How The ANC Can Avoid Inevitable Decline

ANC

ANC

A simple plan for Zuma to exit drafted by Sihle Khumalo, who is nostalgic for the noble ANC of yesteryear

Here is a simple fact: whatever happens in the next three months will determine what happens in three years’ time when South Africa holds its next general elections.

Unless something drastic is done, the DA will win the general elections in 2019; or – at the very least – the DA and EFF will win more than 50% of the vote. That can only mean one thing: an acceleration of the beginning of the end for the ANC.

And within a decade all that will be left will be region-based renegade splinter groups that will mean absolutely nothing in the broader national discourse.

The ruling party can, of course, continue dithering and sticking to the same old rhetoric: “introspection”, “going back to the drawing board”, “consulting with our structures”, “democracy has won”, “we are an organisation that is able to reflect and rejuvenate”, blah blah blah; or it can take hard and tough decisions.

If I were a member of the ANC national executive committee, this would be my proposal:

• NEC to recall Jacob Zuma as president of the country. It has been done before and can be done again. Zuma’s leadership – the word is used reluctantly – has been crisis management on steroids. Two potential problems spring to mind about recalling Zuma: pending legal cases as well as two centres of power.

The first challenge will need more than just the ANC NEC. It will need political maturity from other parties, and agreeing to stop pursuing the spy tapes case.

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In that way, Nxamalala (Zuma’s clan name) can retire knowing full well he will not have his day in court – despite it being something that he has publicly stated he would relish.

I am convinced that the DA will be so happy to see Zuma leave office that they will even contribute to the R7.8-million he needs to pay for his compound in Nkandla. And the EFF will publicly take the credit for “putting Zuma in his place”.

The second problem, of course, is that Zuma is an elected president of the party. Therefore the NEC cannot touch him on that front. Well, it can.

I am just an ordinary South African who grew up loving and supporting the ANC for what it was fighting for: me, us and the country

• After consultation with the branches and regions, it can hold a special elective conference before Christmas or, at the very latest, before or during the Easter week in 2017. The obvious question is: who will be running the country once Zuma has been recalled and wouldn’t that person have an unfair advantage when it comes to the special elective conference? Not really.

• Reappoint Kgalema Motlanthe as the caretaker president. Remember that he was caretaker president for six months after Thabo Mbeki was recalled as president.

He can only be appointed on one condition: he will not stand as president of the party in the special elective conference. (Even if somebody else were appointed caretaker president, this condition must stand in order to avoid disadvantaging God’s other children).

And it is worth mentioning that whoever will be elected president of the party will not become president of the country until after the general elections in 2019.

Supporters of President Jacob Zuma at his rape trial in Johannesburg 10 years ago. Image: Muntu Vilakazi

That will have two advantages: first, South Africa will not, yet again, have three presidents in the space of six months or so. Second, whoever is president of the ANC will have enough time to deal with all internal squabbles as well as rejuvenate organisational reform and unity without the bigger burden of running the country.

• Then there is the issue of the current deputy president, who also has presidential ambitions. Well, he must also be recalled to level the playing field. (Alternatively, he can become president instead of Motlanthe if he agrees that he will not run for the presidency of the party, and that will effectively mean he will be the president of the country for about 30 months.) So whether Cyril Ramaphosa or Motlanthe becomes president, another person will have to be appointed deputy president of the country.

• Get Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka back from the women’s desk at the UN. Again, she has been the deputy president before so she will be able to hit the ground running. Again, she must also accept this position on one condition: she will not stand for election at the next special elective conference (and for that matter, any person who is appointed as deputy president must not stand for any position in the NEC).

• Reshuffle the cabinet only after the special congress. In that way you will effectively manage the two centres of power. It will not be an ideal situation, but at least newly elected, high-ranking NEC members will have strategic positions in the post-Zuma cabinet. And then they can continue, with a little tweaking here and there, after the 2019 elections.

This is a simple plan that I would propose and passionately push for. But alas, I am not a member of the NEC. For that matter I am not even a card-carrying member of the ANC.

I am just an ordinary South African who grew up loving and supporting the ANC for what it was fighting for: me, us and the country.

I am just a regular guy who knows he would not be where he is today were it not for the sacrifices made, not only by the leaders of this glorious movement, but by other regular fellow South Africans. I am just a nobody who is shocked to see such a history of self-sacrifice being hijacked by the selfish, self-serving bunch that is in it for themselves and their stomachs.

 

Source: Sunday Times

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