Vuyo Mvoko | Demand better representatives
A few years ago a young fella, and clearly an influential member of the ANC Youth League, was being interviewed for a board position in the National Youth Development Agency, the outfit funded by the state to tackle problems facing the country’s young people.
Pressed to talk in the interview about what qualified him for the job, he couldn’t go beyond citing his contacts and good relations with senior ANC leaders.
And in the end, he was appointed – an insult as that was to both the intelligence and integrity of so many hardworking young South Africans.
As the Independent Electoral Commission this week made public the candidate lists of political parties contesting the May 8 election it became clear that, despite claims to the contrary, in reality the ANC feels no desire to change.
It hasn’t changed, it isn’t “self-correcting” and no, it hasn’t learnt from its past “mistakes”.
Topping its candidates’ list for parliament are dishonourable members of the party who have been found wanting by the public protector and the highest courts in the land, and against whom some serious and patently not-without-substance allegations have been levelled at the state capture inquiry.
The ANC’s charismatic but often profane head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, at number six on the list, is the highest placed of the motley bunch.
The former sports minister was found by the public protector to have violated the constitution by asking a supplier to SA’s main Olympics body to pay towards a family holiday for him costing more than R500,000.
At number 10 is Nomvula Mokonyane, who was responsible for the “complete collapse” of the department of water affairs and sanitation, to the point that parliament’s standing committee on public accounts asked for criminal charges and a full inquiry into the disasters that happened under her watch.
She has also been seriously implicated at the state capture inquiry for allegedly accepting bribes, and demanding meat, booze and other gifts from her sponsors.
Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini’s 14th position on the list is only outmatched by her worst performance during the Jacob Zuma administration, to a point the Constitutional Court ruled she was “reckless” and “grossly negligent” in her handling of the social grants debacle.
It in the livelihoods of millions of sick, old, infirm and other vulnerable South Africans were exposed to harm.
Oh, she was also found to have lied under oath – just like her former home affairs counterpart, Malusi Gigaba, whom the public protector said violated the constitution and his oath of office.
It doesn’t take a genius, or a moralist even, to conclude that the record of these senior ANC leaders is pathetic.
And that’s putting it mildly. How they got be the cream of the crop of the party’s most senior public representatives speaks volumes about what has become of the party of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and many other stalwarts, who were not without fault, but carried the hopes and aspirations of so many with a fair amount of hope and dignity.
Rightly or wrongly accused, how does the continued stay of these individuals benefit the country?
Of all the many capable people the ANC has in its ranks, the worst of the lot are the ones we deserve?
Worth remembering is that we’ve been here before – where the ANC defended and protected the chief mobster, Zuma – and look where we are today.
He may soon have his day in court – as the ANC is arguing will be the case with this lot if they are found guilty by courts of law or their appeals and reviews fail – but the country is already paying a huge price for the damage he has caused.
The truth though – and here’s the point – South Africans are not being dictated to or conned here.
We are willing participants, complicit in the madness, to our own detriment.
The ANC is not imposing these people on us, it’s us who are gleefully accepting what they are giving us.
If it’s in the interest of ANC “unity” to have these undesirables lead us again, it is not in ours or the country’s.
It’s not for us to wait till they are charged, when there are so many capable people in this country who swear by the 107-year-old liberation movement.
No matter how disempowered we’ve ever felt before, we now have an opportunity to demand more, and better.
It’s up to us to choose not to.
And if we do that, we can’t blame the ANC unfortunately.
If the ANC, or its young, have learnt nothing in the past 25 years, we have.