‘Liberation movement! Who are we still fighting?’ ANC slated at Durban book launch

The ANC has failed to govern South Africa‚ is obsessed with sloganeering‚ consumed by corruption and has failed to shed its liberation movement tag.

These were among the accusations aimed at the ruling party during a hard-hitting panel discussion at the launch of Khulu Mbatha’s book “Unmasked: Why the ANC Failed to Govern“‚ hosted by the Xubera Institute in Durban on Wednesday night.

African National Congress

Mbatha‚ a former diplomat‚ said one question needed to be posed: “What if the ANC government had succeeded to govern?“

Mbatha argued that the ANC has been unable to shed its liberation movement posture‚ saying that its own Strategy and Tactics document described itself as both a liberation movement and a political party.

“Liberation movement! Who are we still fighting? I still argue that the Freedom Charter will not solve today’s problem because in its context its solutions were for the 1950s. The party has no plan to govern‚ hence it has not come out with any document since then‚” he said.

Mbatha‚ who was also an adviser to former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe‚ is one of 101 ANC veterans who recently called for a consultative conference to deal with the crises besetting the party. The veterans have also called on President Jacob Zuma to resign.

“I argue a document like the National Development Plan will fail because it’s not an ANC document but a state document. There was no input in it from the people‚” he said.

Prince Mashele‚ an academic and researcher with the Centre for Political Research‚ pointed out what the British and the Afrikaners achieved during their rule in South Africa. Mashele said for many decades the ANC was a closed book‚ but that Mbatha has opened it up – and that reality and was glaring.

“The British in their governance of South Africa‚ they invented modern mining‚ but of course this was to serve them and their interests. They wanted to replicate life as it was in the UK‚” said Mashele.

He said Afrikaners had nothing when they took over from the British and were as poor as black people are in present-day South Africa.

“The Afrikaner was living in abject poverty and was uneducated. What then happened‚ after the Anglo-Boer War‚ the Afrikaners sought to co-govern with the British. They built Eskom‚ yes the one that Brian Molefe and the Guptas are bankrupting today. They built the steel industry … By 1950 they declared that poverty has been eradicated among the Afrikaners. What is the ANC’s plan of governance?” said Mashele.

He said the ANC had no governance policy when it took over‚ and both he and Mbatha said the party was only good at churning out slogans. Mbatha said the most recent slogan was the term “radical economic transformation”.

Mashele saw no hope‚ saying the party was corrupt and obsessed with slogans.

“The only thing the ANC does is invent a slogan‚ print a T-shirt and call a rally and you solve the problem. They just wish the problem away…for them it is about the survival of fellow travellers‚” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial chairman and MEC for economic development‚ Sihle Zikalala‚ was meant to be on the panel – presumably to defend his party – but he did not make the event because of Cabinet business.