“The point we are making is that we find it adult enough to close a door, beat each other up and, if you find me with a blue eye, I can develop a narrative that I bumped against a pole or something, rather than the leaders of the ANC going public with their disagreements.”
That was Gwede Mantashe as his short-lived fire fizzled out in the aftermath of the national working committee meeting that followed President Jacob Zuma’s reckless, frankly treasonous cabinet reshuffle.
Mantashe sounded very much like a battered and abused spouse, a terrible example considering the endemic gender violence and rape which bedevils the country.
And his choice of words was yet another revelation of the countless inexcusable attitudes that now run through the fabric of Zuma’s ANC.
The tendency of regarding correction as an act where people “beat each other up” is nonsense.
It is utterly devoid of wisdom.
It assumes that people, or…eh adults, can only resolve things by beating each other up and whoever delivers the harder blows wins the day.
This is diametrically opposed to the essence of engagement which is the cornerstone of an open democracy. At worst this zero-sum approach, leads to unnecessary conflict and war.
As for the phrase, “I can develop a narrative”…, frankly that refers to the dishonourable action of formulating lies.
The casual way in which Mantashe said it suggests that to lie in order to wiggle out of a tight spots is now regarded as entirely acceptable within the ANC.
Zuma himself first used the flimsy “intelligence report” to explain his attack on our economy and our country. When that “developed narrative” failed to convince anyone, he changed it and began speaking of the need to include younger ministers in his cabinet.
When that too failed to convince anyone, he developed yet another narrative – of an irretrievable breakdown of relations between him and the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
It now seems that the leaders of this once noble organisation are more than ready to “developing narratives”.
Then there is the horrible idea that ANC leaders should not go public about disagreements which massively impact on the government and the nation.
It is as if the ANC has completely forgotten why it exists and why it is now in government – which is to serve the people.
If the public cannot be included in “ANC things” that hugely impact the very same public who are being excluded from real engagement, why does the ANC bother with being a public organisation?
Unless of course, they have morphed into a Mafia organisation that only operates in the dark corners of our society.
The failure by the ANC to promote the idea of freedom of speech, and the inalienable freedom to act on one’s conscience is unforgivable.
The ANC is the organisation that is charged with managing our democratic country.
Yet it dishonestly seeks to stifle freedom of speech and the possibility of its members exercising their consciences under the lie or…eh, “developed narrative” of fostering unity within the ANC.
Unity in mutual destruction is not unity!
At this rate, it is impossible for the ANC to execute its mandate, which centrally involves uniting this nation around a great cause!
The events of the past week have convinced many South Africans that the ANC is damaged beyond repairs.
It has allowed Zuma to wreak havoc in South Africa for far too long.
Whilst the ANC thought Zuma was spiting a looming opposition, they did not notice he was also destroying the ANC.
However, in the past week the people of South Africa have restored my faith and encouraged many in this country and abroad.
The number of South Africans who came out on Friday to express their disapproval of the most selfish and destructive president in the history of our young democracy was indeed, a sight to see.
It seems clear that it is this sort of action by South Africans united across race, religion, gender, class and every other divide, that will reclaim this country from the hands of a political elite that is adept only at keeping “smallanyana skeletons”, “developing narratives” and facilitating “state capture” in order to line their pockets.