One of the most useful spin-offs of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture (the Zondo Commission) has been all the publicity about cadre deployment. This policy has been among the most ruinous of all the things the African National Congress (ANC) has inflicted upon this country. Moreover, as is the case with all their other ruinous policies, Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC are unrepentant about what they have done.
President Ramaphosa and his party argue that governments elsewhere do much the same sort of thing. Even if this unsubstantiated claim were true, there are not too many governments elsewhere that have implemented their own versions of “cadre deployment” to the extent that they have laid waste to the state itself. Even if Mr Ramaphosa and his colleagues were serious about implementing their National Development Plan they cannot do it because they have destroyed their own toolkit.
Perhaps their signature achievement is that they have looted vast amounts of public money but still managed to bankrupt their own party.
Some commentators compare the ANC’s cadre deployment policy with what the Broederbond did during rule by the National Party (NP). The comparison is hardly flattering, but, again, the Broederbond did not lay waste to the state. Irrespective of whether those running them were Broeders or not, state-owned enterprises, including those on which poorer people were heavily reliant, such as trains and postal services, actually worked.
Whatever else they might have done, the Broeders did not loot the state. In 1994 the ANC inherited a functioning state, large parts of which the comrade cadres then proceeded to loot or otherwise destroy. For this they show little remorse, still less any intention or ability to fix what they have broken.
But cadre deployment is only half the story. The other half is affirmative action.