Nothing can save the ANC – not even Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has decisively thrown his hat in the ring.
Ramaphosa’s support for a judicial probe into state capture, and his call for the ANC national executive committee to revisit the request for President Jacob Zuma to step down, should be earth shattering. But they are not.
In its 106th year, Africa’s oldest liberation movement is beyond redemption. Such is the effect of corruption.
Corruption is a cancer. Cancer eats away at organisms, destroying them from within. Sometimes it can be “cured”, or halted.
But there’s a point beyond which treatment is at best palliative, treating the pain, not the cause. That’s where the diseased ANC is now. Zuma’s frenetic visits to praise-singers such as the ANC Youth League, Women’s League and gullible rural audiences, ease some pain but the rot keeps gnawing away. Propaganda on ANN7 (GuptaTV) and in The New Age newspaper, makes Zuptas feel better, but there is no long-term hope.
Well-meaning folk who are trying to save the ANC have left it too late. The cancer should have been excised when the 1999 arms deal was exposed. Remember, it was Thabo Mbeki who covered up the deal and protected crooked police chief Jackie Selebi.
It was under Mbeki that PetroSA irregularly paid R15 million to Imvume, who handed over most of that to the ANC to help fund the 2004 election campaign.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, now contesting for the ANC presidency, was central to the R14 million Sarafina II debacle. Sarafina II happened during Nelson Mandela’s presidency. “Parafina” was the nickname for Dlamini-Zuma’s next outrage, a quack Aids cure called Virodene, to which Mbeki channelled millions in state funding.
The amounts seem small now, compared to the R246 million for Nkandla, or the billions linked to Zupta deals, and the trillion-plus debt when SA’s economy gets nuked. The point is, the disease of corruption which took root under Mbeki is out of control under Zuma.
Thuli Madonsela’s tenure as public protector was an aberration in a rising tide of moral turpitude. The security establishment, including the Hawks, is riddled with corruption, which also stalks Eskom, Prasa, the SABC, plus hundreds of ANC-run municipalities and organisations. Even if every Zuma and Gupta were to be removed with immediate effect, that would not heal the ANC.
There is no medicine strong enough. The patient is terminally ill. Corruption has become embedded in the ANC’s DNA through cadre deployment, patronage and cronyism.
No one can say with certainty exactly when the ANC will lose power at national level. However, the rate of decline is increasing, raising the prospect of new-look government after the 2019 elections.
For example, Prince Mashele, writing in the Sowetan on Monday, said “we are most likely to have Mmusi Maimane as president, and Julius Malema as his deputy”.
The prediction is not fanciful. Nature abhors a vacuum. The gap left by a shrinking ANC must be filled.