Sipho Pityana’s rant says more than what we all heard!

Sipho Pityana’s rant says more than what we all heard!


Shakespeare in his seven ages of mankind, aptly reminds us, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts his acts being seven ages”


Last week Reverend Mankhenkhesi Arnold Stofile, a gallant member of the UDF and ANC, a former Eastern Cape Premier, Minister of Sport and finally an ambassador to Germany was laid to rest and thus made his exit. Rev. Stofile is revered in some circles as a formidable intellect, a great leader and we choose to remember him for that.


He also at an organisational level can be remembered as a loyal, disciplined, soft-spoken, ever smiling and humble ANC cadre known for poking fun. I will be the first to admit that listening to the eulogies rendered I wondered what had happened to all those complaints levelled against his so-called pathetic leadership as Premier. It is perhaps good no one apparently exists anymore of those who considered him a pathetic premier and had expressed grave reservations on his leadership. The avuncular Boet’ Stof entered that stage and he played his many parts.



Among those who were part of the eulogisers was Mr. Sipho Pityana. I was asked for both my clergy and usual personal political commentary on the presentation of Mr. Pityana. I herewith attempt to nail my colours to the mast; since Pityana took the liberty that the Stofile family afforded him to make broad very definite statements and patronizing request for a president to resign.


Hence my attempt is to advance what I observed, experienced and understood from his address. Let me in the beginning make it emphatic that Sipho Pityana is entitled to his opinions, he is entitled to air them therefore my response is not to deny him his constitutional right neither to attempt narrowing his prerogative in being afforded to eulogise Rev. Stofile.


In the aftermath of his speech which trended on ENCA even 48 hours later, the debate became are funerals the correct place to raise or make political statements.


This question is perhaps a rhetorical if not a redundant one, for those of us from the youth of the 80’s of which I can speak in an informed sense of knowing that funerals became mass meetings, rallies and points of extraordinary mobilizing where messages were sent, and political utterances were made. It also became the place of sharing information. This took place feeding on the raw pain of those who lost loved ones as families and cadres.


Funerals therefore became one of the very few gatherings apartheid’s machinery not for lack of trying could succeed to stop, because we were dying at their hands and week after we were burying those whose blood watered the tree of Freedom. Thus the subject of political statements, incitement and raising of opinions and positions contra to the Apartheid-State and status quo was the order of the day at most funerals. My challenge therefore can never be a political statement made at the funeral of a politician, member of the clergy, academic and avid sports lover.


Perhaps we must accept that anyone with any common and political sense would have expected a form of a ‘fight back strategy’ and the funeral of the late Rev. Stofile became the fitting spot for that. The location for this eulogy more so prominent because this was at the University of Fort Hare, a hallowed place of intellectual and liberation preside respected by many of us.



My first challenge with Pityana’s statement is that it clearly adopted a fight back strategy attempt exemplified in a conscious and lecturing rebuke of the current ANC leadership. In typical proverbial referee sense Pityana was red-carding the democratically elected and serving president of the ANC who by default is the SA President.


My second challenge with Pityana is the coat hanger he chose in convenience to make his justified argument for a castigating of an ANC leadership and its president in call to resign. He hung his entire hypothesis of a constitutionally deviant ANC leadership on the pretext of a constitutional infringement on the part of the ANC and SA president, which the Constitutional Court ruled on. He did this conscious or should we assume oblivious to the fact that the president and the ANC leadership accepted in totality the Constitutional Court’s 11 findings and instructions.


Pityana in mischievous sense reminded his audience how this president flaunted his constitutional obligation imperative, and thus is unfit to be in office. It is said a sophism oft repeated assumes truth for those who incessantly repeat it.


We all know the interpretation of the constitution assumes a fluidity informed by time, space and situation and thus it changes all the time since the constitution is an evolving Magna Carta. The interpretation of the constitution has scholars of law at odds regularly; yet the jurisprudence principle does not naturally translate to a condemnation of those whom the Constitutional Court ultimately finds against or differs with.


This aspect of a breach of constitutional mandate on the part of the President has been interpreted from the day of the Constitutional Court findings by various legal and non-legal minds, and we have seen how this became a proverbial rag doll in which it was argued, from one vocal side for a president that has broken his constitutional obligation, the basis for the last failed impeachment attempt.


On the other hand there are some of us who argued the Constitutional Court with its findings for the first time brought clarity on a matter concerning the powers of the public protector as it relates to findings as binding and where it may be reviewed. This last argument is further supported by the fact that a High-Court judge equally had ruled that the powers of the public protector in findings are not binding. That is beside the fact that two previous public protectors shared the esteemed High Court’s prism on their office in remedial definition.


Therefore to advance the notion of a president having broken his constitutional obligation is perhaps lazy and shallow if not convenient particularly from those who wear the gowns of academic high office.


To make this more salient, in the recent Constitutional Court ruling on the subject of the land issue, there were two rulings evidenced in both majority and minority incidentally in binaries of “black” and “white”. We also know that on a daily basis the Constitutional Court rules against both High Courts, Supreme Courts even Court of Appeals often full benches of the aforementioned. Should we assume these are all to be condemned to resign for flaunting the constitutional uphold of law.


With this armchair, lazy and illogic of Mr. Sipho Pityana and those who share this myopic interpretation of law we are in a precarious space, because these are the self-same ones who claim a custodianship of our egalitarian constitution.


Disagreement in the effervescent environment of hermeneutics or interpretation and application does not lead to those with an opposing view being berated as condemnable of breaking the constitutional code as is conveniently claimed by Pityana and others.


Are we therefore saying that where the Constitutional Court even internally whenever it concludes in a majority and minority ruling that makes its findings, somebody in the Constitutional Court must be condemned as is advanced by the Pityana’s of this world?



Thirdly, Sipho Pityana chose the funeral of Rev. Stofile a disciplined member of the ANC until his last moment to perhaps prove the opposite of what Stofile stood for namely ill-discipline. It is a known fact that people join the ANC as individuals; it accepts its constitution and structures, its codes for its member’s conduct and benefits of membership when they decide to join. Not only do members accept the aforementioned but they equally accept the unspoken culture, subcultures and traditions of the ANC of which one is to respect the organisation as sacrosanct and the principles of collective leadership and centralised democracy.


When Pityana had his moment in the baking Alice sunlight he took it upon himself to berate, castigate and rebuke a democratically elected ANC leadership, who had just come from a municipal elections that confirmed the ANC still remains the entrusted leader of our democratic franchise though by smaller majority. This has to constitute ill-discipline and bringing the organisation in disrepute.


He ascended the rostrum and began addressing the ANC leadership devoid of us knowing if he had upheld the known ethic and practice of a disciplined member to raise his conscious concerns in the relevant structures of the ANC as is to be expected of all loyal selfless and disciplined ANC cadres.


Pityana, thus as an individual, possibly a member in good standing claimed a carte blanche right and prerogative to prove vituperative in his lashing of an elected ANC leadership where at least the Deputy President and Secretary General was present in the front lines of the audience that Pityana addressed.


I dare assert his address to a sitting leadership in the fashion he did, attest a clear disregard for the elected ANC leadership that has in the aftermath of the ANC’s drop in municipal elections percentage confirmed their collective ownership and guilt and a willingness to engage all groups and people to improve the ANC at an organisational presence in future elections. Pityana knew that the ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe articulated the resolutions of the NEC after deliberations on the elections performance, yet he in his exceptional individual mind was not satisfied and wanted a certain outcome unfortunately not carried by the ANC NEC.



In the fourth instance Sipho Pityana with his rant, confirmed a new notion of former officials who have of recent days become a “para-structure” of the ANC in claims of the only true custodians for a constitutional democracy defence. He along with some other very vocal ANC members who were blessed to serve the ANC as officials attests less former officials but politicians in this season. It can be argued his berating and rebuke of a democratically elected ANC leadership is justified because as a former director general Mr. Pityana unlike other members deployed or not of the ANC has earned the right because of a claimed South African constituency.


This behaviour on the part of former officials is unbecoming and not sustainable neither is it befitting to assume they are the natural custodians of our constitutional democracy. They do this on the untested and convenient diaphragm that the current ANC leadership at all levels is unfit, corrupt and not the legitimate custodians as the 2012 elections confirmed.


To Pityana and those of similar mind we must ask, when did former officials become the natural custodians of our constitutional democracy, even more when did this group become an ANC structure that innately warrants to be heard in an unequal respect more than others only because they held an office before?


May we also know how these vocal former officials performed according to the auditor general as accounting officers? Perhaps former officials must go the 2017 Elective Conference of the ANC and test how much support they have in availing themselves for office, because one will be forgiven to conclude that many of them are reasonably young in political retirement and have rightful and justifiable political ambitions to lead the ANC and by extension SA, but has not yet been trusted to lead.


My last challenge with Pityana’s attitude I had hoped I would not venture, but my conscious would not allow me not to advance my take on such. Pityana perhaps confirmed the thin membrane of ambivalence in his public commenting on issues of leadership evidenced in ethnic interpretation.


I looked high and low for a public comment on the part of Mr. Pityana on the claims of a Mbeki Presidency that as is widely claimed oversaw the deaths of human lives placed as high as 380000, over his theorizing and denialist stance on the subject of HIV & AIDS at a crucial time when leadership was needed.


Certainly the moral rectitude of a Mr. Pityana as a crusader for a constitutional uphold ought to have lived and proved real when South Africans were told by a Minister of Health to eat beetroot and veggies to deal with the scourge of HIV& AIDS. I had thought Pityana’s crusade for a human rights ethic would have been recorded somewhere yet until now no public comment on this.


I equally thought that the events that defined the life of the AmaThembu King Dalyindebo in very lows who is currently serving a prison sentence, would have elicited a public opinion, comment, rebuke and berating of the King, yet as in the case of the former President of the ANC and SA, the silence on the part of Mr. Pityana is deafening.


I therefore am compelled to ask did Pityana not come from a somewhat ethnic informed mind when he thought it his right to speak from arguably the heart of Eastern Cape institutionalised intellectualism (Fort Hare) to address a president of another tribe who is not educated?


Can the case be made that Pityana with his attitude inadvertently but tacitly enforced old unscientific misbeliefs and ill-directed prisms of what it means to be Xhosa and Zulu in the historic reality of what we have been forced to believe from a blighted history?


It is not cynical to argue that it is no secret that Sipho Pityana and his older brother Rev. Professor Barney Pityana never had any regard for the 12th ANC president, the evidence of this is recorded, because they plausibly had worshipped the 11th ANC president one of their own. Equally Pityana as a middle aged African would never dare to be this instructive to his kin yet he takes latitude and invokes a right to be this way, perhaps because the one he addresses is the other.


Thus, Pityana had his moment in the Alice sun, and his finest moment in public description anchored on a false and mischievous evidence of constitutional breach on the part of the president.


He had his moment of moments on the bases of disrespecting a disciplined ANC member and leader with his ill-disciplined attitude. He equally had his second of fame at the expense of the ANC leadership.


He had his prime time in proverbial lights, camera, action presence in disrespecting the ANC its values and its principles of collective ownership of good bad and ugly of the ANC.


He had his minutes of fame on the back of a self-serving claim of being more equal than others only because he falsely represents a new structure and somewhat endangered species in the ANC namely, former senior officials.


Pityana had his finest moment gravely laced with an ambiguity of ethnicity as a plausible reality if his attack, patronising and instructive attitude to the sitting ANC leadership and its SA president are the assumed yardsticks.


So equally Pityana last week played his part on that same stage, he made his political entrance, he was the talk of town for a few days, he did so to be remembered and we certainly shall remember him for a very long time for this part. Unfortunately I will remember him as the one who proved ill-disciplined even uncouth and ethnic.


Respectfully submitted


Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator, Author and Writer












To recall, or not perhaps the wrong call!

To recall or not perhaps the wrong call!

It is said history repeats itself the first time in tragedy and the second in a farce. To recall is the drumbeat of some as January 2014, unfolds.This is the much publicized and vocalized debate in shades of murmur and public claim. Analysts sing this melody in advice to the ANC, their claim a recall will be good for the ANC.

The context for this recall claim in this season attests a conflicting premise.

I shall categorically advance here and now that when the ANC decided to recall Mbeki, it blundered. It did not blunder because Mbeki was right, it blundered not because there were no serious clouds gathering in a leadership that proved hostile, aloof and perhaps allergic to critique. Neither because there existed in the praxis for some legitimate grounds for such recall.


It blundered because it did not allow time to think about the ramifications for this organisation in stability, congruence, and visionary outlook.There was serious discontentment perhaps legitimate and perhaps driven by conjecture. Usually when the noise starts, it becomes difficult to discern between fact and fiction and the booing becomes the barometer of discontent.


Yet the ANC should never have recalled Mbeki, singularly because it rendered a fragile ANC more vulnerable and susceptible to agendas not welcomed in the ANC.The recalling of an Mbeki rendered the organisation in chasms of factions that always existed but not to the public degrees made visible in the ANC and its tripartite alliance.

In this season, there are again those who remonstrate, lobby, and motivate for a recall of another sitting president.

Whilst as in the case of Mbeki there were legitimate and emotional reasons for such, the ANC should have learned that recalling presidents does not help the movement but renders it weaker in the collective of its root cause.


Those obsessed with a recalling commit four errors:


Firstly, they failed to do an organizational analysis of the ANC pre and post recall of its sitting SA presidency. It did not ask for its hegemony index and thus its capacity to deliver with a fractured leadership adored by some and despised by others.


Secondly, they in convenience of comfort assume no collective responsibility for the mess the ANC finds itself. These have champions in the top leadership who are not held accountable instead; some are seen as the correct replacements for the sitting president. If we recall how this is done that when the organisation is run on a collective leadership as its guiding philosophy and praxis. Where is the joint responsibility of elected officials who defines this presidency?


Thirdly, they also fail to appreciate the material conditions for such recall is not exemplified in ANC presidency but in SA presidency thus a recall of the elected ANC president. Unlike the time with Mbeki in 2008 who at that the time of his recall was no longer the ANC president this new mooted recall will prove much more cumbersome and even more destructive to this movement.


In the fourth instance the propagators of recall does not sing from the same hymn.


There are quartets who sing from a forever-bruised image and ego of a past Polokwane, these want a recall of revenge, and will be happy with nothing less.


Secondly, there are those who hummm from a claim of mixed former ANCYL leadership embrace these have not yet made peace with the fact that that chapter is closed.


Then there are those who drums recall, from outside the ANC, be it analysts, media formations and the open letter brigade who almost wants to blackmail the ANC into doing what pleases them, blanketed in claim it is good for the ANC. The strange contradiction is they did not and will not in the foreseeable future vote ANC.


The ANC would have learned grave lessons from a Polokwane and a subsequent Mbeki recall, not because again Polokwane was wrong neither because Mbeki at the time inspired collective leadership but because the organisation in health suffered gravely and it has not healed from that pain until this time.


A recall is therefore not an emotional decision you assume in claim if we can just replace so and so with this one or that one and all will be smooth- sailing.


If the latter is the aim perhaps, we have missed again the issue of the collective healing of the organisation we claim to love to wither the challenges of this time.


It remains thus a short-sighted call for recall informed by emotion.


The ANC is more important than anyone is or individual we must desist creating an impression of two or three ANC’s.


If we seek to make recall our means of dealing with organisational fractures and chasms, we shall have these occur more as a norm than a phenomenon.


In the end to recall or not recall is not a decision in the interest of the organisation.

ANC Secretary General Position: Mantashe will get a second term uncontested !



The Road to Mangaung, exemplified in Presidential race has another dimension if the office of Secretary General comes into contention.


I have exhausted the presidential debate with my  unsolicited individual commentary of the four claimed contenders (Sexwale, Phosa, Motlanthe, and Zuma).


It is time to move on and take the position of Secretary General under the spotlight, that we may conclude the personality (individuals) issue and move on to discuss the real issues of policies to be reviewed and discussed at Mangaung.


I hold that we all spent too much time focussing on personalities instead of the much-needed engagement of the proposed policies.


Let me then conclude by focussing on the position of secretary general, which second to that of president is the much made of discourse of change if you listen to some.


The incumbent Gwede Mantashe former Chairperson of the SACP is occupying perhaps the de-facto CEO of the ANC position, arguably the most powerful individual in organisational context.


The debate around the office of the SG similar to the Presidency change debate engineered by ANCYL or should we says some of the ANCYL who have chosen to divide the ANC into factions for their own benefit.


The youth league has been brave enough to suggest they want the SG replaced, and substituted with one of their own, former ANCYL leader, Fikile Mbalula, whom they claim should step up and fill this position. Citing the history of such generational mix leadership firstly evident in the election of the late icon Walter Sisulu, who occupied this position at the tender age of 37 as the premise for such demand?


It is therefore perhaps time to assess Mantashe as Secretary General and the term he served.


Mantashe the former mine worker born in rural Eastern Cape Lower Cala in Transkei to be precise at some point in time worked in the Northern Cape mines has come a long way. This unionist, whose contribution in organised labour is very recorded and decorated is since 2007 occupying the seat of Secretary General of the ANC.


He brings together the combination of the workers interest, the plight of the poor yet he understands the macro realities informing our political economy and has an epistemology that deserves admiration to say the least.



1. Very few people may want to know but Mantashe holds a Master’s degree of postgraduate qualification from Wits University, besides his B. Comm (Hons) from UNISA obtained in 2002. This in a country that is obsessed with political leadership  exemplified in degrees of decoration, as a sign of true capacity to lead. This should silence all those who argue the current leadership bereft of intellectual capacity.


2. Mantashe known for his frankness of opinion proves at times controversial for the media to contain, for he airs the prism of his mind even on thorny issues. This has set him apart from many. Yet anyone that leads an organisation like the ANC and have to contend with a plethora of issues  from within and equally from oppositional disposition must prove frank, for ambiguity can be a sign of weak leadership.


3. Mantashe, in his term had to deal with the expectations of the assortment of the wounded who came together for a variety of reasons and agendas and he quickly placed the interest of the ANC above that of the individual ambitions of many who thought Polokwane meant an opportunity to also move closer to the trough.


4. Mantashe managed in a very difficult season of his term to prove his leadership in instituting disciplinary procedures. There will be those who will attempt to give it a spin of factionalism, which remains an opaque claim, but no one, can argue there is a better sense of organizational discipline as we speak in the ANC in November 2012 than a year ago. He too this day defends the decision to institute disciplinary action against the former ANCYL leader Julius Malema, this whilst his colleague and deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is on record for believing the opposite.


5. Mantashe, shares the glory of an expanded ANC in membership sense. If and since the ANC has grown in leaps and bounds and exceeds the 1million target set for itself Mantashe can rightfully claim that in comparison to his predecessor current Deputy President Motlanthe he has led the process of growing the ANC.


6. Mantashe goes to Mangaung having left his claimed youth league nominee Min. Fikile Mbalula in the dust. Mbalula who now practically rejected by the vocal and manoeuvring Gauteng ANC Leadership seems to playing Russian roulette with his own political future. The latest slates reveal that Gauteng has had many mind shifts for they started with Mbalula then groped for a Joel Netshitenze now they have Mantashe as their preferred candidate for SG at Mangaung. This speaks volumes for he has entrenched himself in uniqueness as one who simply cannot be replaced at whim predicated on the contribution he has made.


7. Mantashe’ is at times accused of a sense of reactionary behaviour manifested for some  inconsiderate lending him as an authoritarian, yet whilst that in my assessment possibly may be a characteristic trademark of the person (let us not forget he at one stage would have been like so many others a candidate to be priest of vocation).


The truth is the position of SG is one where many fights and wars rage against the movement its leaders, policies, and it warrants a SG to be vocal and at time authoritative if, leadership is required.


8. Mantashe’s term as secretary general has seen no claimed business shenanigans performed or engaged by his office, at least as reported. He therefore has respected the office of the Secretary General by not making it a wheel-deal office with personal benefit as the core.


We know that for example the Treasurer General is a businessperson and conducts business whilst serving in his position of Treasurer General (I am not saying he is conducting business from his  TG office). One is not sure if the ANC will develop a clear policy for  its officials being involved directly in business at a later stage, but currently its remains open-ended. That is a topic for another day.


9. The credit for a successful Policy conference in preparation of Mangaung is another shared feather in the cap of Mantashe’s leadership as Secretary General. This though the policy development process resorts under the chairperson of the policy subcommittee, Jeff Radebe, in a collective sense ultimately Mantashe similar to the President can claim a role in the success of such.


Despite the wild claims of how divided the ANC purports to be policy conferences often is a true indication of where the organisation finds itself.


The last policy conference of July, vocal as it always is delivered critical policy considerations for the ANC to discuss and conclude on at Mangaung. The managing of this process is therefore another reason why the current SG will stay in power.


10. Under Mantashe’s leadership as SG, the ANC is listening to opinion makers, intellectuals, and people who shape discourse in the SA political canvas. The current intervention led by Thami-Ka Plaatje to make the ANC more accessible to the intellectuals is a commendable effort, which again shows foresight on the part of Mantashe as a proactive leader willing to learn from those who may not agree with the ANC.  (As one who participated in  the last session at the Soweto – University Johannesburg  Campus, it proved a cross-breed of diverse views and ideologies gathering to engage the policy platforms for a Mangaung reality)


11. Under Mantashe, the ANC continues its agreed reach out programme to the “minorities” by engaging a multiplicity of groups of various definitions. We have seen concerted efforts to engage the Afrikaner communities, we have seen engagements with the Khoi-San leaderships, we have seen engagements with groups of people of right or wrongly Coloured definitions. This confirms the ANC in its DNA a sensitive organization and under the SG leadership of Mantashe, this principle lives.


12. The Mantashe SG leadership saw a fierce defence of the president for some myopically interpreted as a defence of Jacob Zuma the person, yet those who advance the latter fails to accept that an attack on the presidency constitutes a de facto attack on the ANC and such must be challenged regardless who the president may be. So rightly Mantashe led the campaign against the much made of Brett Murray claimed art. Equally so,  Mantashe defended the sitting democratically elected ANC leadership when Malema and others proved disrespectful.


13. Mantashe feared not to reprimand the Treasurer General Matthews Phosa on his divisive tendencies, exposing chasms of divides.


14. He rightly challenged the Top 6 and 80 plus members of the ANC to respect the principle of Collective leadership and to accept the successes and failures of this current ANC leadership as their own and quit blaming one person conveniently in selective amnesia sense.


16. Mantashe as SG proved frank on the subject of a claimed BEE entitlement subculture that has shaped the canvas of black empowerment in a wrongful sense. He did this to the annoyance of some involved as black business when he honestly ask the question as to why building a school costs 4/5 more if a black company builds it then a white company.


This in my assessment starts an honest discourse as to how BEE is enslaving many to entitlement and an abuse of state resources.


17. Mantashe realising and possibly advised saw the need to step down from the position of SACP chairperson to focus whole-heartedly on the ANC work; this was a brave but commendable move because he was not doing justice to the SACP office since the office of SG proves very demanding. Maybe he like all has his own rightful ambitions, and has made that move conscious of such.


18. Mantashe has consistently maintained the ANC as one ANC and not factions of groups constituting the ANC in division. Yet he was honest in conceding that factionalism is gnawing at the ANC, with self-interest as the fuel for such.


19. The Secretary General’s report which really is a progress report of the implementation of the adopted last conference policies would attest that the Polokwane resolutions a type of KPA for the office of the SG in implementation remains on track and there has been no serious deviation.


20. Five weeks before the claimed Mangaung of Revenge ( which I have long said nothing will come of), there is no conclusive evidence to suggest Mantashe will not serve his second term. His youth nominee simply is no challenger and Mbalula finds himself in the hell-hole of questioning, betrayal, rejection and serious potential of being off loaded from his cabinet post by January 2013.


Therefore, the SG will be retained without any challenge! The truth and not emotion would confirm there was never a contest for this office.


Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Courtesy ‘Road to Mangaung – Pretenders to the Throne’

December 8, 2012



The Union of Opposition – a Marred Unity !

Recently there were mutterings of a call to unify the opposition to counter and thus dislodge the ANC from what some believe is too powerful a space and seat it occupies.
Though this is a new initiative its newness is not ostensibly born from a uniqueness for this idea had been mooted immediately  after the first 1994 elections. It’s newness is derived from the perceived drivers of such notion.
I am on record for having defined the DA and ID coming together a marriage of convenience. A matrimony in which the DA, is in love with the concept of oppositionalism in which it see itself as the male figure in such matrimony.
The DA & ID union exemplified arguably in two of the most powerful women in SA politics delivered a same-sex union that naturally can’t produce after their own except by adoption. This DA dream has now become the desire of COPE and other small parties, not for the purist of reasons.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the political aim of dislodging a ruling party for in democracy by any means legally that is embraced, allowed for and welcomed. Yet the primary motive for a confederation of parties to soldier together to unseat is less original nor pure.
The Union of Opposition is less honest with all of us for it is yet to admit that the South African voter have not trusted them be it in individual or  combined opposition setting. Notwithstanding the victories and growth shown by particularly the DA and COPE, it has not yet won the SA voters nor was it able to table a overarching conglomerated vision for SA which is  sold to the SA voting constituency.
The challenge for the Union lies in itself, any time people come together with no lasting common purpose it is bound to destroy itself in pursuance of what they deem their purpose.
This union brings together parties like the ACDP, who started with Christian as the base, but have gradually slipped into Democratic as its base. From its strong uncompromised stand of Christian values against abortion etc, same sex marraige anti-lobby, it became a mouthpiece for violence in justice in advocating and eye for an eye of death penalty call.
This union brings together the likes of the UDM, a dwindling two representative in parliament embrace “party” whose leader claims a space in bantustan definition as Chief. Often arrogating powers and rights that cannot be corroborated by voters trust.
This union brings together, a virtually dead Inkatha Freedom Party who beside being annihilated by the ANC’s growth had been obliterated by the formation of Msibi’s NFP. The  NFP has buried the IFP, who in the last  three national elections has decisively slid into ever decreasing numbers of voter confidence even having its root base of Kwa Zulu Natal stripped from it.
It brings together a COPE, which is is still court ruled in a litany of court cases of counterclaims exemplified in Shilowa and Lekota factions.
Perhaps some will ask why do call it Lekota’s Call?
I shall first deal with what I choose to call “the Lekota call” which resulted in a preliminary meeting of a cohort of parties defined as the opposition.  Lekota in his personal ambitious drive for attaining political power the same he never obtained in the ANC and is found questionable  in the COPE factionalized party, has not  waved goodbye to such dream of possibly running SA.
Lekota  is in a revolving door that got stuck, clearly  he cannot and may never return to the ANC, not because such would not welcome him back but because his personal ego is too big for such.
Secondly he cannot rightly claim the COPE leadership which has been for the last thirty two months embroiled in court-case  definition with unpredictable outcomes. Anybody who knows Terror will attest that he is like a proverbial bulldog that seldom retreats, if his mind is made up it’s made up and he sees blue if it is red. He now seeks to capitalise on the lack of coherent opposition politics who yet has to find a way to trounce the ANC, by posting as the savior or face of such opposition.
Lekota sees this as a prime opportunity to facilitate a gathering of all opposition parties for he is convinced that only a cohort of agreed strategy can persuade the voters in future elections to move away from the ANC.
Perhaps what justifiably could have been a proven  claim emanates from the  fact that COPE  and the DA scored interesting victories in the last national elections and the numbers shown then if it remained static shows inroads, however the truth is the factionalised state of COPE has seen members leaving in droves and simply cannot claim such voters base anymore.
With courtcases still brewing and it’s outcomes unknown, it makes perfect sense to look for greener pastures at least as far as Lekota is concerned.
Yet to look at Lekota alone to understand the confederation of opposition parties, is not mutually exclusive for him alone, but reflects as mirror for the smaller ones too.
The error of the union is that they do not come together informed by policy convictions, a hope to carve our a constructive future for SA, but the premise is and always will remain the ANC. Typical Oppositional politics are informed led and designed by a the presence of a ruling ANC. If the alliance of union is cemented it is cemented in pet hate of ANC.
This union or alliance of oppoistion merely serves as lifeline to ever dwindling smaller parties represented in parliament by one or two people.
The reason why ACDP, UDM, IFP and who knows else need this alliance is informed by nothing but their leaders personal political survival. Hence the voters are not up for consideration it’s more the leaders that make up the parties defined as opposition.
Another reason behind the Alliance of Opposition is Helen Zille’ personal dream to lead and ultimately rule SA.
Zille if she could her way would have wanted the Western Cape as a country on its own.  We therefore can envisage the union of opposition to have a bumpy ego laced manifested in testosterone  and estrogen flows galore. One thing is certain their motives for coming the ANC is not pure and though constitutional democracy affords and embrace a multiparty state they with this union intends creating super -opposition against a majority  ruled SA of ANC.
Their intentions is not pure hence the ideals cannot be noble and in praxis it will die a natural death usurped by the egos of those who are inebriated with a score to settle, less of voter leading or interest, but personal interest. I would love to see Lekota, Zille, Holomisa, Meshoe and Buthelezi ever submitting to one another, their egos will never allow that.
Clyde N. Ramalaine
Independent Observer

Road to Mangaung: Motlanthe a serious candidacy marred in vengeance of birth !


–          A nomination which will come with  poison chalice alliances, weaved in mistrust, that may tear anytime –

As we move swiftly to the October date of open nominations for ANC presidency which sets the seen for Manguang in December, I have taken it upon myself to advance why the main contenders for the position of President may or may not make it. I have in two previous instalments attempted to argue why Tokyo Sexwale’s individual campaign for high office will fail and why Matthew Phosa, the dark horse’s one legged campaign will remain a dark horse.

Today we turn our focus to Kgalema Motlanthe, perhaps the most serious contender to be nominated against the incumbent. We will look at his campaign, strategy, message and style. Out of such we shall ask can the declared hope of the fractured Youth League unseat  Jacob Zuma.

Motlanthe, former Secretary General of the ANC, deputy president of the ANC and South Africa, the brief hot seat-holder president of 7 -months before a Zuma took over, proves a very interesting character.

If Motlanthe today represents the hope of those who believe change is a must, the question must be ask from where this conviction of his campaigners?

Motlanthe remains perhaps the only president in SA embrace whose personal life proved a secret when he entered the hot seat and remained such secret until he left the same seat. Motlanthe is seen as a very private person, who is considered by many depending who you talk to when and where the closest thing to an Mbeki left in the ANC.  This privacy aspect of Motlanthe makes him a dicey character, not many know his Faith persuasion  although he at one point in his life considered the priesthood as vocation.

An Anglican former altar boy of Christian Faith persuasion he like many in the ANC share these strong religious backgrounds that shaped his thinking. What I just shared is not common knowledge for many, who are still struggling to know more of this private man.

The challenge of privacy if interpreted in this sense for a leader resonates in this that people want to feel a sense of owning, knowing and claiming  their president, if we understand the president of SA to be the ANC president. On the one hand he remains a mystery for many, and people don’t do well with mysteries.

  • Motlanthe the former Robben Islander is rightly or wrongly considered the current meridian of organisational sense, for some he is seen as a bridge-builder, one who has earned the respect of a cross- breed of those who constitute the decision makers if we may argue a sector based presence of influence.  He represents an almost avuncular presence for some. His credentials speak for itself in tripartite alliance context,  as one who was trusted to serve as the predecessor of the current Secretary General.

                Let us now turn to his campaign,

  • Motlanthe has shown due respect for the party processes as it relates to the upcoming elective conference. When I argue that, I am attempting to say, he unlike a Sexwale has resisted the temptation to be hoodwinked into showing his hand in media embrace. He opted to restrain himself from steering the subject matter of a future leadership in overtly attacking the incumbent, at least before the official Nomination process set for October 2012.
  • Motlanthe equally, therefore it can be claimed, honoured the selfless agenda of putting the movement above personal interest. He understands very well this subculture in the ANC that defines leadership as a privileged opportunity and not a right. Anything else could be interpreted as careerist move. Again something Tokyo Sexwale can learn from this ANC leader.
  • Motlanthe has attempted to craft the content of his campaign around policy matters. Recognising the significance of policy decisions as that which constitute the essence of development to define  the famous National Democratic Revolution touted at times in a silly manner by some. An indication of this was his public questioning of the construct of Second Transition. As much as very little changed in ultimate adoption at the policy conference, Motlanthe here clearly made himself the face of consciousness for the central thought of where the ANC should be going. It could be argued that he raised the issue, for two distinct reasons, 1. To claim the space as one who can question and therefore direct, notwithstanding the fact that he could have felt outsmarted by Zuma who by pronouncing on a Second Transition theme, seemed to  be setting the tone in leadership. 2. He also raised this issue to punch in typical Mbeki sense at the SACP, whose role clearly after Polokwane has grown in stature and influence in ANC leadership. He used to opportunity to advance justified reason for a distinction between ANC and SACP and the roles these played in cadre development. He did this almost claiming a right to know the ideological parenthesis of both organisation and the nexus of such congruence in historical definition.
  • Motlanthe will not start his campaign in October 2012, but some of us have been arguing he has been on this elongated campaign for over two years. Some will argue he has been campaigning with different intensities since Mbeki lost at Polokwane. He has delivered a number of key speeches for a variety of constituencies over this period, one particular speech was at Wits, which I dubbed the clearest indication yet that he was running.
  • Motlanthe’s campaign has a central message, supported by a theme. His theme is the issue of corruption, his message a new approach that inculcates a morality mirrored in  civic education awareness programmes to be incorporated in education syllabus. His choice of the hot subject of corruption finds good ears and equally good support because the aggregate argument advanced by those who claim to know and those who  do not know is that SA is a corruption infested country, and such corruption is immanent in government procurement actions and services. Motlanthe therefore notwithstanding the fact that Zuma’s government can be considered the only true government in Post-Apartheid context to have literally acted against corrupt officials and ministers with this major theme argues I will deal with corruption in my term when I am afforded a chance to serve.
  • Motlanthe notwithstanding the fact that his educational background beyond his high schooling in Orlando Soweto is not known has managed to position himself as last frontier of intellectual thought in the ANC. In a climate where we are often told, the intellectual thought development in the ANC is waning and has departed, at least if the weekly ‘analysis’ of Xolele Mangcu, Prince Mashele, Mcebisi Ndletyana, Sibusiso Ndebele and others is taken serious. We may argue the veracity and validity of such from various angles and corners, what cannot be argued is the foresight he had in proving clever to capitalise on this vacant space. He seemed to have stepped right into the vacant space left by the departure of Mbeki.  He has neatly crafted himself as the one to occupy the space left with the departing of Mbeki. We must still see if he truly represents the loci of intellectual meridian or if he is claiming shoes bigger than what may suit him. The fact is in politics a good politician can see gaps and spaces left and seizes upon those for his cause, this Motlanthe in my opinion has done successfully.
  • Motlanthe, early on courted the ANCYL Youth League, he understood the importance of the youth league not because it is a bigger constituency but because it has a sentimental claim of kingmaker – status, a claim in my view Zuma has shown as over-exaggerated if not vacuous. In an earlier note I penned I argued that his first task to facilitate the ANCYL case with Ruben Masoga’s claims against Malema, was handled with one eye on his personal political future. It is my view that though Motlanthe back then arbitrated informed by the interest of the Movement, he clearly sold himself to Malema, when he vindicated Malema in what many thought was a justified case raised by Masoga.
  • If Motlanthe today has the support of the Youth League we may ask what Youth League and the answer reverberates, Malema’s Youth League. As Zuma’s star in Youth League eyes faded, Motlanthe’s star was rising as he became the popular leader requested by the Youth League to deliver their keynote addresses. At many of these gatherings he was called and referred as the president in waiting. At one such gathering in the dying days of Malema’s leadership of the ANCYL, members were seen sporting T-shirts with Motlanthe’s face and the designation president blazoned across.  Again Motlanthe, proved selfless when he rebuked them for doing such.  In  most cases Motlanthe the wise politician carefully used these platforms not to rebuke the youth but to sound very conciliatory towards the Youth. If you ask me as  a shrewd politician he knew how important it was to claim the Youth as his constituency, though he was part of the very ANC top leadership who lodged the cases against Malema and his cohorts. Motlanthe managed to remain the darling of Malema’s Youth, as the hate for Zuma began to mount in youth articulation. Motlanthe clearly enjoys the idea of being the preferred ANCYL choice, who would not pay for such free marketing in an election year.  Yet Malema’s Youth league is not a sustainable constituency for it seems to be a historical league and equally made promises to many others including Motlanthe, Sexwale, Phosa and Mashatile among others.
  • Perhaps the biggest threat is Malema is no more, and he has become a liability for those who wanted to maximise on this young man’s ‘popularity’ in some circles. His insulting and continual castigation of Zuma’s leadership began to prove less aimed at Zuma but the ANC leadership. Provincial structures of the ANCYL began to distance themselves from Malema’s influence and absent -presence in a Ronald Lamola. Motlanthe however as a politician still counts the monopoly poker chips this highly directionless even leaderless Youth league offers.
  • Motlanthe is a former NUM ( National Union of Mineworkers) member, having served this labour fraternity as secretary general.  His entrance into mainstream politics in ANC context is therefore in recent sense paved from the labour context. This on the cuff proves a major plus because of the strong presence of organised labour in Alliance embrace. Yet it is not an outright guarantee as a finalised unilateral constituency of a Motlanthe. At best it can be accepted that he will muster some support from some sectors of the labour fraternity represented in the COSATU fold. When we say that we are saying COSATU is not anyone candidates claim but Zuma has secured a very solid block of support and Motlanthe will have to work for more support. COSATU has its own serious divisions immanent in personality politics who all seek to determine a final COSATU endorsed ANC candidate. Vavi is on record to be opposed to a second term for the incumbent, yet his boss Dlamini has a long time ago nailed his Zuma support colours to the mast.
  • Motlanthe, cannot count on the support or the influential SACP block, he has done enough to stir the ire of this group and will struggle to secure their support, for they have made known the support for a second term for Zuma. Motlanthe therefore knows that his similar antics of what could be considered Mbeki’s stance has not endeared him to the SACP.
  • Motlanthe, will battle to secure the Women’s League vote, though this league like all formations of the ANC  proves not monolithic a constituency, it is known to make their choice for candidacy in one voice. Motlanthe with his perhaps correct stance on the Limpopo books scandal has taken his sight clearly to Minister Angie Motshekga. The challenge is Motshekga is the president of the Women’s League, meaning the less volatile of the three leagues, could be stirred into a split in deciding on its preferred candidacy. It could be a very tactical move on the part of Motlanthe to take the fight to Angie Motshekga with the hope of forcing Zuma’s hand to fire her, which could give him a potential inroad as he dislodges the perceived hold Zuma has of this constituency. This may prove a precarious strategy which could backfire for if Zuma digs in his heels and the Women’s League decides to close ranks around their leader, Motlanthe may prove an outright loser for this constituency, yet there is no error in attempting.
  • Motlanthe’s campaign will capitalise on the somewhat clear divisions in the military Veterans League. Recent public statements from the League has seen some like  Chairperson Kebby Mphatsoe condemn the behaviour of the ANCYL and its expelled leader for his vitriolic and insuling attacks on the ANC president, while others like Sejake are on record demanding a change of ANC leadership at Mangaung. The politics in the Veterans League is real marred by claims and counter claims of financial abuse, and as we move forward more and more  dirty linen will be aired. It can be said that both Zuma and Motlanthe have backers in the League, what is not sure by what margin  Zuma has secured the edge, because the leadership of the Leaugue did attempt to sanction Sejake for his comments.
  • Motlanthe’s campaign needs the blessing  and support of the Office of the Secretary General, the secretary general serves as the de facto CEO of the organisation and  is at the heart of the organisations communication, the office  represents the harness and critical cog of branch vetting, information sharing and all organisational and management issues. Motlanthe will know all too well the importance of this office in the election process. It can be said Motlanthe has not proven a friend to Gwede Mantashe who remains accused by the Youth as a co-conspirator to bring the charges against the Youth League leaders. Motlanthe’s pereceived  ambivalence on the NDC &NDCA processes remains noted. Also Zuma has managed to have a good  relationship with the SG.
  • It is common cause that it is the branches of the ANC that will elect the ANC leadership which to a large extend becomes the leadership of South Africa. These branches make up provinces in geographical definition which is from where we derive a sense of which provinces may support whose candidacy. I have in adumbrated sense attempted to look at these provinces and how they potentially may vote.

1.1  It is commonly accepted that Motlanthe cannot count on Kwa Zulu Natal (the most powerful in numbers) Province. This Province has long made their choice known and such choice was not for Motlanthe

1.2 He also cannot count on the Eastern Cape, who represents a strong but fractured province. Fractured because it remains a contested terrain, which it is said Zuma can claim he has more than the edge at this stage. It also is an area that Sexwale’s individual campaign targeted to win over as his potential constituency. I still hold Motlanthe has work to do beat Zuma in this province.

1.3 Free State, it is said remains a Zuma endorsed province and though there are pockets of resistance, in the final analysis it will prove immaterial for a Zuma defeat. Motlanthe cannot fish too much in this pond.

1.4 Northern Cape, the smallest in representation has because of its youth league proven very vocally defiant, yet Block won and it is argued he is hurt because it is claimed he is being pursued with the current cases levelled against him. Motlanthe can most probably count on a better part of the province’s support, yet his campaign theme of anti-corruption may suffer if he is seen to cosy up to Block. In the end it’s a gamble he will have to make and it is one of those he may be able to offload easily if the court case is permitted to run its cause.

1.5  The North-West Province is a challenging province for many reasons, besides being the pothole-infested province with large sections of its road – infrastructure corroded away and in a generally dilapidated state. The province is arguably another of the corrupt ones, wrought with infighting and perhaps the worst scandal the convicted killing of a politician by another, proves another dead race for both Zuma and Motlanthe. Another element that proves important for wrong or right reasons is the premier Thandi Modise.

As deputy -secretary general she is a member of the top 5, and is considered an unhappy premier, who in all likelihood would rally in support behind a Motlanthe campaign. Again Modise is under much pressure with a province riddled with corruption, tender irregularities, political insights and a convicted politician murder, some have begun to call for her political head.

This may not necessarily help the Mr. Clean of corruption campaign Motlanthe want to be known for. He may decide which I think he will to accept the support of Modise and whatever she still has control over in the province as it relates to constituency.  This I do not think will guarantee any majority by any stretch of the imagination, because Modise has lost the gravitas of her support. I would give Zuma a slight edge over him in North West.

1.6  Limpopo, the province that delivered for Zuma at Polokwane may prove Motlanthe’s strongest support if the conflated support of Mathale and Malema plus Motlanthe’s tribal background holds sway. The issue of tribalism surfaced during  Mbeki’s administration when it was often  accused  as the Xhosa – Nostra.  Now under Zuma as accused by his detractors  we hear of the Zulu -Kingdom ( Nkandla), this in my view could easily become the Pedi- Caddy or get a Tswana – Twang. I am saying this to argue tribalism is not new and as much as some want to level that against others when it suits them, they too fall prey of being accused for al leaders come from tribal settings and easily could be defined by such for wrong or right reasons. The ANC remains a non tribal party and Movement, but it cant deny the realities of the excated claims immanent in personalities.

1.7 Western Cape, province is also one of the smaller provinces in comparison KZN and Eastern Cape. The province known for its ugly and perennial leadership squabbles be it at PEC or ANCYL level, where conferences liberally are cancelled because numbers were not attained, is a difficult constituency to assess, particularly because the province remains South Africa’s only province controlled in governance not by the ANC. The province is an open contest and I  am of the view that Motlanthe cannot claim it as a done deal, instead I think Zuma has reasonable control over it and can claim if there is today a sense of stability in leadership it is because of the presence of the current Provincial Leader Marius Fransman , who equally serves as Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations. This could give Zuma the slight edge if not more of an advantage en-route to  Mangaung.

1.8 Gauteng, as a Province similar to Limpopo it can be argued is in support of a Motlanthe nomination. Gauteng as led by Paul Mashatile has nailed its colours to the mast a long time ago, when it even attempted to persuade the nomination process to have an early start. Yet Gauteng is not a done deal because depending on where you are it reflects support for both Zuma and Motlanthe. Gauteng Central with its strong Midrand- claimed ‘think tank’ is Motlanthe’s yet Gauteng East is Zuma’s and the Tshwane area it is said Zuma has a lead in support and Motlante will have to do catch up work. We will remember how Motlanthe very recently in Soshanguve failed to draw a crowd to listen to his speech, this when the area is claimed to be his stronghold.

Yet I hold Motlanthe if he teams up with a Sexwale (one of the potential  poison chalices he may have to drink) may secure the majority of support in Gauteng. The only challenge with this is he may only serve one term, because Sexwale will not wait for two terms.

1.9 Mpumalanga, former erstwhile political power zone of ANC Treasurer General Matthews Phosa, with David Mabuza’s  win the Zuma ticket may claim the province yet the machinery of lobbying is hard at work to revive the old and former support Phosa had to bring to the table if and when a deal needs to be made. It can be expected that Phosa will use his support here and the Youth League to barter a position by choosing to back a Motlanthe candidacy. Phosa knows how to divide anyone’s power and make his power count in that, he may never be the main contender but he always will have a say, he is perhaps another poisonous chalice that an aspiring Motlanthe will have to cut a deal with, we not sure what the payback requirements will be because nothing is for free.

  1. Motlanthe has more challenges counting against him than what meets the eye. here are a few:

1.1  The challenge is there are no ideological differences between Motlanthe and Zuma. This reduces the campaign to a personality issue more than a fundamental ideological perspective that necessarily will prove earth shattering once he comes to power should he succeed as some claim he will.

1.2 In party sense, there are no overt differences on the policies of the ANC, the most recent policy conference items in principle agreed to conclude the items to incorporate the aspects the Youth League raised though not fully or in the sense exactly as they advanced it.

1.3 He must prove careful not to be seen to have been made by the Malema Youth League who may come back and demand of him for example nationalisation when that is not ANC policy.

1.4The critical question he must contend with is ‘why is this Youth League nominating me as a replacement for Zuma is my nomination in vengeance or because they believe I will do something different’. The jury remains out as to whether he will conclude his candidacy  stands in its own shadow, or in a shadow of Zuma – Anger, to be settled in what I have consistently termed a ‘Promised Mangaung of Revenge’.  It would be wrong to narrowly define his candidacy through the short-lived anger, tit-for-tat emotional claim.

1.5 In organisational sense depending who you speak to he is seen as one who cannot be trusted. Known for playing his cards close to his chest, may be questionable in loyalty as both the Mbeki and Zuma candidacies found. He it was said joined the Zuma side at a politically brutal and bloody Polokwane very late.

1.6 He often is regarded as one who lacks the will to fight, which makes him a not trusted candidate by others who would have preferred him raising his hand early.

1.7 He could be compromised by the latent anger of those who comprises those still mad with the departure of an Mbeki, who felt they lost the control, power and the very access to resources the same the now accuse others of corruption. He should not try and fight Mbeki’s fights as some may want him to engage in.

1.8The current publicised Iran deals of his girlfriend Gugu Mtshali, while not proven purports to show traces of irresponsibility potentially corruption, a flouting of SA policy directives by those who claim to have represented Ms. Mtshali in the claimed R10million bribery story. Motlanthe acted quickly by calling on the Public Protector to investigate and rule on such.  It is expected that the Public Protector will release her preliminary report by the end of this week. This is considered by many as his firm commitment to even subject himself to scrutiny, which is a good sign of leadership, yet he takes a serious gamble because if the claims are verified and the apparent flight tickets were secured and recordings confirm the solicitation of the R10million bribe, where will it leave him,  but to step aside because ultimately her sin if proven would be transposed on to him, and his campaign with its corruption theme will stand naked.

1.9The second aspect of this claimed corruption is that with a known history now of ANCYL leaders, turning on those they have preferred, the case can be made that should he secure the seat, he may be finding himself like Zuma questioned about this very Iran claimed corruption deal. Zuma’s sins flow from the lips of those who once pledge a loyalty to him. Even forgotten stuff features when people get angry.

1.10         His campaign if secured will be claimed by a Malema absent-present leadership as their victory, meaning he will be compelled to argue for the reinstatement of Malema.  Malema in an interview in London last week arrogantly asserted he will be back once Zuma is gone at Polokwane. I am one of those who hold, Zuma has done not just himself a favour by showing leadership to have Malema expelled, but he has equally helped whoever will win at Mangaung because if Malema stays expelled the new incumbent will breathe a sigh of great relief, not having to deal with a Malema. Maybe somebody later will quietly thank Zuma for this.

1.11           Motlanthe, though apparently attempting to run his campaign informed by a policy base contention, truthfully cannot claim such policy as his because policy development in the ANC is a collective initiative in which no individual can claim it is his/hers. The critical point I wish to make here is that his campaign may purport to be a policy base one but on close examination prove vague if at all truly informed by such policy base.

1.12          He came late to the Zuma side of the fence in a sense of reluctance, yet compelled because of his personal ambition. He proves an enigma for many constituencies in the ANC. This may make those who has prerogative to decide on leadership, to ask can we trust this man.

1.13          The alliances that he will need to form to secure his seat, may compromise his personal value-system. We all remember how he once chided Sexwale during the Polokwane elections in saying paraphrased sense ‘one is not a leader just because you stand in front and talk’. Equally he may have to agree with people to form united front topple Zuma, and find himself toppled by the same that went into alliance with him. As the lists are being populated the focus cannot be for him ALL BUT ZUMA, for even if Zuma loses Motlanthe will not be guaranteed an easy ride.

1.14 Motlanthe as deputy president of ANC and SA, cannot be absolved from the claims levelled against a Zuma administration, if the organisation is in crises, he is the second in command, the question is what did he do? If the Government is in state of flux, and books are not delivered, and tender systems in Limpopo are abused until the Province is bankrupt, where was he as the second in command? Yes the buck stop with the Zuma, but there is a conjoined responsibility at both Organisational and National Government level that he and those who serve with Zuma share. This brings me to the fundamental question: from what wells of comfort do those drink who believe a Motlanthe candidacy will prove the stark opposite of what we currently share, for he is equally accountable for the organisational factions and for allowing some of this spill into government?

In conclusion, it is a known fact that if Motlanthe has any dream of unseating Zuma at Mangaung he will firstly need to raise his hand and garner all the support. This literally means he will be compelled to form alliances some of utter discomfort with people whom he may not trust, who equally do not regard him as trustworthy.

These alliances may prove poisoned chalices as was visible for a Zuma first term election could prove unholy, controlling and costly when personal ambitions began to dictate and impatience and manifest in him becoming the object of questioning in leadership.

We have seen how quick the tables can turn on an incumbent, so after Mbeki no president is guaranteed a second term regardless what popularity he/she may enjoy at this juncture. Motlanthe it must be said is running a reasonable clean campaign, respecting the elections processes of the ANC. He adopts the saviour mind-set not overtly attacking Zuma yet attempting to make his campaign a policy based one.

Perhaps the biggest challenge with Motlanthe’s preferred candidacy as led, called for and insisted by the Malema led ANCYL is the fact that it taints a strong candidate,  and renders his candidacy almost not authentic but one borne from a hate for the current incumbent –  Zuma, which if we can learn from the Mbeki experience simply do not hold.

If one nominates a leader one must be convinced in the absence of everything else why one moves for such candidacy, anytime it originates from a bitterness of another, the likelihood is a precedent is created for a repeat of history. As the saying go, ‘history repeats itself the first time in a farce the second in tragedy’

In the end I hold Motlanthe will have no choice but to accept to stand in nomination, he will be forced to enter into alliances that could be in the end his very undoing, he will go to Mangaung and find out that the incumbent  Jacob Zuma was well prepared for his onslaught and equally to task to stymie this nomination, possibly marking the end of a strong candidate Motlanthe in leadership contest, for after Jacob G. Zuma’s second term the issue of a Women’s president will gain momentum and be it for sentimental or real reasons, we may see after 2017 the first woman ANC President, arguably Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator

This article courtesy: ‘Tradewinds are Blowing’ – Political Commentary and Musings

(Due October 2012)

August6, 2012

Why Phosa, the dark horse’s one legged ‘campaign’ for Mangaung won’t cut it!!

 – the Youth League as single divisible constituency is not enough for  a Mangaung, confidence –

The ANC conference of Mangaung organised for December 2012 is seen by some as an expected repeat of Polokwane, whilst others argue nothing will come of the much promised “Mangaung of Revenge”. In the up run to this elective conference where both ANC and SA political leadership is decided, I have taken it upon myself to look at the possible candidates for ANC presidency. In my first instalment of such assessment I dealt with Tokyo Sexwale, who perhaps is the most vocal and overt candidate judging by his media presence and utterances.

This article looks at Matthews Phosa, current serving Treasurer General of the ANC  and widely dubbed the dark horse for such position.

We will look at his campaign, his strategy, his utterances and his chances to make it to the summit of ANC presidency.

Phosa, the attorney by profession originally from what is called Mpumalanga, has consistently been around from the days of Mbeki’s election. When I argue around I am saying he was always in contention for wrong or right reasons. The former premier of Mpumalanga with back then a very close association of the ANCYL, BEE entrepreneur, poet, friendly to Afrikaner-Whites and in some way avuncular personality has played his role in the removal of Mbeki. He was duly rewarded to serve as  the Treasurer General of the ANC at Polokwane,  yet he purports an interesting but strange fellow.

We will attempt to look at Phosa’s personal campaign and what it communicates to argue why he should or would not make it.

1. To argue Phosa is on presidential campaigning pursuit can easily be shot down as bathroom analysis, because on the cuff it appears there is no visible campaigning on his part. This proves even more obdurate when you compare him with for example a Sexwale and Motlanthe. I hold those who argue Phosa is not campaigning or in the run fails to closely examine him historically and more recently in ANCYL trouble with its mother body.

2.   Phosa has perhaps become the most controversial Top 6 position holder of the ANC leadership in recent times. Controversial because it appears at most of the time when it concerns the Youth League, he proves less discerning and somewhat blind in his support for them. He also is always cited as representative of that which constitutes the opposite of what is defined as current ANC leadership, at least in the eyes of the Youth League. Phosa with a razor sharp mind, it must be expected will prove wise to analyse the various angles of the Youth League saga, yet it appears his support is blinded by something else.

3. Phosa appears held immured by a historic position of using ANCYL members to wage ones campaign.  Those who know will attest the role the ANCYL has played in the selection of ANC leadership in pre and post apartheid context. Such role played has wrongly allowed them to claim an entitlement of ‘kingmaker-status’. We need not seek far and wide to know that often when the Youth League leaders around 20007/2008  barked out their passionate hate for Mbeki in the up run to Polokwane, it was said these are echoing the sentiments of among others the likes of a Phosa, who consistently had shared a good relationship with the YL, and equally understood the role of the youth league in organisational elections.

4. Yet this blind support for the Youth League, as controversial as it may seem, is firstly not as selfless and caring as it may be projected, but stands in a historically powerful vortex of its own. I shall argue this support of the Youth League has a specific agenda on the part of Phosa. The reason for Phosa’s support of the Youth is truly in typical political sense self -centred and immanent in seeing this as his only true constituency to attempt his hand at higher office. I am trying to argue that Phosa lost his long standing grip on a very vital Mpumalanga Province. This province who second to Kwa Zulu Natal experienced the brunt of  the most vicious killings of political members was once ruled by Matthew Phosa. Today Phosa has no clear-cut easily defendable constituency to carry him further.  It becomes imperative for him to identify with the Youth League as a base, yet the youth league has a loyalty to more than one if not all contenders against the incumbent.

5.  Phosa it can be argued has proven to endorse the factionalist agenda in which the tension between mother body and its youth league constitutes the opposing factors and is exacerbated. To argue that is not to prove mendacious or  an ad-hominem contention. Phosa’s association with the Youth League even in spaces and places where it erred not reprimanding them but choosing to raise a proverbial battle axe stance for them, has given the us – and-them perpetuated by the Youth League a much needed senior member impetus. Particularly because at different times he preferred to blindly side with the Youth League. He also could not separate his passion for the youth league from the controversial Limpopo ANC leadership who is closely associated with the now expelled former ANCYL leader. If the Youth League can claim a support in the Top 6, such support is made self-evident in Phosa.

6.  Yet in defence of Phosa he  has seldom if at any time advanced himself as the answer,  unlike Sexwale who is  literally begging to be nominated as the preferred candidate,  he plays the traditional  internal game where he tests powers so as to determine what say and role he can have in a making others  rise or fall. He follows the standard lobbying and canvassing of ideas in organisational context for which the ANC is known and proven acceptable. He understands the context of the ANC electioneering processes and principles clearly and attempts to honour such.

7. Yet Phosa has shown himself an ambivalent character in speech, when he oft would in the last 2 years in particular speak at Youth League gatherings. His statements particularly in Limpopo on many occasions seldom build the ANC but proved to divide it more. One would expect that as Top 6 leader there ought to be a sense of responsibility to prove less divisive. Judging Phosa’s utterances at Limpopo confirms this subliminal message of defiance against the incumbent leadership and secretary general actions on the youth and the provincial leadership with the national government section 100 intervention. He it appears blurrs the ANC and Governmental issues at play in particular the Limpopo province.

8.  Phosa, it appears thrives on the division of power in the ANC as a means to exert his weight and control over others or in relation to others. This is not a bad strategy because where ones power in political and organisational context is supreme to others, space exists for abuse of such power.

9. His campaign if one may call it such is less informed by substance or critical consideration but an underlying sentiment and such is only immanent in youth dissatisfaction. When one postulates his campaign is less informed by substance but sentiment, it is because there is no fundamental issue yet raised by him that proves tangibly opposite to current ANC policy, programme in which the existing leader of the ANC can be said proves naked. His campaign therefore lacks a justified cause once it is stripped from the sentiment and the often misunderstood role of ANC president and SA president.

10. A Phosa candidacy in my assessment simply cannot count on the strong Labour or workers sector that also see Phosa  like Sexwale as a reflection of white capital, therefore a possible economic enemy. Phosa represents a group of BEE empowered political personalities that has become the meridian of wealth attaining, the same that the new economic redress debate condemns for its minuscule and lop-sided praxis.

11. Phosa cannot count on the SACP, who oft is regarded as a critical constituency not for its  numbers but for political thought and policy direction. It is common cause that under a Zuma leadership the ANC is perceived much more aligned to the SACP, who already has endorsed its candidate for another term. Phosa is almost never seen or invited to address its conferences, a possible indication that they have quarantined him a long time ago.

12. Phosa equal to Sexwale cannot count on the former Mbeki constituency in the ANC; these will remember his active role in the recall of what is oft referred to as the intellectual paragon of modern day ANC leadership. It is not difficult to argue this paragon status of Mbeki, if the endless articles and bemoaning of the death of intellectual greatness of leadership as communicated by Xolela Mangcu is used a base.  Yet that is a topic for another day.  Those who know will tell of the frosty relations Phosa has consistently shared with Mbeki. This relationship never healed despite the death of the late Mr. Fixit, Steve Tshwete who as police minister then was tasked to investigate Phosa, Ramaphosa and Sexwale as those fingered to seek the overthrow of Mbeki. This constituency will in my assessment easily find a home with the Motlanthe campaign who in some circles is perceived matured, less entrapped and a bridge-builder.

13. Phosa’s success in running ANC money affairs  whilst no corruption was found does not inspire much. Provinces remain responsible for their own management of ANC funds yet  under his national treasurership provinces such as Limpopo has virtually gone bankrupt in organisational  context. The ambivalence of the role of the ANC with the Chancellor House investment debacle and its Hitachi connection as a ghost is still simmering, for as recent as a few months ago Deputy President Motlanthe had to entertain that same question again in parliament.  Phosa it can be argued proved indifferent on the performance of provinces on their money matters and failed to visibly lead from the front in sanctioning or reprimanding those in error. A sense of visionary leadership is warranted in a society when corruption proves stubborn and endemic and is associated with ANC governance per se. It would have helped to have a treasurer general who leads the charge on assisting ANC leadership at all levels in their finances, not withholding the rightful rebuke when and where necessary

14. a. Phosa as Treasurer General initially stirred much controversy on the Chancellor House finances. It appeared the proverbial ‘new broom’ then was out to prove those who were there before as less sensitive to a clean administration. It sounded as if he was mooting for an official  probe. In the end nothing much came from this initial new broom sweeps. Perhaps with this move he alienated himself from many who understand how the ANC makes it money.

14. b. Phosa as Treasurer General lacked the wherewithal to address the challenges of the Province in calling those to book, instead he turned a blind eye, determined to focus rather on the YL and Mother Body semblance of factions and political squabbles than his mandated assignment.

15. Phosa was associated wrongly or rightly with the leak of information to expose a relationship of Motlanthe with a staffer.  The motives for such leak will always be questioned, notwithstanding the fact that no prove exists to claim it was Phosa. Though this constitute a shallow issue and peripheral  issue in content, it confirms a consistent theme that the man from Nelspruit remains a less trusted character in some quarters of ANC definition. One may only doubt if Motlanthe has buried that hatchet and would relent to either run with Phosa or trust him. Yet Motlanthe in my assessment will need every support he can get to mount a challenge against the incumbent, and perhaps knowing that may sway him to opt for discussion with Phosa, as the clock begins to tick for Mangaung.

16. Phosa   in my assessment represents the weakest of all possible 3 contenders ( Motlanthe, Phosa and Sexwale). Weak because he lacks an outright constituency, cannot count on his former provincial control, and is not alone in attempting to make the Youth League his constituency.   Weak also because he is not really campaigning for himself as nakedly. The aforementioned coupled with the fact of my claim that he remains a not well trusted politician in some key circles. Weak finally because he does not have the presence or stature to muster such attempt at high office.

It is common cause that the Youth League wants Motlanthe for president. Phosa at best could retain his current seat but going higher proves a   cul de-sac for this man from Mpumalanga. It would not make sense to offer him the chairmanship which really was created for Tambo, when Mandela assumed the role of president in the early 90’s.

17. It is fair to conclude that should the much made “Mangaung of Revenge ” never occur, Phosa will be one of the most senior ones who will suffer the most. Should Zuma secure his second term he may do enough to offload Phosa as Treasurer General, rendering him Phosa to an ordinary NEC membership.

In the end, I hold Matthews Phosa has not thus far overtly waged an open campaign for presidency in his own name, he has understood that to be un-ANC practice,  yet he has shown his hand as one who will do enough to cast doubt on the incumbent leadership perhaps more from sentiment than fact. Yet  I doubt anyone of the three other contenders  trust him to be in their corner, for the many incidents, actions statements Phosa engaged in thus far paints him as one that is loyal to none, maybe not even himself.

Perhaps Phosa is wise enough to know he will never be president for the reasons I cited and therefore holds if he could influence the campaigns of  others  he would have made his voice heard and achieved his overall goal.

Phosa, has made his money in South African context and may  in the end be happy with any Top 6 position as whoever comes to power decides to keep him close for control, out of fear for what such personality can do,  but I doubt if any of the other contenders and the current incumbent ever will outright trust him. Perhaps the dark horse as he is dubbed is not in it to win it for himself per se, but to cause enough confusion that others prove jittery and has to come to him for help, from where he can make his power count.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Independent Commentator

This article appears courtesy of

” Tradewinds are blowing” –  Political commentary and analysis 2012
Sunday 22, 2012

Why Tokyo Sexwale’s individual campaign for High Office will fail !!

– He really has no appetite to lead the ANC, but wants to run the Country-

This year is an elective conference year for the ANC, and we are building towards the much talked about Mangaung where the leadership of the ANC and to a large extend South Africa will be elected. In the uprun to that we shall attempt to assess the contenders for the post of ANC Presidency one by one arguing why they will or will not make it.

The true nomination in official context is not open yet we are told it will only open in September. Yet anyone who is fooled to think there is no lobbying and campaigning taking place fails to see the signs of the times.

Amidst this invisible and at times visible contestation of personalities, candidates or potential hopefuls are showing their hands in different and distinct ways. My focus for this article is Tokyo Sexwale. Tokyo Sexwale NEC member, former Robben Islander, Gauteng Premier and BEE entrepreneur, and now serving Housing Minister have raised his hand for unseating the current incumbent. There is absolutely nothing wrong for any ANC member to raise their hand that is not the debate.  There is also nothing wrong for people to be asked to stand because that is part of the democratic processes in ANC electioneering.  However I shall argue how Sexwale has chosen to do this, his methodology his message and strategy sets him up for failure, notwithstanding anything that may count in his favour.

I shall attempt to dissect this to advance his campaign will end in defeat.

1. The first challenge with Tokyo’s campaign is that it is aimed and run based on a subliminal message of media sentiment against the incumbent. It is as if Sexwale believes that a dislike of Zuma, as SA president is a dislike of Zuma as ANC president.  It is right here where he commits a tactical blunder. Anyone who wants to win the S A presidency must first win the ANC confidence

2. Sexwale it is perceived runs an American election campaign for country presidential office in a totally different political system.

3. Sexwale fails to appreciate that he needs to win the centre of the ANC as his constituency to have his dream realized. There is nothing wrong with ambition which he has in the superlative but you must persuade the centre which would propel one to the Tuynhuis view.

4. Sexwale misreads how leaders in the ANC are elected. ANC leaders are all ambitious like any political organisation yet there is an unwritten code or an expectation yet to never show interest but to act in humility emulating the will of the movement is bigger than one. This expectation is endemically part of the selfless – culture of the ANC. Anyone who does not show respect for it is perceived as a careerist which no true ANC member wants to be called. Call this expectation of humility a fallacy or not, it is “culture” in the ANC and anything else is found foreign and cannot help ones campaign.

5. Sexwale’s campaign lacks substance or a cause; any campaign must show an alternative to the current. The problem is the ANC decides on policy as collective and its political direction is not unilaterally dictated or decided by any individual. This collective decision in policy formulation and direction can be critiqued as not to be mistakenly associated to any elected individual rendering it difficult for the person to be judged for it.

What collective decision making in ANC context require from any hopeful ANC leader is to implement and deliver that which the conference had resolved on. This minimizes the elected official to do his own thing but to comply with what he was endowed with.  This effectively means if a president of the ANC ensures the delivery of the resolutions of ANC Conference he would stay in power unless something really different is at work. Hence Sexwale must first understand this not remotely but intrinsically.

6. Sexwale’s campaign besides being a sentimental one is erroneously informed by a historic Polokwane scenario where some felt he was an option or the third way out in an anticipated showdown of force between Mbeki and Zuma.

Those who argued he should make himself available read the situation of the time, but lacked foresight that both Zuma and Mbeki unlike Sexwale had a history of ANC national executive leadership serving and seniority. The prevailing circumstances then and now differs starkly, the circumstances are totally different and the issues at play also different. To superimpose that or read that as evidence for launching ones personal campaign in 2012, is short-sighted and less informed by proper and objective analysis.

7. Sexwale has decided that he can go it alone, when most people  talk of elections in the ANC they engage in what is called “snapshot analysis” with Polokwane as the maximum symbol. Polokwane as I already noted was a unique moment in the ANC which cannot be used as the standard of future elections in the organisation. To attempt to reignite the Zuma march to power as a standard, one  must firstly understand the elongated emotional campaign he ran, the victim mindset he sold on sentiment and the “tremendous hurt” many had claimed Mbeki executed.

This “hurt” or campaign of the wounded ones had many groups in various key constituencies like the workers, tripartite alliances formations the women, the youth, many individuals who were sidelined and those who simply got tired of Mbeki who already had been running the country from half of a Mandela period and was late in his second term seen as aloof.  Zuma came to power by a cohort of constituencies on the pretext of woundedness and that was not Zuma alone.  Going into Mangaung alone is not wise nor is it possible.

8. Sexwale misreads the importance and role of the inner machinery of the centrality of the office of the secretary general to secure ones election. This may sound like factional endorsement yet it has less to do with that. The office of the SG serving as a member of the top 6 and the real CEO of the Organisation is critical for the vetting of branches, the unification of organisation, the synapses of communication, the system of information and instrumental for relations.  Remember the removal of an incumbent reflects on the SG in fact on the entire top 6 if the standard is implementation of policy resolutions.

The incumbent is therefore helped if the relationship between the president and secretary general is solid. Judging the SACP conference, which until this week the ANC – SG headed as chairperson,   Zuma has received his endorsement.  It doesn’t take rocket science to argue that Zuma has managed to succeed to keep his secretary general close to him, a clear plus for him as we move to Mangaung.

9. Sexwale’s youth association could have proven a major plus, clearly a strategy he attempted, but found that he is not alone who can claim an ANCYL endorsement. The Youth League who has played a role in electing presidents, suffered serious blows with the expelling of its leader, and the suspension of its secretary general and spokesperson. Not only that the Youth league in recent times has shown inconsistencies of oneness, whilst it lost its claimed kingmaker status.  Finally the youth league lost its campaign when the policy conference, adopted the economic transformation as a priority and second phase flagship. To hinge ones hopes on the current youth league that at conference constitute a percent of voting block is not wise, because they have recently been brought into order and line with the ANC.

10. Sexwale shows signs of overt opposition to the incumbent, this is another element that separates his campaign from that of others or even historic if we may use again the Polokwane experience as standard. It is wiser to let others attack your opponent and you ride on the benefit of that, Zuma did this he had people who rightly or wrongly went at Mbeki; he very seldom showed his opposition publicly.  In fact Chikane’s book talks about how the then secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe and him tried to convene meetings with Mbeki and Zuma to help heal what was perceived as a grave gap in their relations. Their work was made difficult because both men never admitted to any personal agendas citing their long history of working together and claimed a friendship that needs no intervention or arbitration. This is another leaf a Sexwale can take from Zuma.  Sexwale may never have said – Zuma must go in these recorded words – but with his leadership statements, etc he has become the by-default face of the ABZ (All But Zuma) campaign. He is the most vocal senior leader who has shown his call for leadership change. Motlanthe has sought to go at influencing policy (his comments on Second Transition) to show his approach.

11.  Sexwale misinterprets the figurative recall sign of some as a call that will work for him. Those who make such call often associate it with a Kgalema Motlanthe candidacy that follows a new history of deputy president becoming president notion. Sexwale would do well to be seen to be supporting a Motlanthe campaign in selflessness and hope to be a benefactor as a member of the Motlanthe list.  In contradiction, what he is currently doing is to show Motlanthe perhaps the strongest candidate as weak, shell-schocked and not the man to unseat Zuma.

12. Sexwale cannot count on the former – Mbeki constituency in the ANC. The former Mbeki, constituency  who prides themselves as the intellectual heart of the movement never will embrace Zuma and will easier throw their weight behind Motlanthe who is perceived as moderate, astute, a bridge-builder and a voice of reason. Sexwale cannot claim that constituency not even if they were really angry with Zuma.

13. Sexwale’s campaign if Polokwane is the yardstick needs a victim – villain scenario. At Polokwane you could not claim Mbeki did not implement ANC  adopted policies hence other matters such as the seemed attack vilification and claimed State orchestrated campaign against Zuma was the issue. There was a victim and villain scenario which does not exist now. There was a personification of this pain in Zuma which does not exist now.

14. Sexwale cannot count on the workers as a constituency to support him, be it at sentimental or factual level; he remains a BEE entrepreneur and benefactor who became exceptionally wealthy. The rethink of the very BEE policy in which in my assessment only a  100 families of South Africa benefitted, is generally rejected by the workers and Sexwale represents the defence of white capital. He is in the crossfire of the workers challenge for a living wage. People in the cross-fire are often victims of stray bullets.

15.  Sexwale as Housing Minister failed to inspire meaningful change in the second most crucial ministry after Education. Anyone who understands the complexities of housing delivery knows the desperate need for visionary leadership to deliver on the ever increasing housing and now believed insurmountable shortage South Africa needs.  Sexwale except for proving attacking on his predecessor (Lindiwe Sisulu) and charging a few corrupt officials has done virtually nothing on the challenge of housing.

He had a great chance as extended by Zuma to build a success story which may validate his claim to fame, or maybe Zuma was clever to set him up by assigning him to the graveyard of ministers. He lacks the success story of housing and is remembered as the former Sowetan who now in wealth chose to spent a night in Diepsloot to feel the pain of what the poor experience. That is what a Jesse Jackson from America would do, as a means to win votes. Not from one whom was breastfed and raised in Soweto.  He missed an opportunity to make a success at housing. His tenure as Gauteng Premier did not inspire much individual visionary leadership to warrant an argument that when he is elected at Mangaung things will change.

16. Lastly, Sexwale cannot count on the influential SACP ideological and rock solid leadership support. The SACP is a small but very significant constituency, because it has historically influenced ANC thinking and in recent years more under Zuma has pretty much shaped policy articulation. Sexwale cannot claim this constituency and may never be able to persuade them against Zuma.

In the end Sexwale with a great smile, half baritone voice, matured sexy looks (according to some women), the ex Robben-islander ( who shared a Prison with Mandela), friend of the iconic Chris Hani, former Gauteng Premier and great salesman lacks a constituency, cause and depth of ANC understanding and no amount of travelling to the Eastern Cape as hopeful will help. He needs to understand the ANC better and quit an attempt at going it alone campaign for the interest of organisation.  Sexwale is ahead of our election time, hopefully 20 years from now we will vote for individuals but not now. It is argued, Tokyo  Sexwale shot to  stardom at the death of the late Chris Hani, he is remembered as the one who  cried himself into a presence of significance, I am afraid becoming the ANC president will need more than a few tears.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator

 This article appears courtesy “Tradewinds are Blowing” Political Commentary  2012

July 15, 2012