smear campaign of individuals who are as it is claimed enemies of the South African economic success project.


We read of the fact that the Hawks sent a letter to Gordhan four days before the budget speech to ask him to help its investigation in answering some pertinent questions. I am not sure if the timing for the questions are was well considered, perhaps the Hawks can explain why four days before the budget speech. Yet we must draw a distinction between the timing and the actual veracity of the questions, it appears there is no distinction in the minds of some.


Naturally Gordhan must be saluted for not becoming emotional in responding or mentioning this prior to his important speech. Yet that in itself does not naturally translate to him being exonerated to respond to the questions as requested by the Hawks.

It’s perhaps time we unpack the psyche of those who in this day have become proverbial martyrs-willing-to-die for Gordhan as the accepted economic messiah.


1. The first error those who uncritically defend Gordhan make is they disavow the then Commissioner of SARS the obligatory responsibility to account for claims legitimate or illegitimate of what potentially took place under his watch and during his tenure.

2. The second error those who see the minister as under attack make is that they rush to conclude the minister a victim of a political plot.

3. Thirdly those who defend the minister have determined devoid of objectivity the president the opposite of the minister. A comparison pliable in their concave understanding of evil and good.

4. In the fourth instance, they have unilaterally declared Gordhan the economic savior of a crippled economy and bestowed on him the sole right and mandate to steer SA out of this economic abyss that teeters on junk status condemnation from the Western world rating agencies. Off course they conveniently forget the minister in his previous tenure did not prove this messiah, but in a season of predetermined villains and victims he is a natural victim, and therefore has earned the right not to answer another constitutional organ of State law enforcement.

5. In the fifth instance Gordhan himself pleads victimhood and castigates those who want him to answer these questions as having not SA’ s interest at heart. Thus instead of answering the questions he pleads a victimhood in the name of a SA economy, because he found that there are voices who are willing to lay down their lives for him in an uncritical sense. Equally his entourage of willing martyrs does not pause to ask but Minister on the basis of what do you conclude this?

6. The vocal defenders of Gordhan sweep us all up in the rhetoric of fear of an imminent junk status threat to be exacted. Out of this fear of junk status these grope into thin air declaring us economically dead, conveniently forgetting the country that closest resembles us in most facets as developing economy, Brazil had just been handed their love-letter of junk status by the same rating agencies.

7. The martyrs for Gordhan simply do not ask the minister what he means when he says “there are problems with SARS and we will in a few weeks sort this out and we will report back”. We not sure if these problems are inherent historical, new system based or personality driven. We not sure if its leadership based or relational based.

8. The crossbreed of defenders of a Gordhan as a personality refuses to conclude that SA will have a junk status whether Thomas Picketty is the finance minister or not. It has little to do with Gordhan as a person but there is a perhaps a political agenda with downgrading developing economies, particularly with the emergence of BRICS block. The late Chris Hani it is claimed had access to a document in which it was said, ” South Africa was a country not to be allowed to prosper, for if it does it would ignite the whole of dark Africa…”

9. Perhaps the gravest error those who blindly defend Gordhan make is to reduce the Hawks to a junk status as a law-enforcing agency. Why would they be so oblivious to do that? Does this not constitute an obstruction of justice on the part of those who denies the Hawks to do their work?

10. Shall we venture to deduce that the defenders of Gordhan in their personal, collective and dreamt up anger is led to conclude it is correct to defend Gordhan because he is the new opposite of Zuma. The Zuma they all would like to see recalled in settling of scores of a 2008 Mbeki recall (a grave  mistake the ANC is still paying for ) or the Zuma they want to see impeached and behind bars as the criminal they have tried him in the courts of public opinion to be.

11. Among those who say hands of Gordhan are those who in emotional blackmail attempt demanding the president to intervene, as if they will not tomorrow charge him again for violating his constitutional circumference.

12. The martyrs fail to question the logic of a claim of a minister under attack. They dare not to question the potentially concocted make belief reality of a need to defend a finance minister. Neither do they find celebration of the personality cult worship on messianic claim of economic savior of an individual deplorable and completely unsustainable.

13. Lastly the defenders of Gordhan have found Nene’s replacement not in doing the work but what they call opposing Zuma. The logic of this is not questioned but it’s advanced with a zest that rivals support for your favorite sports team.

I thank the president, cabinet and the finance ministry and all those who worked tirelessly in preparing for the 2016-2017 budget speech. Undeniably the product of creativity developed under strenuous circumstances of real economic challenge, yet the budget speech is over. What is left to do is implementing the budget studiously.


Yet this gives the minister opportunity to take us all into his confidence to respond to the 27 questions regardless how they may be legally structured, there is only one side to truth, we as South Africans desire to move on because we have confidence in our minister.


This victim – villain crafted status in which unrelated issues are drawn together in need to defend our new or should I say not so new economic Saviour simply does not help but polarize us when we ought to work together to rescue our economy. Is the delaying of the answering of these questions not inadvertently contributing to us being in a proverbial hung parliament with an ever-approaching guillotine of junk status threat? Let the Hawks do what they always do without fear or favour. None of us are above the law and the law must take its course if we portend to be good citizens.


For now no one has to die for Gordhan because he is under no attack. Our honorable minister  must just answer the questions to the best of his honest mind. We value each of our ministers equally as servants and custodians of our collective best interest, unfortunately there are no messiahs among them unless they are all messiahs, Gordhan cannot in convenience be made one.


Clyde N.S. Ramalaine