IN TOUCH| ANC unity? What unity?

I seldom delve into the internal dynamics, machinations and shenanigans in the ruling party, the ANC. The reason being that I always think some of the many things their leadership does at all levels, are so childish and so far removed from the policies and expected behaviour that it would be a fruitless exercise. 

For an organisation that is more than a hundred years old, the ANC is basically clueless when it comes to handling issues and exerting discipline. They seem to have no idea what exactly they are or want to be . They seem to want to be everything to everybody and in the process become confused about their own identity.

You can go anywhere in the world, be it  China, the United States or any other country with big, organised parties and you will never find the chaos you see in the ANC. Everyone in the ANC seems entitled to voice their opinion on policy matters at any time and anywhere. This kind of ill-discipline you will never find in any organisation. Even in churches there is a level of clarity and direction in how things are done. In the ANC it seems as if it is a free-for-all. Every Tom, Dick and Harry feels quite entitled to wake up, spew nonsense and claim to be representing the core values and principles of the same organisation they are basically soiling in public.

The reason for this pulling in different directions is the refusal or inability of the ANC to move with the times, become indeed a modern political organisation and shed this liberation movement identity they have. You cannot imagine the DA, EFF or the Communist party of China allowing this chaos that is reigning within the ANC. They will give you the tired and – frankly – nonsensical term…unity.

At what cost is this unity going to be maintained? Is it real unity or a marriage of convenience between factions who are so far apart they could be safely called two different organisations in one? This unity – what is it actually? What are they united about, what values do they share? Are they ‘united’ by the fear that if one faction strikes out on its own and leaves the established brand – the ANC – they might be relegated to the fringes of politics like the UDM? Are these public spats, which are becoming increasingly ugly, intended to cause so much chaos that those in the wrong cannot be held accountable?

The ANC leadership must do simple things – they were given a clear mandate by the branches on that. When the NEC endorsed the policy that anyone charged with a serious crime must step aside from any leadership position – who did they think it was going to apply to? Did they think that they themselves would be immune from this principle? Did they think it was never going to be implemented as many of them thought no one would dare charge the big guns with any crime? Was it intended as a public relations exercise which is now choking them? Clearly, they thought it would never affect them. Now that it has drawn in the secretary general, Ace Magashule, they are all scrambling and behaving like nine-year-olds who have been refused permission to play outside.

The resolutions are clear – implement them without fear or favour and exert discipline on the rogue elements. What Unity? Oil can never unify with water. If they want to share power they must continue along the same path. It is really not rocket science.

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