South Africa’s political framework is in a critical period as the ANC heads towards December’s national elective conference, with the voices from its two factions, as well as business and civil society, getting louder each day.
There is one against state capture, while the other chooses to turn a blind eye due to the benefits and supports the status quo.
This week, a number of scenarios played out to demonstrate this, first with a charged testimony by former ANC KwaZulu-Natal premier and provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu – who told the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political violence in the province the ANC was to blame.
“We are responsible for this, whether directly or indirectly,” Mchunu said, adding the real solution was for the ANC to accept responsibility and act accordingly.
Mchunu also referred to corruption and the “my turn to eat” syndrome and raised the problem of factionalism in the party.
But the party’s provincial spokesperson, Mdumiseni Ntuli, lashed out at Mchunu, calling him a “reckless, bitter man” after he was ousted as chairperson at its 2015 provincial elective conference.
The conference was recently declared null and void by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
On the same day, companies owned by the Gupta family lost their legal battle to force the Bank of Baroda to keep their bank accounts open.
Judge Hans Fabricius said: “The balance of convenience weighs heavily in favour of a party which seeks to uphold and preserve the integrity of the established financial system and the rule of law.”
The Black First Land First movement reacted by saying “those who own the means of production own the judiciary”.
According to political analyst Daniel Silke, there were forces looking for investigations and for crimes to be exposed. And then there were also those who benefited from certain schemes.
“What we see is indicative of the succession battle, where there are two factions. There is a strange synergy here and that is reflective in leadership contests. The battle for justice is almost equivalent to what we will see at the end of the year in the different camps.
“The question remains which personality will restore justice and integrity of the institutional framework that’s been damaged in the last while. If you entrench lack of justice in the political system through the political elite who are prepared to compromise, you will erode democracy.”
Then, outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza announced she was quitting the ruling party. A drained Khoza said she had had enough of belonging to a “sexist, misogynistic and abusive ruling party” and needed to protect her children.
She could no longer be part of a corrupt and “alien” ANC, disguised by a brand that countless noble souls had sacrificed their lives to build.
Khoza was to have undergone a disciplinary hearing next month on two charges of ill-discipline for bringing the party into disrepute.
This followed a powerful speech she gave against Zuma at a recent civil society conference on state capture and the future of South Africa.
Following her resignation, the ANC accused Khoza of being a coward by “running away” from the hearing, being a media darling and a person who had ambitions to be made a minister and was not.
Following her announcement, several civil society organisations lauded Khoza for her move, saying they were willing to work with her against corruption.
Silke said although civil society was becoming more vocal, so was the business sector. This was due to the effects on the economy.
“They are also vocal because of the linkages between state and private entities, which are being sandwiched between factions. But in the end, it’s up to the ANC to make the dramatic changes that are necessary.
“There is a broad wave now from within South African society, whether in politics, business or peripheral institutions, who are clamouring for change,” he said.
A coalition within the ANC’s tripartite alliance was also calling for change, Silke said.
“Perhaps, for the first time, there is a greater degree of agreement to secure cleaner governance that’s more substantial than ever before.” – firstname.lastname@example.org