Newly-elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday went on a walkabout among the small businesses plying their trade outside the Nasrec Expo Centre where the party is holding its 54th national conference. PHOTO: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

Lead Opinion South Africa

Is the ANC underscoring the personality cult with its obsession to have Malema back?

The saying goes in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies. The ANC and the EFF in this season appear involved in a hot romance, that may really be an interesting tango of the personality cult. It is increasingly difficult to make sense of the lack of leadership the ANC is showing despite its perpetual overall mandate of 62% mandate to lead SA politically. One is not sure if the ANC is simply not capable to do so or simply not interested to do so. It seems the ANC is comfortable to be led, in this instance, it appears happy to be led by the politics of a personality, Malema who really is the EFF.


After all, we as ANC voters and supporters have a right to ask of the ANC to lead, since it appears not willing to lead society where it matters most? This need to have Malema back affords the leader of the EFF latitude to insult and belittle it in public domain, without the ANC leadership as a collective have a challenge with it. The ANC may counter this in a claim of it needs not to respond to everything that Malema makes public. The reality is the ANC is not responding to anything when it sends a message that it is in bed with the EFF.


Malema categorically says, the EFF have in discussions with the ANC during the 2016 coalition talks told the ANC what to do and the ANC has virtually done everything it as the EFF demanded. Malema tells the Mail & Guardian his party the EFF is leading the ANC, suggesting really Malema is leading the ANC. To this, there is a deafening silence from the ANC to either rebut or rebuke Malema, what are we as ANC supporters and voters to deduce?


One hypothesis for the ANC’s current comfort with EFF politics of expediency and partnership perhaps rests in the claim that the ANC has fundamentally come to accept it will not do well come 2019 and is confronted with the reality of what the DA has declared as the future of SA politics namely coalition politics. The ANC 54th Leadership appears trapped in this reality which really may be at its core advance a defeatism only to be salvageable through a coalition agreement with the EFF.


The ANC also appears to have accepted that the EFF is its natural political solution for such coalition reality if and should such evidence as a reality come 2019. Perhaps we should also accept that the ANC has a right to choose its political partners for a coalition.


We know that there has been ongoing behind the scenes attempts to work for the return of Malema to the ANC.  This essentially was led by the Gauteng leadership. At face level, there is absolutely nothing wrong for the ANC or any party to attempt winning back former members, yet what the ANC is dealing with is a party that has made its mark and has no interest to lose that position. If anything, it seeks to entrench its political gains as directing the political scope of an SA.


Those who desperately want Malema back in the ANC lacks and appreciation of the case, process and final decision for his expulsion.  They conveniently in the politics of common enemy charge the expulsion to Zuma’s account hence with Zuma gone, Malema must return. We must, therefore, assume the ANC would exert the same effort to win back every other member ever expelled in the history of its existence.  This when there are others like Mbeki who has been pontificating for less ANC members.


There appears a peculiar tolerance on the part of the ANC as if its afraid obsession to have Malema back. We must therefore ask is it politically expedient, is it genuine, or is it an acknowledgment the ANC processes followed at the time as instituted by the then SG and the final outcomes of the Disciplinary and Appeals hearings were flawed or is it because the ANC considers itself necessarily weaker in political presence with Malema and therefore he spells a threat to its existence. Lastly is it merely convenient to accredit Malema’s expulsion as part of the common enemy Zuma that is now gone making it appropriate for him to return?



We as voters and supporters in this season are confused, to say the least, what we see is EFF Leader, Malema who has first-hand knowledge of ANC information discussed among the top six. We saw how Malema did not even show respect to the President on the night the latter made his maiden cabinet known. Malema was rattling off the names because he has an inside track on ANC decision fresh from the oven as we would in the proverbial sense say. Seldom has an opposition party leader been so informed of every move of the ANC to the extent that Malema is in some circles considered a prophet on ANC happenings. He is able to second guess the ANC every step of the way. He did so with the tabling of its motion on land expropriation. Though to the defence of the EFF we must admit it offered the ANC last year already with its supports on the land issue.


Back then the ANC caucus opted not to vote with the EFF, interesting enough the then ANC and SA president Jacob Zuma advised caucus to vote with the EFF on the matter from a black cohort party disposition. Zuma is gone, all of a sudden, the ANC has vaults of energy to work with the EFF on all fronts.


There seems to be some in the ANC top leadership who have convinced the ANC that Malema is the ANC’s solution, and all efforts must be made to have him back at any costs.


We not sure if the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Mayoral candidate position was the trade agreement for the land motion vote which was carried by a 241- 89 vote earlier in March 2018.  The EFF is willing and ready to sacrifice the not liked Athol Trollip, yet it does not do so, but for his whiteness. It has declared come March 29, 2018, they will have Trollip’s head on the proverbial tray. Yet the EFF is not seeking Trollip’s head because it is tired of its vat-en-sit affair with the DA in which it hitherto has remained a junior partner with the DA not even supporting them to run a small municipality, Metsimoholo. It is seeking Trollip’s head as a white man.


In its arrogance, it has sought to direct the ANC that Mcebisi Jonas must be the ANC mayor candidate.


We all would have respect for the EFF if it in principle came to a conclusion that its 2016 agreement with the DA is not working and therefore it in this season is walking away from its DA coalition. This, however, is not the case, for had it been the case the EFF would have given the same directive to the COJ and Tshwane metros. These are equally DA-led administrations though with black mayors. The EFF out of the convenience of a common enemy identifies Trollip as the DA they are upset with, Trollip the one whom apartheid extended a denotation of white is the object of the EFF’s revenge to confuse and deceive SA more so the ANC that it is serious with parting ways with the DA.


On the eve of the promised action, the ANC is reported to have said it will not field a mayoral candidate for fear of being blackmailed by the EFF.


The strange phenomenon of a 106-year-old ANC in this era obsessed with an expelled Malema as crucial for its future election success is mind-blowing. To have the ANC nose-led by a 6% percent party hardly 4 years old to potentially violate the fundamentals of what defines a claim of non-racialism is nauseating, to say the least.


Is the ANC’s love affair with the EFF the strongest indication of the lack of faith the ANC has in securing an electoral mandate it has until now been entrusted with for five consecutive administrations?

Is the ANC’s open flirting and extraordinary tolerance of Malema the evidence of a personality cult practice? We must ask why the ANC appears to have adopted an attitude and belief that it is already defeated and in need of a Malema and the EFF.


Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Clyde Ramalaine – Columnist and Analyst
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine is an ordained and licensed member of the SA and USA clergy with over 25 years of service as a practicing theologian. Ramalaine’s incisive political analysis and commentary on a variety of issues has appeared regularly in most SA newspapers since 2010.
His work continues, among others, to appear in The Thinker, the leading Pan African Journal for thought leaders. He participates in panel discussions on subjects of his interest, and has appeared on SABC and ANN7 platforms, among others.
A published author including annual anthologies of political commentary and a volume of poetry named Gekraakte Blare.
He holds a BTH (Hons-Status) with double majors Systematic Theology and Sociology from the University of Western Cape (UWC).
He also earned a MA Theology (Systematic Theology) Cum Laude from North West University (NWU). His dissertation “Black Identity and experience in Black Theology: A Critical Assessment” is considered a ground-breaking and very relevant work in Black Theology. In such, he successfully questioned the usage of the epithet ‘black’ from a socio -historical and theological perspective.
He serves as management consultant on strategy design, analysis, and communication services for the last 22 years with serving clients in both private and public sector domains.
Analyst for Weekly Xpose.

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