The Poor Against The Gendarme ANC Government In South Africa
"Kudlalwa Ngathi"("We Are Being Played and Abused")
The ANC Must Eradicate and Reverse Patronage and Corruption
As we reflect on this critical statement, "We must be mindful of the prescient observation by Fanon that the post-colonial reality provides ample evidence that national liberation movements ultimately became transformed into their opposites and often replicated the style and practice of their oppressors. The neocolonial socio-economic trajectory that they adopted for their liberated countries degenerated into a patronage-based and corrupt system that progressively eschewed freedom of expression and human rights and also marginalized the poor," that in the end we get a perfect characterization of the ruling ANC-led government in South Africa today.
Post 1994, the ANC was virtually forced to adopt a neocolonial socio-economic paradigm that was propagated by the World Bank and the IMF. It also adopted its values of selfish individualism and wealth creation. The outcome was never in doubt and African South Africans have now achieved the unenviable status of being the 'most unequal society in the world.'
Without doubt there have been great changes in South Africa since the ANC took power in 1994. Millions of poor people have been lifted out of the poverty trap, thanks to welfare support payments. But contemporary South Africa manifests the shortcomings envisaged by Fanon and there is a dark underbelly because the socio-economic situation has worsened for the majority of the poor. South Africa’s Human Development Index ranks below that of many comparable developing countries with much lower levels of GDP. Life expectancy has deteriorated and child mortality has risen in comparative terms. This has substituted the rigid, racially classified apartheid social structure with a stratified class society by the present Ruling ANC-led government.
Given the fact that unemployment, especially among young people, that has stayed at crisis levels for the past three years and poverty remains pervasive for the majority of the poor, there's a need to seriously rethink about the development strategy that must adopted going forward. Under President Zuma there are indications that the ANC is seriously considering a new development paradigm that will put the poor at the centre of development policies. The work of the National Planning Commission is an inspirational bit and one hopes it will focus the attention of the whole nation and be concluded speedily.
For the ANC, as the party in government, this moment calls for visionary leadership and decision making. Patronage has become a systemic political tool that promotes corruption. It is undergirded by an electoral law and the system of governance that flows from it because it gives power to the political parties.
In this situation, the political party chiefs decide on the selection of public representatives. It is this centralized control that has spawned the patronage that is now tearing the ANC apart and inhibiting progress in national development. The electoral law is the most critical source and cause for the patronage, corruption and faction fighting that is at the heart of the instability within the ANC in all regions.
The call for change is loud and immediate, today as we speak or write. What then must be done to arrest this untenable situation? Patronage and corruption have been condemned by all in the top leadership of the ANC but it continues to grow, especially as Mangaung political shindig draws nearer[This will discussed as an update post Mangaung]. The time has come to accept and implement the recommendations of the 2003 Frederik van Zyl Slabbert report on a hybrid proportional and direct electoral system.
The goodwill that would flow from this decision would also enhance the ANC brand value as a party that is sensitive to the mood and desire of the electorate. The quality of the representative would also improve as well as the standard of accountability. Another decision that would improve the image of the ANC, especially among rural women, is to pull back the Traditional Courts Bill. In its current form it entrenches traditional feudal authority practiced by traditional leaders.
It has no place in contemporary South Africa as envisaged in the liberation struggle and vision. A vast majority of the women of South Africa(Africans) are oppressed, repressed and violated physically and murdered in more ways than one. A nation whose women are subjugated by dumb men will never give birth to a strong and future nation
Unification Of Leadership Is A Dire Need
It isn’t the most prudent thing one can do and it isn’t encouraged. Of course you will hear those in the ANC say it is, but we know it is not. When one does so, one is often attacked and comments like “Polokwane-griever” and “enemy of the national democratic revolution” abound. But I will do such a thing because, as my main man Drake puts it, “YOLO! You only live once.” So YOLO you ninjas!
We have a very insecure ANC leadership at the moment and nothing weakens a movement more rapidly than poorly conceived indecisive decisions, weakness and corruption at the top. Everything said that might be constructive — said without being sycophantic — is seen as an attack and a broadside. The ANC 'exile laager' mentality sets in and imaginary enemies are set out. Those who criticize for want of a better ANC are bullied into silence through the loud bully pulpit of the powerful and vicious deadly raw force.
To quote the man who would be the Yoda of the ANC, Nelson Mandela, “It is a grave error for any leader to be oversensitive in the face of criticism. I know he wouldn’t be sensitive over being called a Yoda, for example. Again, those who dare speak out, often speak of the hunger and suffering that follows their outspokenness.Other speak of how business opportunities dry up.
So that, the intention of this Hub is to bring out the voices of the African people, splurge them on the Web and make them as viral as much as possible, because there is a pressing need for them to tell their story of the past 18+ years of ANC rule, in their own words, what they are really going trough in South Africa.
"Other people in the private sector who might agree with the sentiments become complicit in encouraging the weak leadership by stepping in to claim those business opportunities as they allow their morality to be guided by nothing other than the pursuit of money. Bravery in private but cowardice in public should be neither encouraged nor praised.
"We know that there are many in the ANC who lament the transformation the organization has undergone. No one is happy with the ANC, with the exception of those who worship at the altar of the 'Tender'. There are many who want to be happy with the ANC but are not given room to say how the ANC could be turned into a better place because there are too many big but fragile egos.
"There was a time when people were proud of the ANC. Yes, today they are still proud. But their pride always points to the past, never the present. The present pains and disappoints them and leaves them in despair. Yet in their despair they always leave room for hope because they know that the organization can do better. They cannot and will not allow it to be broken in their lifetime."
They can’t dishonor those who came before. What shall the people say when they see them in the afterlife? Will African South Africans be ashamed or will they be proud? Will they say, “Well done, good and faithful servants of the movement,” or will they say, “Away from us!” The latter answer and attitude seems to be percolating on the fringes of the political reality that characterizes the present reign of the discombobulated South Africa under ANC rule.
Of course there is no leadership in the world that can be proud of everything it has done. Even the great saints of the ANC such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu have regrets — but these are dwarfed by their achievements. In its 2001 document, Through the Eye of a Needle, [this has a ring of Davidson "In the Eye Of The Storm sense], that the ANC outlines the attributes that will help identify a true leader. Unfortunately, it would appear as though those guiding principles have been ignored, as has been demonstrated by the so-called “Anyone But Zuma” movement.
One of the points the document makes is this and I quote, “Those in leadership positions should unite and guide the movement to be at the head of the process of change. They should lead the movement in its mission to organize and inspire the masses to be their own liberators. They should lead the task of governance with diligence. And, together, they should reflect continuity of a revolutionary tradition and renewal which sustains the movement in the long-term.” Having observed the ANC-led government, they seem to be farther from the propositions above than at any other time now and in the foreseeable future.
From the one paragraph we can already see the many flaws in their leadership:
- The people have not been inspired to be their own liberators; the state has made sure that the people are dependent on it. Thus, the party remains as their liberator and shackles them to itself.
- Some areas of government have been led well and the task of governance has been done diligently, unfortunately there is less than desired.
- The sustainability of the movement at this rate is questionable.
Point 35 of the document says, “A leader should constantly seek to improve his capacity to serve the people”. Unfortunately, many of our leaders are interested less in improving their capacity to serve, and more in increasing their chances to lead again and gaining materially for their inaction. There is a big difference between the two.
Point 37 of the document then goes on to say, “A leader should lead by example. He should be above reproach in his political and social conduct — as defined by our revolutionary morality. Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the national democratic revolution includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.”
It hardly needs to be stressed that the cadre of the ANC is more for corruption, obfuscation and arrogance towards the cries, please and needs of the poor African masses
Having looked at all the points presented on the ANC document it is clear that the ANC does not apply this with rigor and forthrightness when selecting leaders. This document might as well be burned, for no one follows its guidelines.
In my estimation, the document was written to ensure that not just anyone could become a leader because they think they can lead the movement; they should lead because they have ticked all the boxes. Being an ANC leader was meant to be difficult, not easy — for leadership is not easy. But the present leaders are not making their task easier by permitting corruption and other social malaise to reign supreme.
The title of the document is taken from the Book of Matthew chapter 19 verse 24 in the Bible. A rich young ruler asks Jesus what he needs to do to get to heaven. Jesus tells him what to give up. The young man leaves because he is not prepared to give these things up, then Jesus says to the crowd, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
If we are to use this metaphor or biblical aphorism, the ANC are really not doing well, and they are at present fattened fat-cats who rule through ignoring the poor and using cronyism and crude nepotism to arrogantly and greedily enrich themselves with the nations coffers without any shame nor let-up.
The needle Jesus was speaking of is not the same as the one you think of. The “eye of a needle” Jesus spoke of was a gate in Jerusalem, which only opened after the main gate to the city was closed at night. A camel could only pass through a smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed and had to almost crawl to enter.
Therefore, a leader should be willing to let go of his baggage in order to be worthy of leading the ANC: in order for them to get through to the people be one with them. This is what is hard for the ANC to let go off-the Gravy Train and all what it has to offer them-personal wealth and self-arrogated power. They behave as if their voting polity had not sense nor consciousness to speak of or realized or to be respected. On top of that, they are unwavering when it comes to using brute force to crush dissent.
THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There is a serious need to have a realization that the Poor masses are human beings and that their humanity needs to be restored and respected. Acknowledging that Humans are humans, not Blacks, Whites and other disrespectful references to others, needs to be weaned away from the psyche and consciousness of a people who, as human beings understand and realize and know what "Ubuntu" and consciousness is all about-if humans on this planet can do it in other lands, so too can Africans in Africa and South Africa exercise the same human nature, capability and ability to know and consciously deal with their environment and existential reality.
Julian Jaynes helps put this perspectives about human consciousness and their knowing and being aware of consciousness as being consciousness, thus making them "be" Umuntu/Motho(Human). Jaynes informs us thus:
"Some concepts need to be nailed down perfectly in order to begin the process of understanding a few things: the fact that Africans are not unconscious: which is a fiction and fallacy is what I am about to write about is what we need to have a serious understanding about consciousness and Ubuntu, or we will forever dwell in the La-la-land. What am I talking about? For example, when asked the question, what is 'consciousness'? And most of us take this 'consciousness of consciousness' to be what consciousness is. This is not true. In being conscious of consciousness, we feel it is the most self-evident thing imaginable.
"We feel it is the defining attribute of all our waking states, our moods and affections, our memories, our thoughts, attentions, and volitions. We feel comfortably certain that consciousness is the basis of concepts,of learning and reasoning, of thought and judgement, and that it is so because it records and stores our experience as they happen, allowing us to introspect them and learn from them at will. We are also quite conscious that all this wonderful set of operations and contents that we call consciousness is located somewhere in the head.
On critical examination, all of these statements are false. They are the costume that consciousness has been masquerading in for centuries. They are the misconceptions that have prevented a solution to the problem of the origin of consciousness; to demonstrate these errors and show what consciousness is not, is a gargantuan and humongous task, which will be culled into a précis for expediency.
For example the phrase, "To loose consciousness" after receiving a blow on the head. But if this were correct, we would then have no word for those somnambulistic states known in the clinical literature, where an individual is clearly not conscious and yet is responsive to things in a way in which a knocked-out person is not. Therefore, in the first instance we should say that the person suffering a severe blow on the head loses both consciousness and what I am calling 'reactivity,' and they are therefore different things.
This distinction is also important in normal everyday life. We are constantly reacting to things without being 'conscious' of them at the time. Sitting against a tree, I am always reacting to the tree and to the ground and to my own posture, since if I wish to walk, I will quite unconsciously stand up from the ground to do so. I am rarely conscious even from where I am. In writing, I am reacting to the pencil(keyboard) in my hand(Fingertips) since I hold on to it(am pressing the keys), and am reacting to my writing pad(or keyboard).
Since I hold it on my knees(as I do my keyboard) and its lines(the scrawling on the screen), since I write upon them, but am only conscious of what I am trying to say and whether or not I am being clear to you. In this case, you can replace writing pad with screen and pencil with the keyboard. If a bird burst up from the copse nearby and flies crying to the horizon, I may turn to watch and hear it, and then turn back to this page without being conscious that I had done so. In other words, 'reactivity' covers all stimuli my behavior takes account of in any way, while consciousness is something quite distinct and a far less ubiquitous phenomenon. We are conscious of what we are reacting to only from time to time. And whereas reactivity can be defined behaviorally and neurologically, consciousness at the present state of knowledge cannot.
But let us go further. Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so, consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not.
The timing of 'consciousness' is also an interesting question. When we are awake, are we conscious all the time? We think so, in fact, we are sure so! I shut my eyes and even if I try not to think, consciousness still streams on, a great river of contents in a succession of different conditions which I have been taught to call thoughts, images, memories, interior dialogue, regrets, wishes, resolves, all interweaving with the constantly changing pageant of exterior sensations of which I am selectively aware. Always the continuity. Certainly this is the feeling. And whatever we're doing, we feel that our very "Self," our deepest of deep identity, is indeed this continuing flow that only ceases in sleep between remembered dreams. This is our experience. And many thinkers have taken this spirit of continuity to be the place to start from in philosophy, the very ground of certainty which no one can doubt. "Cogito, ergo sum"(I Think, Therefore I am)..."
This is clearly understood by the Poor people of South Africa and they are acutely aware of their consciousness about consciousness which in the final analysis allow them to "Be": "we think, therefore they are aware that the Are". Ignoring the beingness and consciousness of the collective poor is arrogance unbridled, which is not good governance nor true and real leadership, and will finally lead to the fall of the present ruling African petit-bourgeois African vulture, predatory elite. Lying to the people is one of the most gave errors that can be committed by any leadership of any country; worse, to think of the masses as being unconscious, dumb and illiterate and stupid, is to commit leadership suicide… That is why Democracy is still not function to full effect nor any effect, for that matter.