The past month has confirmed what I have suspected since 2017: the era of the ANC is over. All that remains is to see how long it will take before their support falls below 50% and they no longer occupy the Union Buildings. Three things have happened to convince me of this:
1. The Failure to Pay Employees
The ANC have driven down an ideological cul-de-sac of their own creation. The party refuses to retrench excess staff at Luthuli House or manage itself like a business. They occupy a 12 story office block employing more than 400 people at head office alone; in addition they offer sheltered employment to a host of failed politicians. Take the case of Bathabile Dlamini; she was fired as a Cabinet Minister and offers no discernible value, but yet the ANC employs her. It is doubtful that her salary is far short of the R2m plus salary that she was getting as a minister, but the ANC sees itself as family and their Acting Secretary General, Jesse Duarte, has publicly said that they will NEVER retrench anyone.
In addition to their outstanding salary bill, the ANC have allegedly not paid over employees tax (PAYE) which they have collected and we all recall the war between the ANC and then DA Mayor, Herman Mashaba, as he attempted to recoup unpaid municipal rates. Yet the ANC continues to claim that it is not “broke”. It is this kind of delusional thinking that means that the ANC will never take the steps necessary, and the crack will keep getting deeper until all the rats abandon this sinking ship.
Just think of how demoralising it must be to work without pay, knowing that your party president is a billionaire and one of the richest men in the country! Not even Cyril Ramaphosa believes enough in the future of the ANC to pay his own staff. It is quite sickening.
2. The Failure to Register Representatives for the Forthcoming Local Government Elections
If you are part of the ANC management, surely the most important part of your job is to register your candidates to stand in elections? You only need to do this twice every 5 years for heavens sakes; what else are you so busy doing that you can’t register your candidates for elections?
These kind of mistakes only happen in organisations in turmoil. It is the ultimate red-flag and we seldom see any organisation, or business, or club, recover from this kind of thing. These massive oversights speak to the lack of leadership and the lack of energy within the organisation. Given the absence of talent waiting in the wings, it is hard to see this being turned around anytime soon. One just has to look at the recycling of the same old faces in cabinet to see that the talent cupboard is bare. The ANC now only attracts opportunists, warlords and criminals.
3. The Victory of Hakainde Hichilema in Zambia
In February of 1960, then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan addressed the South African Parliament and made his famous “Wind of Change” speech. The “wind” he spoke of was the growth of African nationalism, the death of colonialism and the flood of African countries that had achieved independence and autonomy. Well I believe that Covid-19 will usher in a new “Wind of Change” and this has started in Zambia were Hakainde Hichilema (HH) defeated the incumbent president Edgar Lungu in the recent election. HH won despite the fact that Lungu was the typical African strongman with his hands on all of the levers of power and support from all of the regional strongmen including those in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The youth of Southern Africa are smarter than their parents. Many people below the age of 30 have never had formal employment as they watch their leaders plunder the public purse. This is not a generation that will be bought off with a t-shirt. In South Africa, they did not live through apartheid, but they lived through Zuma. Zimbabwe is next and South Africa will be hot on their heels.
The decline of the ANC will begin with the forthcoming Local Government Elections and will accelerate thereafter.
State of the Nation 2021