South Africa

Editorial | ANC conference: The problem is the party, not Ramaphosa

Is this weekend’s ANC elective conference the last one of significance for the oldest liberation movement on the continent?

Many are probably hoping so.

Like a toxic relationship with a long-suffering partner, the governing party has sapped the strength of scores of its supporters and left disappointment, bitterness and a floundering economy with near record high unemployment in its wake.

So indifferent is it about its abusive actions — its inherent corruption, an insatiable urge to loot, its elevation of the incompetent — that any future legacy will be overwhelmed by talk of further plunder.

And, like the quintessential abusive lover, the ANC is not asking us to expect more from it, but less, so that we may be happier.

The governing party has failed the people of South Africa, and it is President Cyril Ramaphosa who sits at the helm as the ANC’s light flickers into irrelevance.

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Had Ramaphosa not won the presidency in 2017, whoever had would have been in the same position, and it would have been their name that would be associated with the last gasps of the “glorious movement”.

Ramaphosa’s “New Dawn” was marketed as the transmogrification of the “nine wasted years” under Jacob Zuma. But appointing the same people who broke the machine to fix it is futile.

Those believing that the elective conference will usher in a new era of success and prosperity that will lead the ANC to an overwhelming victory at the polls come 2024, and a bright and happy future for citizens, have either not been following the events of the past five years, or are so blinded by ideology that they will never see even a sliver of light. The party will have to truly renew itself for this to happen.

Believing also that Ramaphosa will take a scythe to his bungling cabinet if he is re-elected — although there are sure to be some changes — reveals a misunderstanding of the mindset of the ANC.

Ramaphosa is not the problem. It is the ANC — particularly its incompetence — that has been and remains the problem. Like a spoiled child with toys scattered at its feet, the governing party will only learn to play nicely if those toys are snatched away and rules put in place for their return.

Thus, whichever leader emerges victorious at the conference is irrelevant. Until the ANC changes how it functions and gets rid of some dead wood, there will be few prospects of hope, prosperity and renewal.

Artmotion S.Africa

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