Little principle in the politics of money

Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

As we march towards the next year’s ANC national general council (NGC), which is a highest decision- making council between conferences and the 2021 local government elections, we can see that my ANC didn’t read or highly consider the diagnosis report tabled by   former secretary-general Cde Gwede Mantashe, as we can observe bad situations on our branches.

The ANC branches are built on a form of factionalism, gate-keeping and mostly by money. It’s worrying more especially in my province of the Eastern Cape and mostly Dr WB Rubusana region, where the fuelling of factionalism and use of money is so deep.

The branches are built by night outside the ANC’s constitution and it looks like those doing such have the blessing  of certain individuals in the upper structures of our ANC.

I recently read a book, How Democracies Die: What History Tells Us about Our Future, written by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

In the book, they draw profound lessons from history to shine a light on how regimes break down and how democracies die.

In this book is an issue of money being used in political campaigns. Levitsky and Ziblatt contend that the politics of money contributed significantly to the emergence of the US’s Donald Trump as the president and leader of the Free World.

According to these authors, this has contributed to the politics of money where candidates "could raise large sums of money by finding their own billionaire financiers".

In the politics of money, there is very little principle. Anyone who has resources, regardless of whether they are progressive, can ascend to the highest office.

When such people emerge as leaders, they pose a direct threat to democracy itself.

It is for this reason that, as the ANC, we must not be comfortable with the situation in our country’s politics.

We must not be comfortable with the idea that the presidency nor chair  or any highest position of the ANC is something that can so glibly be auctioned — put on sale to the highest bidder.

Those who subscribe to the Confucian principle of meritocracy — the ideal of “better fewer but better” — contend that the openness of liberal democracy is not something to be celebrated, for it is a threat to stability because virtually anyone with interest and most importantly, resources, can become an ANC leader.

I’m observing  this plantation of factionalism and use of money to hammer our people’s hope, the ANC. I’m calling on the ANC from the national executive led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to my ANC provincial executive, led by sober and humble leader Cde Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, to start now in defending the ANC by crushing all these growing alien tendencies of factionalism, money use and corrupt so-called regional leaders who are supposed to be builders of our ANC branches.

Those who ascend to high offices because of money and factions are lacking political principles and lack  the interests of the people, more especially the poor.

In the former SG’s diagnosis report, use of money to ascend to positions even if it is a branch is dangerous and will have consequences in the survival of the ANC.

Former president Thabo Mbeki once spoke openly of what he call “Umgodoyi” and said the ANC must guard against being led by “umgodoyi” because we will end up as citizen being "'imigodoyi”.

That term is serious and requires no translation.

I call on my  ANC to dedicate itself in the fight against factionalism and money use, against using money to produce useless and selfish leaders.

Viwe Sidali, ANC Mzwanele Fazzie Branch

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