GNU proposal a masterstroke? I don’t buy that

The ANC's potential coalition partners diverge widely, from the free-marketeer DA to the more radical MK Party and the EFF.
The ANC's potential coalition partners diverge widely, from the free-marketeer DA to the more radical MK Party and the EFF.
Image: File/Karen Moolman

By announcing the formation of a government of national unity the ANC was setting a “trap” of sorts for the MK Party and EFF.

These parties would obviously refuse to participate, froth at the mouth and walk away from any engagement.

The ANC would point out that it had done the correct and honourable thing by inviting them, but they had chosen to walk away for selfish and petty reasons.

It is working beautifully. The EFF and the MK Party are tying themselves up in knots and will soon be regarded as unreasonable, bitter ideologues.

They will bark from the sidelines while the train moves on.

That doesn’t mean that the ANC has done the right thing.

In fact, it is failing again.

That is because it is failing to speak and act with courage, principle and conviction.

It just wants to make a deal and stay in power. Let me explain.

After a 12-hour meeting on Thursday last week, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and his comrades announced that they would try to form a government of national unity that would hopefully include the DA, EFF, IFP, perhaps even the MK Party, and others.

This resolution illustrates once again that this is a party that can no longer stand on principle, that can no longer take a decision, that can no longer defend a stance it takes.

The decision is in keeping with Ramaphosa’s tenure over the past six years.

On arrival at a fork in the road, the Ramaphosa administration will hum and haw, chew its nails and come up with a principle-free mishmash of a non-decision.

The challenge before the ANC on Thursday was clear: choose a coalition partner or partners who will help you grow the economy, unite South Africa, end corruption, recommit to the constitution and our founding principles, deepen the rule of law and rebuild our institutions.

There are parties who believe in these principles and who would happily sign up to working with the ANC based on these clearly expressed agreements.

Yet, the ANC wants to repeat the 1994 concept of a government of national unity, except that in this case it would then have to bend over backwards to placate the corrupt, tolerate the lazy, mollycoddle the incompetent, and protect the families of state capturers.

Let’s not beat about the bush here: some of the parties that are keen to be in a national or provincial coalition that excludes the DA wish to be in office so they can loot unhindered, protect themselves and their families from prosecutions and open new pathways to their own enrichment.

It is their turn to eat.

Why would you want such people in your GNU, then?

Why would the MK Party and the EFF, both awash with state capture and corruption suspects, want to be in a GNU when they have expressly indicated that they do not respect the constitution of SA?

Over the past six months, Jacob Zuma’s party has said that it shares neither the values nor principles of the ANC. Other parties have, too.

Why would one seek an alliance or coalition with parties that are at total variance with your values?

The ANC lacks the courage of its convictions. It should come out and say very clearly that a workable coalition would be with the DA, the IFP, Bosa, Rise Mzansi and ActionSA.

Such a declaration would, of course, be hard for the ANC to make and would surely lead to internal upheaval.

But it is an honest reflection of where the party and the country are.

The ANC has chosen the coward’s way. In hoping to canoodle with the EFF, for example, it is choosing what its own internal documents have termed a “proto fascist” party that is eating its lunch.

The shameless MK Party sent Tom Moyane, who collaborated with US firms to capture Sars, and Nathi “this is a firepool” Nhleko to meet the ANC.

How many times must Ramaphosa be reminded that these are exactly the people he was elected to get rid of?

He must not be shy to say that he wants nothing to do with them.

Many analysts believe the GNU is a masterstroke by Ramaphosa because the EFF, MK Party and other rotten apples in the ANC will “disinvite” themselves from the new administration, freeing Ramaphosa to continue with his renewal agenda.

I don’t buy that story. 

We are tired of leaders who strike deals behind our backs.

We want leaders who stand up for their principles, who talk about them and defend them.

The ANC used to be the home of that sort of leadership. It must return to a values-driven, principled, type of leadership.

It must tell the nation what it stands for, and act accordingly, and not hide behind deal-making.

Be honest.


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