Sunday, September 21, 2008

South Africa and the fork in road

These are worrying times for South Africans. Indeed, the past year since Polokwane has been an era of deep concern for ordinary South Africans.

Already dealing with an unprecedented crime scourge, widespread corruption, poor service delivery, xenophobic riots, a 40% unemployment rate, high inflation and interest rates, a diminishing standard of living, the country more than ever needs a steady hand on the wheel to steer it out of these difficult times.

Instead what we have seen is a ruling party gorging itself on the buffet of power. The focus of the ruling elite has been on how to secure themselves a seat on the gravy train.

There can be no doubt that Mbeki and his cronies have been a disaster for the country. During Mandela's term the country was expectant of better things to come, where race no longer played a part in our society, where we would forgive and help one another move forward and create a greater country. The fundamentals were all in place, a powerful economy, a strong judicial system, police and defence force along with stable local councils and a solid infrastructure.

The ANC was handed the baby and the bathwater. What Mbeki and the ANC then proceeded to do was implement a new apartheid. Race became the dominant factor in our society, the shoe simply changing feet. While the ANC had political power, the economic power remained with minorities which chose to vote with their feet and leave the country in droves. The skills drain has been a calamity.

Almost ten years into Mbeki's tenure and we have anarchy. The country's towns and cities are in decay. Our hospitals, schools, roads and general infrastructure is in such poor condition that most need to be rebuilt. The police are unable to cope with crime and the defence force is a sham.

Questions of severe impropriety hangs over the ruling party. The Arms Deal scandal, Oilgate, the shenanigans at Chancellor House, BEE corruption, to name but a few.

Add to this a fractured opposition and we can see another reason for the state of affairs. The ruling party has no opposition. The country needs a strong second party. We need the politicians of the minor parties to put their petty differences aside and unite in an anti-ANC agenda. Without it, we are cursed to follow the route of many African countries and slide into one-party rule.

The country is better off today without Mbeki and his collective. They were a disgrace and terrible for the people of South Africa.

What I fear is that we have replaced one rotten apple with another in the likes of Zuma and his far Left loons and thugs. Zuma has shown himself to be easily led and that is perhaps his appeal to the Left. With him in power, they will become more powerful without having to participate in elections. Already the Left are demanding 25% of the seats in cabinet and parliament. Zuma and the ANC cannot allow this to happen.

Yes, these are worrying times.

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Mbeki thinking of starting new party -- ANC may face split

September 21, 2008 - By Paul Simao

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Supporters of deposed South African President Thabo Mbeki may split from the ruling African National Congress and contest elections as a breakaway party in 2009, South Africa's Sunday Times said.

The move threatens to shatter the foundations of the country's post-apartheid political landscape, which has been dominated by the African National Congress, and tilt Africa's largest economy to the left.

Analysts said the prospect of a new party, either led or inspired by Mbeki, represented a threat to the ANC, which has held a stranglehold on power since spearheading the drive to overthrow white minority rule in 1994.
The ruling party is 'a broad church'-- with its base of support ranging from radical leftists to business tycoons.
But it has been in crisis for several years due to the infighting between the Zuma and Mbeki camps.

Mbeki, who has followed a pro-business line since taking over from Nelson Mandela as president in 1999, agreed on Saturday to accept the ANC's request that he resign before the end of his term next year.
His downfall came about a week after a judge suggested there was high-level political meddling in the graft case of Mbeki rival and ANC leader Jacob Zuma, the frontrunner to win the next presidential election.
Although Mbeki's willingness to give up the reins without a fight suggests an orderly transition of power, a number of ministers have threatened to resign rather than serve in a Zuma-controlled government.

Some are contemplating the unthinkable: leaving the ANC.
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, Deputy Defence Minister Mluleki George and other Mbeki loyalists are planning to start a new party and organisers will meet this week to discuss the move, the Sunday Times said.
"I'm not in a position to discuss this thing at this stage, but in a few days or a week you will hear the details," George told the newspaper.
The ministers were not available for comment.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has already said she intends to resign with Mbeki, and others could also leave the
ANC, which fell under the control of Zuma after he beat Mbeki for the party leadership late last year.
Zuma has strong support from the country's powerful trade unions and its small but influential communist party.
Mbeki's wing of the party is more friendly to investors, having adopted policies that spurred nearly a decade of economic growth.
Ministers could begin resigning as early as Sunday after the cabinet holds an emergency meeting. Mbeki will address the nation in a live broadcast after the meeting at 6:30 p.m. British time.

Zuma and other senior ANC officials are trying to prevent a mass exodus of the cabinet, which could trigger early elections.
The country had not been expected to go to the polls until April or May of next year.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe has appealed for ministers and civil servants to remain in their positions.
Zuma is not expected to take over immediately. A transitional leader, likely parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, a Zuma loyalist, is likely to be named to replace Mbeki and possibly serve the remainder of his final term.
The constitution barred Mbeki from seeking a third term.

A split could see the ANC return to the socialist doctrines that marked its programme during the 1960s and 1970s.
Then it was heavily influenced by the Marxist-liberation movements in other parts of Africa as well as the Soviet bloc.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the largest labour federation in the country, and the South African Communist Party, have been pushing the Zuma-led ANC to make a radical shift away from Mbeki's pro-business policies.
They want the next government to focus mainly on fighting poverty and unemployment, do more to redistribute income from the wealthy and embark on a programme of nationalising major industries.
Zuma has tried to reassure investors that there will be no wholesale change to policy under his administration.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anon 12:40, I had the same article ready for posting today.