As I write this column, I am watching a DVD of opera star Pretty Yende performing in 2009 at the Oude Libertas Theatre. Eight years later, the young diva is gracing the world’s stages with her talent.
She got there having won many, many international competitions through hard work. I cannot help but compare her with her compatriots, similar ages and older, at the ANC conference, singing and stomping for hours waiting patiently for the election results, then a recount.
To these comrades, time is not precious.
They are like the FeesMustFall students who consider it more important to march, picket and protest than it is to use precious time to study or do something productive.
Yende and her ilk have outgrown the ANC and their antiquarian political antics. If only party members served this country with the same energy expended at rallies, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we’re in.
The ANC is a colossal mess, epitomised by the mental, emotional and physical decline the party is in.
Split into many factions, there are possibly three centres of power that poor Cyril Ramaphosa would have to cope with – between the endemically corrupt, those who want some of the spoils and those who want to clean up.
Zuma’s palpable anger at having lost the election through his proxy, Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, was clearly a mortal blow to his lifelong ambition to escape prosecution.
What now? As my dad use to say, never forget the 13th commandment – Be sure your sins will find you out. Amazingly, Zuma thought he would dodge the bullets until he dropped dead.
Examples abound on our doorstep that power is transient.
Yet we refuse to learn. While everybody thought Robert Mugabe would never be defeated, his end finally came, and it wasn’t nice. If Zuma had any sense he would abdicate now and save himself untold humiliation.
But as is his wont, he will fight to the bitter end to obtain amnesty. Earlier this year there was talk of giving Zuma R1 billion to retire so desperate was the elite to get rid of him.
A liability to his party, the economy, the country, Zuma knows his time is up.
His party knows his time is up, but the ingenious chess player will not leave easily.
His call for free education was made precisely to destabilise the country under Ramaphosa’s leadership.
It is Machiavellian to the extreme, considering the consequences of insourcing of non-academic staff and fee-free education have had on university balance sheets.
Now there is talk of expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of the central bank. Zuma’s disciples are circling the wagons, intent on showing Ramaphosa who is still in charge.
Based on his experience of African dictatorships, Ghanaian economist George Ayittey, avers that “dictators are allergic to reform, and they are cunning survivors. They will do whatever it takes to preserve their power and wealth, no matter how much blood ends up on their hands. They are master deceivers and talented manipulators who cannot be trusted to change”.
Good luck to ANC president Ramaphosa as he tries to reverse the deeply embedded patronage and cronyism that has captured our state.
He has his work cut out.