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Here’s Why South Africa Needs a New Black Party


Demonstrators gesture at a photographer during a protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside the Union building in Pretoria, South Africa October 23, 2015. South African police fired stun grenades at students who lit fires outside President Jacob Zuma's offices following a week of protests, the first signs of the post-apartheid 'Born Free' generation flexing its muscle. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko? - RTS5T06

In my book, The Thoughts of an Ordinary Citizen, I predict that before or by 2034, the ANC would have to form a coalition government in order to remain in power. It has lost eight per cent votes in the past two general elections. In 2009, it got 65 percent and fell short of four percent to retain its two-thirds majority. It lost another four percent in the next elections to stand at 62 percent. If it continues to lose four percent in every election, the ANC would get 47 percent in 2034.

A poor performance in the 2016 LGEs wherein it failed to retain Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane, and a few other municipalities countrywide, is a telltale sign that its days in power are numbered. A likelihood of it losing power in the next elections is very high.

Some people claim that the ANC has the ability to self-correct. Nevertheless, the issue is not whether it has the ability to self-correct or not, but whether it has a leadership that can self-correct. It finds itself in a similar predicament to that of a family with absent-father while the mother is bedridden. As the children and grandchildren, as well as the relatives (COSATU and the SACP), fight over the ailing mother’s estate, no father to call for calm and unite the family during this difficult period.

As everyone shoots from the hip and the press conferences are the order of the day, someone may ask: “Where is aunt Baleka Mbete, as uncle Mantashe fails to put up the fire?” She is also absent. The poor Zizi Kodwa is out of breath. In fact, one is not sure who the ANC spokesperson is and which ANC speaks at these press conferences. Is it the pro- or anti-Zuma one? The public can discern no difference between the two factions.

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Although the fish rots from the head, Jacob Zuma is not the problem, but part of the problem facing the ANC. Even if he can resign or the ANC recalls him, the problems would remain the same, if not exacerbating, a point that Professor Steven Friendman has been at pains to make in vain. He is just a wall that hides a culture of corruption.

Neither a consultative nor an elective conference would rescue the ANC unless Zuma and the NEC heed the call to resign and someone like Thuli Madonsela, who has moral authority on corruption and commands a great deal of respect from both home and abroad. Moreover, the ANC should do the following:

  • Enter into multiparty negotiations to remove Zuma on an all-win basis, offer him sort of amnesty for his criminal case to resign and amend certain parts of the Constitution to ensure that his successor does not also take advantage of its impediments;
  • Bar the NEC members and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from any leadership position for the next five years or more;
  • Critically introspect a relevance of its tripartite alliance with COSATU and the SACP;
  • Adopt a singular ideological orientation, and last but not least;
  • Set high prerequisites for its members deployed to government

A failure to heed the calls would mark the end of the ANC’s days in power. In fact, we need a new black party to pursue a genuine black agenda. This is an opportunity for the EFF to project itself as the alternative, as the DA does not pursue that agenda.

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