The treacherous road to Mangaung

The road to the ANC elective conference in Bloemfontein is littered with uncertainties. Firstly most of us are uncertain who will emerge as the next president of the ANC when the December conference finishes. As a matter of fact we are not even certain who the candidates are, except the incumbent, President Jacob Zuma. No one else has confirmed whether they will stand against him or not. So until someone steps up, this looks like a one horse race.

Different names of potential candidates are being bandied about and without us being certain who these faceless individuals are we are unable to assess their suitability. Not that you and I would vote in these elections but it would have been nice to know who would face JZ. I do not know why a simple political process like this one, where a party elects its executive structure, should be conducted in such a clandestine manner.

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Secret candiate
It is same with our national and provincial elections. The ruling party likes to keep the presidential candidate a secret and spring him upon us at the very last moment. Their argument is that the votes are for the party and not the individuals. It is up to them to decide who they deploy to certain positions. What happens when they deploy a flawed individual? It is apparently none of our business but an internal party matter. You and I have very little recourse if we are misgoverned.

How I wish for a transparent system where potential candidates are put to the glare of the public for us to assess them openly. I don’t mean judge them but ascertain whether or not candidate X is the right man or woman for the job. In the absence of a process like this most of us become disillusioned when these elective conferences come around. We know that a conference means a disruption of our normal lives. There will be a disruption in service delivery and misuse of government resources.

Deployed politicians and officials who should be busying themselves serving people will be busy campaigning for their preferred candidate. Because of the covert nature of this process their meetings will be held in uncharacteristic places like taverns. In fact I read a newspaper article that revealed that some meetings are currently being held in cars parked in the basement parking lots of some buildings. Surely this is not necessary.

I believe that the reason why this is taking place is because of the patronage nature of our politics. You see ascendency in the ruling party almost equals ascendency in government and government owned entities such as Transnet, SAA, Eskom, etc. The financial rewards that come with these positions can be amazing. So our politics are mainly about proximity to levers of government power and therefore the nation’s treasury. They are not so much about what candidates stand for and how they hope to better the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Potential candidates would rather not reveal themselves lest they suffer career ruin. The same goes for their backers. And while we have to deal with this incessant battle of Mangaung there is the sideshow called Julius Malema. The man just refuses to disappear from the limelight. Now he is facing charges of money laundering and already his supporters are crying conspiracy and seeing their man as some unjustly persecuted deliverer.

I don’t know about you but to me this whole scene is nauseating and enough to keep me on my knees regarding the future of this beautiful country.        


  1. A thoughtful and well written article. God bless all your endeavours