The ANC: A pyramid scheme on the brink of collapse?

Mzukisi Makatse says the party is faced with a stark historical choice between the Zuma Cult or South Africa

I am a member of the ANC and have been since 1989 when I was barely 11 years old. Painfully, it is the first time in all these years that I am overcome by a great feeling of doubt about the ANC. The doubt is borne of my anxiety whether I am still and truly a member of an organization, the ANC, or just part of a compendium of loose, self-interested groupings at the helm of which is the weighty personality cult of President Jacob Zuma. This to me is a profound doubt which I believe many who care about the attainment of the ANC’s historical mission are silently or vocally feeling.

The doubt itself has nothing to do with whether our joining the ANC was based on rational decision. No doubt about that because the ANC at the time represented a particular political mission that resonated with, and accommodated our political convictions. What is now in doubt to many of us who care about the Movement is whether the ANC, as we knew it, continues to represent our political convictions. Is the ANC still a prudent political choice in its current form?

Do many of us who joined the ANC to carry out certain political convictions still see the ANC as a vehicle to achieve our political objectives? If one removes any sentiment in discussing this matter, it can be easily revealed that a huge doubt exists in this regard. This is because the ANC we joined seems to have been dislodged by the self-centered groupings of no particular political direction or guiding political ideology. The ANC seems to have temporarily (one really hopes not permanently) ceased to exist. It appears to have been replaced by President Jacob Zuma’s personality cult as leader of the dominant grouping that is masquerading as ANC.

Accordingly, it would also appear to many of us that there is limited political or ideological space left in the ANC to pursue. The ANC seems to have been devalued of its political content deliberately to weaken it for the personality cult to take over. This state of affairs is fast transforming the ANC into a giant empty shell that is as huge as a toothless, non-poisonous anaconda.

Regrettably and as a result of this situation, I have never felt this enormous sense of political disenchantment towards the ANC and its leadership echelons in all the years I have been its member and activist. The inertia on the part of the ANC leadership in the face of brazen disregard of ANC principles and country’s policies by President Jacob Zuma and his close political and personal associates, is killing the ANC and sending the country into disarray.

In this regard we view President Jacob Zuma’s professed love of the ANC and his misguided, if twisted, ANC-comes-first rhetoric as nothing but a ruse to use the ANC to plunder the country’s resources. Under the circumstances the ANC seems to transforming into a push-push pyramid scheme at the bottom of which is the poor masses of our people struggling to survive whilst carrying the greedy and corrupt political elite on their shoulders.

In this connection, the rules are similar to those of the pyramid scheme: if you want to make it to the top of the pyramid scheme (ANC) and be rich, you must bring as many people (ANC branches) as possible to join the pyramid scheme. Thus was born the use of money to buy members to form these loose groupings under the guise of ANC branches.

In such a scenario, like in any other pyramid scheme, there can only be few who really become rich, until the pyramid scheme (ANC) collapses as the weight of the rich political elite takes its toll on the poor masses at the bottom. When this happens, all hell will break loose and mayhem will be loosened upon the country. As the masses will feel betrayed by the pyramid scheme (ANC), they will express their anger the best way they know how, and who really can blame them?

We say this because in our view, it is tantamount to betraying its historical mission if the ANC fails to act decisively and reject this personality cult which has revolved around scandals associated with President Jacob Zuma. These scandals include Nkandla and SAPS report undermining the Public Protector’s report; the killing of constitutional institutions that protect our democracy; SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoening appointment; NPA’s endless political bickering; the appointment of SAA’s Dudu Myeni; the secret Nuclear Energy Deal under Tina Joemart Peterson; dismissal of capable ANC deployees like comrade Nhlanhla Nene for the accumulation agenda of this cult, and many others. All these represent the psychotic proportions to which the cult has reached in its quest to pillage state resources whatever the costs.

. We know that as ordinary ANC members we no longer matter in this ANC pyramid scheme of things. What we say as ordinary members no longer carry any weight for as long as we have no money to form branches that we can donate to strengthen those at the top or those who aspire to the top of the ANC pyramid scheme. We can already anticipate the dismissive, arrogant response that we might get from those on top, or from those aspiring to be on top of the ANC pyramid scheme. However, even in this twilight hour, we are going to make the plea anyway because we still entertain a distant hope – which is why we are still in the ANC - that things can still be turned around and rescue the ANC from this almost certain demise.

It is therefore our humble plea that the ANC, whatever is left of it, awaken to its responsibility and make the historical choice that seems to face it in this historical juncture. Either the ANC recalls Jacob Zuma as ANC and country’s president – together with his army of lieutenants - or lose the people of South Africa and the country. The ANC must destroy the Jacob Zuma personality cult or the latter will destroy the ANC and the country. It is that simple.         

Mzukisi Makatse is a member of the ANC and writes in his personal capacity