The African National Congress (ANC) celebrates 100 years as a political organisation this year but some former insiders are the biggest critics of the party’s current leadership. Expelled ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, has been on a campaign of telling South Africans that President Jacob Zuma isn’t fit to lead South Africa’s ruling party and thus the country. Malema was one of the men that campaigned heavily for President Jacob Zuma when former president Thabo Mbeki was asked to resign and was replaced by his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe. Malema has apologised to South Africans saying he misled them when he supported Jacob Zuma.
Rev. Frank Chikane who was Director General in the Presidency when Mbeki was recalled authored his version of those events in a book called, Eight Days in September. Chikane spoke at the Think! Fest in Grahamstown earlier this week as part of The National Arts Festival at Rhodes University. He says the organisation that fought for the end of apartheid and eventually led South Africa’s first democratically elected government will not survive another hundred years as the party is already divided. “If you put a list of factionalism you institutionalise it. The elected group became a faction rather than leaders of the organisation.”
He says the current ANC struggles to take firm decisions which leads to it reaching compromises even where they shouldn’t be taken and that has created problems. “Once you get compromised you can be used for corruption. Compromising the leadership and thereby opening of opportunities for syndicators and criminal gagsters to operate.”
He says some of those compromises have led to misuse of public funds and those within the organisation are not there to serve the interest of South Africans and their focus has shifted “to pursue of self-interests”.
“When there is a tender it is no more outsiders and the ANC but it is against the ANC and ANC.”
Chikane said last week’s ANC policy conference told a story of an organisation that needs to change its strategy in order to survive and continue to be supported by those that have voted for it in the past while attracting new voters. He said that change needs to happen before December. “If we go beyond to Mangaung factionalised, we will continue exercising power in the interest individuals’ factions rather than the interest of the people.”