The ANC 54th elections conference announced its office bearers and opinions run wild on how the new president is surrounded by a bunch of rogues that will leave him hamstrung to lead.
Many in the business sector carry this narrative. The new leadership team comprises of current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, incoming Deputy President David Mabuza, former Secretary General now National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General Ace Magashule, returning Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte, and incoming Treasurer General Paul Mashatile.
No sooner has Ramaphosa been introduced as the ANC’s 14th president when an attempt is made to separate him from half of the elected leadership that did not appear on his slate. This separation is made among equally elected fellow office bearers where some are grouped in claims of natural impediments for his noble intentions. The same elected officials are categorised as corrupt and the antithesis of any hope at organisational renewal. Despite the fact that the conference elected all six office bearers as entrusted to lead there is an attempt to divide the elected leadership in claims of those who work for and those who work against the overall aim of ANC renewal.
This emerging narrative seeks to separate Ramaphosa as a lone champion for ANC renewal with a deputy and secretary general office regarded as a tainted and a gang of thugs whose agenda is contrarian to that renewal. At one level this narrative is a protest against the choice of the ANC branches and structures as exercised at conference. On another level it is an attempt to claim Ramaphosa as separate from the ANC he was elected as president. It also flies in the face of the concerted effort of a pursuit and work for unity as stabilising the ANC. It undeniably casts aspersions on some as contaminated and corrupt, when it gives others a free pass.
As expected capital attempts to arrogate a right to direct the ANC in an arrogant and bold sense in attempting to divide the new leadership. They tell the ANC it has elected bad leaders in its deputy president, secretary general and deputy secretary general. It has for now placed its sole focus on pointing fingers at Mabuza, Magashule and Duarte. They are categorized as Zuma comrades. Interestingly Ramaphosa and Mantashe who along with Duarte was part of the previous top six are not considered questionable. It is also very interesting that Paul Mashatile is currently still exempted from the wrath of capital’s claims against ANC leaders measurable in corruption, despite the longstanding allegations of his kingpin ship of an Alex mafia that crippled Gauteng at some stage. Why the inconsistency with Mashatile who also had allegations levelled against him.
The voice of big business is loud in this conversation. They tell us that due to Ramaphosa’s exceptional wealth he is incorruptible, again we do not know what this means. Bankers are penning open letters pledging their support to Ramaphosa when it simultaneously bemoans the credibility of those elected along with Ramaphosa. There is a danger in entertaining this idea that business could be supporting a Ramaphosa as an individual and not the ANC as an organisation.
An attempt at separating the new ANC president as hero, at the expense of his team, will not assist Ramaphosa or the intentions of the organisation. It may only alienate him from the team he must lead. The easily accepted assumption that business is purely patriotic and therefore supporting the new ANC leader without personal gain intent should be unmasked.
Conscious of these wrongful intentions of capital in this regard the ANC must jealously guard the early gains of unity evidenced in this elections outcomes. It must be vigilant not to have its top leadership divided by external self serving interests. It equally must protect its president against these attempts to alienate him from his team as mandated by the branches of the ANC. The delegates that attended this conference took the call to unite serious, and their choice for leadership confirms this. A united ANC can deliver on the ideals and mandate for which this unity is sought.
Clyde N. Ramalaine