The ANC laid bare

Jeremy Gordin writes on what has become of our ruling party

The ANC’s National Working (shurely shome mishtake? – ed.) Committee has suspended (on full salary and benefits) the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule.

The SG has in turn suspended the party’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who also happens to be the president of the Republic. Obviously, the latter portfolio is, at least in the view of ANC stalwarts, merely a part-time job.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, is taking his long leave ahead of his retirement; and the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, is on leave as well; and so, it appears, has the national director of public prosecutions, Shamila Batohi. Well, if she hasn’t, you tell me where she is and what she’s doing.

Additionally, Christopher Daluxolo “Dali” Mpofu, a leading silk (shurely shome mishtake? – ed.) – after telling public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and his advocate Michelle le Roux to “shut up” at the state capture inquiry, in front of the deputy chief justice, Raymond Zondo – an event clearly caught by the third umpire – well, Mpofu SC has complained to the Judicial Services Commission about being “disrespected” by Le Roux, whose behaviour, Mpofu added, might even have had “racist” overtones. (Thank goodness Le Roux is not Jewish, though who knows?)

What a time to be alive, as my son would say. Yet, while we giggle, we might also think just a tad more seriously about some of the above. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Surely, we should not be disconcerted – for despite everything, we live in a society in which reason and legitimacy are paramount. They must be, because, as we are often told, we live in a constitutional democracy. So much so that in January Ramaphosa offered to assist the American regime with insights into how democracy can and should work.

I was thinking, as I’m wont to do in the early hours of the morning, that Julius Caesar was assassinated not because he suffered from so-called cerebrovascular episodes but ostensibly because some members of the Roman Senate perceived that he represented a fundamental and insidious threat to the system of government the Senate had adopted.

Benito Mussolini, notwithstanding having been a journalist (and we all love journalists) and having enjoyed from 1922 to 1943 the best prosciutto Italy was able to offer, suffered significant ignominy at the hands of the population he’d sought to govern. Already dead, he was hung upside down from the roof of an Esso petrol station in Milan. As for Adolf Hitler, he ultimately met his comeuppance (by his own hand) in the bunker which he occupied in Berlin when the Red army was about to come knocking at the door.

What, we ask ourselves, do Caesar, Mussolini and Hitler have to do with the current dispensation pertaining in our beloved Republic? Perhaps more than one might at first think ...

The 2015 clandestine arrival in South Africa of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, and his even more clandestine departure, although the SA government well knew that it had been called upon to detain him until international authorities could take him into custody, did not say much good about either the credibility of our regime or its trustworthiness in the international arena.

It also told us that we have a government which pays little heed to the rule of law or due process. This is obviously so because in its mind (shurely shome mishtake? – ed.), neither the rule of law nor due process is of any consequence or significance in what it says is a democratic system of government.

In similar vein, the veterans of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or one group of them anyway, have advised us and our judicial, executive, and legislative arms that their beloved Jacob G Zuma will be removed from the comfort of his fire pool only over their dead bodies. Where do due process and the rule of law feature in such truculence?

Zuma, when he appeared before the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land – before which he did not in fact appear, possibly because he was busy in his fire pool – to answer the “charge” of contempt of court, was dealt with by the members of the court on the basis that they felt themselves obliged to reserve their judgement for reasons they simply chose not to share.

It has taken the ANC approximately 26 years to come to the decision that those of its members who are charged with corruption, theft and/or delinquency should possibly step aside from office. Magashule, being one such member, was given 30 days to step aside by the political party to which he owes so much allegiance.

He failed to do so on the expiration of the 30 days. His refusal to step aside resulted in him being given a further “indulgence” so that his comrades might once again caucus to decide that which had already been decided.

Finally, a decision was taken to suspend Magashule; and he has responded by suspending the organization’s president, Ramaphosa. Insofar as one is able to understand Magashule’s move, it seems to be on the basis that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I.e., Magashule obviously thinks that, by having done what he’s done, the National Executive Committee (NEC), due to discuss him and other alleged miscreants at the weekend, will be forced into also discussing Ramaphosa’s alleged sins (funding for the CR17 campaign, and so on).

What I have written about above is merely a sliver of the long – and seemingly interminable – litany of miscreant, dishonourable and deplorable conduct on the part of the ANC (and its members, who after all voted its “leaders” into office).

What I want to suggest on this beautiful Autumn day, as I remember Caesar, Mussolini, and Hitler, and recall the fine words of the Freedom Charter and Constitution, is that the ANC is de facto an ethno-nationalist organisation.

Increasingly, it does not accommodate any suggestion that whites, Indians, Jews, or any other ethnic minority might actually be entitled to participate in the national polity. Instead, it accommodates the Bell Pottinger-type nonsense trotted out with regular monotony by its surrogate organisations, the EFF, BLF, and others: whites are monopoly capitalists, racists, and, it goes without saying, colonialists.

Are these the views of a democratic regime? No; they are ones which we expect from a fascist or quasi-fascist regime. They are the views one expects from a regime that seeks to entrench itself and to hold itself in authority over a judiciary and a legislature, by subjugating concepts such as the rule of law and due process – turning them into issues which are mentioned in dispatches but are in fact disregarded.

These are the views of a regime using the power it enjoys to keep its electorate illiterate, innumerate, and impecunious. It is a regime which cares nothing for the people it purports to rule, cares nothing for honesty, integrity, and fairness and, ultimately, cares nothing for anything or anyone other than itself and a number of individual wallets.

It is a regime which unabashedly resorts to cadre deployment to ensure its continued hold on power and control over both the courts and the legislature.

What a time to be alive, indeed.