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ANC also harbouring ex-oppressors in its ranks

POLITICAL killings put the country into a terrain of scavenger politics devoid of morality and social goodwill.

Towards the ANC Polokwane conference of 2007, the language of aggressive politics, coupled with intimidation, took form within the governing party. Many of these traits of ill-discipline were not reprimanded by some leaders out of political expediency.

Slowly, these have morphed to a quasi-culture over the past 10 years. Dissenters are purged, people seen as political hurdles are sidelined and driven out of the organisation.

Crusaders of justice in the form of whistle-blowers who seek to eradicate corruption, especially in the local government sphere, have been killed in cold blood.

Ascendency to the seat of power has become tailored around individuals and not the ANC and what it stands for. The political history of the movement is being abused to promote wreckers to positions of power. Relying on people’s loyalty, they evoke struggle stalwarts who the older generation can relate to.

When called upon to convince the youthful voters, the leadership of the movement is found wanting in its political engagement and packaging for young people. The ultimate is to resort to degrading the once-glorious movement into an organisation of slogans and dance moves like “dabbing” as a way to relate to young people. The slogans are devoid of truth and the leadership shamelessly revises history for its own benefit.

In an event at the Market Theatre, President Jacob Zuma made startling remarks that only the naïve and unknowing could take seriously. In characteristic form, Zuma said: “You think the DA is a wonderful organisation. It’s the only one of all the opposition which has the people who oppressed us, they still sit in parliament today. If you are a black person, you join that party. really, really is worse when you lead it (sic).”

There are two distortions here. Firstly, the DA is not the “only one of all the opposition” that has former oppressors in its ranks. The Freedom Front Plus is littered with people who believed in the apartheid ideology, who even distort the place of black people in this country.

Secondly, Zuma attempts to deflect a very crucial reality. When the National Party pulled out of the government of national unity, it re-branded itself as the New National Party (NNP). The now former oppressors were occupied with the need to re-image themselves, in order to remain relevant in a new social order they had prevented its birth for so many decades.

The NNP did attempt an alliance with the DA, which led to a new brand now known as the DA. However, that alliance did not work out as envisaged and the NNP pulled out. The ultimate bedfellow of the NNP was the ANC, as the NNP dissolved and merged itself to the ANC, with elected representatives of the NNP holding on to their seats under the ANC banner.

It is for this reason that Marthinus van Schalkwyk held a ministerial post for a long time, as a way of thanking him for delivering former oppressors to the ANC.

That move, in 2005, marked the acceleration of political expediency by the ANC. Reaching a compromise, through Codesa, with the oppressors could be deemed progressive and realistic within the prevailing material conditions at the time. Forming a political merger with the oppressors was the ultimate deceleration of transformative and liberatory politics.

For Zuma to stand tall and sell a mythical narrative that absolves the ANC of housing former oppressors and potential racists of today within its ranks signifies a decline in politics of truth, activism and morality. The stuttering policies of the ANC have not been able to unlock vast opportunities for black people’s participation in the mainstream economy. What we witness is the co-option of comrades to companies founded by the oppressors.