On the eve of its one-year celebration since its 54th Conference held at NASREC, which delivered its new leadership, we ask what happened to the call for unity? Is unity a reality in the ANC or is unity a farce?
There are those who deliberately confused unity for a person, namely former Mpumalanga ANC Chairperson and now Deputy President of the ANC and South Africa, David D Mabuza.
Mabuza was instrumental in betraying the NDZ17 campaign when he had committed his support for and reneged on it leaving his own province befuddled. He did this, therefore delivering a last-minute narrow victory for CR17.
Others take comfort in claiming unity lives and is manifested in the fact that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is part of the current cabinet and has been submitting comfortably under Cyril Ramaphosa as SA’s caretaker president. According to them, this is the biggest sign of unity and we must all accept that the signpost of a unitary ANC.
Well, close examination shows differently. Since December 2017, the ANC attests a divided movement entrenched by the realities of the triumphalism of the winners who until now have worked tirelessly to deal with all those who in any sense associated, campaigned for and stood by the policy articulation of RET as vocalized by NDZ.
The side-lining is not just in the atmosphere of political players but extends to every sphere. Its biggest sign of division is its failure to give meaning to the resolutions adopted by its 54th Conference. The watered-down versions and amoebic forms it has a year later lend itself to ask how serious is the ANC with its own resolutions? Failing to make these counts was never going to work for unity.
In order to appreciate the extent of disunity, you must first start with what transpired in February 2018 when the known and communicated process of a transition became the casualty of power-games by a lusty CR17 team who decided to make the SONA its focal point to force Ramaphosa to be the one delivering it. This was followed up by another backtracking and betrayal of a transition arrangement between Zuma and Ramaphosa, which resulted in the ousting of Zuma recorded in forced resignation.
No sooner was this attained and the CR17 team buoyed by an NPA investigation team set to tie Magashule up in the Vrede Dairy scheme, set its sights on Secretary-General Magashule. Magashule became the target for his support of Zuma and the NDZ campaign.
Unfortunately for them, the NPA returned more than two times with bloody noses for being found wanting in its pursuit of creating crime scenes when the courts ruled their attempts at seizing the Gupta monies weak and out of kilt.
The CR17 Team reconfigured itself and went to number 3 on their list, that being Supra Mahomepelo. Supra like Magashule was a vocal supporter of the NDZ campaign, and he became the target to be offloaded.
How can we forget how Ramaphosa was made to fly back in dramatic superhero stuff to rescue a province from the demon of Supra. We learnt how the health and every aspect of North West governance came to a standstill and needed urgent national intervention. It didn’t take long before Mahumapelo was fired at the hand of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who led the process on North West.
Let us also remember that at the time of the so-called crisis in North West, its neighbour Gauteng under the leadership of David Makhura, had seen and lived through worse crisis that resulted in the deaths of more than 140 most vulnerable mental patients, a litany of bad reports of its health system that evidence a crisis bigger than that of the North-West.
Yet Makhura because of his CR17 connections, was left intact and Mahumapelo was shown the door. Is there unity in North -West today, your guess is as good as mine? How did the actions of the ANC leadership aid unity, will we see the cost come 2019?
Team CR 17 was celebrating their victories one after the other while unity became sacrificed at every turn.
Brash and unilateral directed decisions and moves were made by what some term is the de-facto prime minister of SA Minister Pravin Gordhan, also the mainstay for the invention of State Capture crime claim, on SOE boards and management teams. This we were told was in the interest of fixing the SOEs. They could have fooled the unaware but we know this was a systematic, orchestrated attempt to identifying what they irrevocably deemed Zuma supporters and targeting them for firing and offloading. It didn’t matter what the impact would be, be it disunity or even load-shedding, all that mattered was triumphalism and targeting fellow comrades. These moves did not help any unity in the ANC, in fact, it hardened the lines.
As the CR17 team continues going down the list of names of those targeted, with a smug, they also targeted the DSG Jessie Duarte. So, she was targeted with wild claims of corruption and State Capture and not even her children were spared. She was forced to break her silence and called Gordhan out for his conscious cabal attempts of smearing her and others.
The ongoing State Capture Commission led by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo with its many questionable claims and in some instances utter fabrications if not blatant lies by among others Vytjie Mentor, Mcebisi Jonas, Barbara Hogan, Pravin Gordhan and Pumla Williams to name a few, all ANC members have not helped unity but pit groups against each other in an eternal wheel of disunity.
This attack on Jacob Zuma supporters and NDZ campaigners would come back to the SG Magashule, who was accused of having had secret meetings with former president Zuma in a public space. Qaanitah Hunter, the member of a group of embedded journalists, who are driven by personal anger would break this story and shape the CR17 campaign, claims of secret meetings when the venues of the hotels and spaces where ANC leaders met was a public place.
Ramaphosa would go to his old constituency COSATU aided by the SACP to reprimand Magashule of secret meetings held to oust him. Magashule responded and told his gathering, in his stomping grounds in the Free State, that he was not going to be told by someone who is not even an original ANC member who he can meet. Magashule made it clear he was ready for a fight. The CR 17 team laced with its public relations artillery to this day is hard at work to see Magashule leave this position. Again, how was unity helped with this?
Can we forget the confusion the CR17 team in NEC articulation showed when it denied ANC supporters to show up at the Zuma hearings with ANC regalia? Can we forget how they targeted those who attended for alienation labelling and accusations? How did this help unity?
An important role in ANC disunity is played by a structure outside of the ANC who has found a means to be very political in its rulings namely sections of the judiciary. From the time of the 2017 ANC campaign, we saw how some in the courts and judiciary overplayed their hands to prove support of the CR17 team. This has not stopped and the saying goes Zuma will never win any case in the North Gauteng Court where Justice Dunstan Mlambo has long shown his political affiliation in a choice of sides.
This past week the same North Gauteng Court ruled on a DA-led case that former president Zuma must be held personally responsible for all his legal fees paid so far by the State since 2008. This unconventional ruling that shreds the ministerial handbook on the subject matter of who is responsible for such legal fees attests the clearest sign that of a bias and political player judiciary that consciously does its bit in choking Zuma into economic debt is the plan, therefore stifling his intentions to fight what we all know are drummed up charges, saturated in political meddling on a vacuous claim of an arms deal which had been denied and failed to be proven by the Sikhakhane Commission among others.
Despite what Paul Hoffman and Andrew Feinstein may have written, came the hour they failed to make their case for a corrupt arms deal. Yet Zuma is held liable and accountable when the NPA was used to settle political scores from the days of Ngcuka and Leonard McCarthy later Mpshe and even layer Abrahams who all made this case stand or die led by their political persuasions. While Zuma must seek to find recourse in a higher court, the time has come to ask what unity?
The CR17 campaign who is yet to win a National Ballot is working vociferously on alienating many and its triumphalism left itself intoxicated to instead deliver disunity in the ANC. Their biggest claim, they are counting on voters outside the ANC to make Ramaphosa president come May 2019. It was never about the resolutions of the 54th Conference it was always about another agenda. I ask again how does this help unity in the ANC?
In regards to Cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, her vocal utterances on a Radical Economic Transformation so eloquently articulated as aided by some of us has since her appointment died a natural death, so also her interest in those who were closest to her who led and supported her in a people’s campaign as volunteers. There is no interest to argue the relevance of those who supported and who are in triumphalism side-lined despite their confirmed skills to serve South Africa, while we who supported NDZ 17 always knew it was not about her but about the campaign. We shall ask of her why the silence, does her silence not aid the ongoing disunity?
Well, where to for Jacob Zuma given this court ruling? What about his many efforts at campaigning for unity and campaigning for ANC victory must compel him to soul-search and ask, can I continue with this when there is a Tsunami of effort to divide, alienate and side-line others, purely because they didn’t agree with Ramaphosa candidacy? I cannot speak on behalf of Zuma, but he must for many who live and experience this disunity explain why he remains loyal to the disloyal, faithful to the unfaithful, sparing those who seek to perpetually embarrass him.
For some of us the dice are cast, as a matter of principle we will for the first time not vote ANC come May 2019 and may only return to vote again ANC when the CR17 team and their disunity agenda is history, it may be 5 years or less depending on how things go.