Editorial: ​Loot continua. Let’s party

Perhaps it is because there have been so many of them that the thought of the ANC’s annual January 8 statement barely raises more than a pained sigh outside the circles of party marketers — and partygoers.

There is more excitement in the air about whether participants will be able to buy liquor late into the night during the celebrations than there is about what the statement will contain.

Our expectations are not particularly high. Despite the process of introspection and reflection mooted by Fikile Mbalula (who, in his person, seems never to have had a moment’s reflection in his life), it is clear that the ANC cannot afford too much introspection. When it does look into its own heart and comes up with a clear appraisal of the state of the party in government, as it has been for 22 years, it sees what Gwede Mantashe recently stated bluntly: “There are people in the ANC who loot the state.”

Why, the reader may ask, has that fact not dawned on political high-ups such as the secretary general until now? Well, it has, but it’s a question of whether they can say it out loud — and that goes to the core of the matter of the January 8 statement.

For the ANC cannot yet disentangle its ideals and its promises from the internal realpolitik of its leadership battles, such as the clash looming now, four years before the sitting president is even due to leave office.

The party thus finds it hard to deal with its biggest problem: the present leadership.

And so it can only talk out of the side of its mouth, as it were, and recycle all the old nostrums that make it sound like a real governing party, even if it isn’t one, with an agenda of what it will do for the people, even if it can’t implement any of it.

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