Vuyo Mvoko | Much to make us very afraid
By all accounts, another heartbreaking week in SA.
Is there something that can still be done?
In a recommendation on Wednesday, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ordering President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, found to have violated the constitution by lying under oath.
But if, like me, you like watching – no, not what the minister does with his hands and then post videos of it – just how low our politicians are prepared to take the country, this week has just been one of those that make you so afraid.
Back in February, when Ramaphosa announced his cabinet, questions were asked about why the president kept in his executive Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini – if he was really serious about undoing the dreadful legacy of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
Allowed to hide behind the “prerogative” he has to appoint ministers without having to explain himself to anyone, it’s been up to analysts to guess that the president doesn’t want to upset the apple cart, in case he offends the ANC.
Not that the two possess any particular skill or intellectual firepower.
Dlamini happens to be the ANC Women’s League president, Gigaba is a former ANC Youth League president and both of them are staunch backers of the former president, whose premature departure from the Union Buildings never went down well with his still-angry faction within the governing party.
The president’s indifference, even after the Constitutional Court recently ruled that Dlamini should perhaps be charged with perjury for lying under oath, is what gives no hope at this stage that he’s prepared to do the right thing in Gigaba’s case either.
He risks, more than ever before, becoming a lame duck, beholden to the ANC’s procreating factions, whose biggest success in the last dozen or so years especially has been their institutionalisation of a culture of impunity.
If you think the problem has to do with a well-intentioned but just politically “weak” Ramaphosa at this stage, then you will have to explain to me why Gauteng chairman and premier David Makhura and his provincial executive would be so steadfast in their protection of two former MECs. Qedani Mahlangu was the health MEC when the Life Esidimeni tragedy occurred.
Brian Hlongwa has been implicated in a R1.2bn corrupt activities investigation while he was also health MEC.
When the ANC’s own integrity commission recommended this week that the two be sanctioned, the ANC leadership in the province rallied behind their comrades, who are both members of the ANC’s provincial executive committee, disagreeing with the recommendation.
If there is no leadership at national and provincial levels, did it come as a surprise to anyone that bullets were fired at a meeting of local branches that were supposed to discuss civilly whether former ANC regional chairperson Andile Lungisa should stay on as a member of the Mandela Bay municipality’s mayoral committee?
In other democracies, when people feel betrayed by those they would have entrusted with their future, the electorate turns to the opposition.
But just how bizarre can things be in this country?
In the same week the ANC was once again proving that it is fast fading into a cult that believes its “unity” is the only remedy to SA’s problems, the DA was single-minded about its own suicide mission.
At least seven DA councillors have resigned from the Cape Town council and the party, citing racism and unfair treatment.
Patricia de Lille, the most senior and seasoned politician among them, on her last day on Wednesday was speaking as though she has suddenly discovered that the party she has served for so many years and as a leader of its flagship municipality is “rudderless” and racist.
And the man who hopes to topple the ANC in next year’s election, Mmusi Maimane, has buried his head in the sand as though nothing is happening.
Hopefully, South Africans are learning from this week’s events that politicians are about themselves and not about us, from the lowest levels such as party branches and municipal wards, all the way to the highest office in the land, the president’s office.
They are more concerned about themselves and resolving their own problems, than about the rest of us and our country’s problems.
The only time Julius Malema found something wrong with the ANC and took it on was after it expelled him. So watch De Lille’s next move.
The UDM prides itself for exposing “amasela” (thieves).
With lingering suspicions that he too may be a thief, following a visit by the Hawks, the party’s regional leader and now Mandela Bay mayor, Mongameli Bobani, spent this week threatening the editor of The Herald, trying to bully the newspaper to reveal its source documents.
A cursory look at those keen to enter politics doesn’t offer a great deal of hope.
Andile Mngxitama, who this week called on South Africans to help him raise R600,000 so he could register his Black First Land First for next year’s elections, had an ugly separation from his former party, the EFF.
Now spending his time chasing away journalists and behaving like the Guptas’ home security the one day and on another day perfectly performing the duties of cheerleaders whenever Zuma or his son, Duduzane, appear in court, it’s hard to take him seriously.
Should we expect anything to change?
Well, that would be a miracle.