/ 11 February 2021

Editorial: Does the ANC give a damn about South Africa?

Editorial Mg
(Mail & Guardian)

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte had much to say this week about the Zondo commission turning its gaze to the inner workings of the ruling party and how its marching orders to MPs may have enabled state capture.

In a 1 600-word op-ed for Daily Maverick, Duarte lyrically invoked the name of Nelson Mandela and the principle of “democratic centralism” to counter Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s alarm at hearing from ANC MPs that they were expected to be loyal to the party rather than their oath of office on holding the executive to account.

One MP, who is now a transport deputy minister, said she turned a blind eye to the Gupta corruption because she was toeing the party line — and would do it again. 

She was promoted. Another member didn’t toe the line and she was axed. 

Duarte also found the testimony surreal, but for the very different reason that, those who protested failed to understand the lines of decision making in liberation movements as laid down by Mandela and Walter Sisulu, and the Guptas’ role as disruptors of the status quo.

It was not something Zondo, working within the narrow confines of the law and possibly those of neo-liberalism too, could comprehend.

Cue a withering put-down from Trevor Manuel who told Duarte she had lost the moral plot.

Given the right to a counter piece by the Mail & Guardian, Duarte messaged that she would not be saying any more. She then sent a second text simply containing the business card of Elias Magashule, her office senior, better known as Ace. 

The factions inside the ruling party are forever manoeuvring. Most, it seems, are driven by the desire to avoid jail and keep looting. This latest round is all about Jacob Zuma’s desire to spit on our constitution, and Magashule’s upcoming court appointment (for theft).  

Though the president has given his version of the state of the nation it is clear that the state of the party is not focused on what is happening in the country where corruption is rampant, service delivery is broken and the majority are nearing the poverty line. 

It is mired in the latest chapter of the battle for control of the ANC — and we will continue to pay the price for this.