MASOKA DUBE and PIET RAMPEDI
ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Nathi Mthethwa has called on party members to save the ruling party, which is at “its weakest” or risk losing power.
Conceding that the organisation is facing a crisis, the Arts and Culture Minister implored members to forge ahead and protect it from an onslaught by opposition parties.
Mthethwa was delivering a keynote address at the Limpopo provincial general council (PGC) in Polokwane on Sunday.
The PGC, attended by branch delegates and senior party leaders including NEC members Thoko Didiza, Ruth Bhengu and Premier Stan Mathabatha, was held in preparation for the national general council (NGC) which starts at Nasrec, Johannesburg, on Friday.
Mthethwa spoke about various challenges facing the ANC. This included divisions within the party, the monopolisation of the economy by whites, the need for cadre development, the global balance of forces and the need to fast track radical economic transformation.
Mthethwa, who also serves in the ANC national working committee (NWC), says while challenges facing the party are palpable, there is no need for the rank and file to lose hope.
It is in times of crises that real cadres separate themselves from ordinary members of the ANC, he said.
“We are currently facing a situation where there is no cadreship in our movement. A cadre is someone who will tell us that, ‘comrades, I think this and that is wrong’. We really need cadres who will work hard to protect this revolutionary movement. Comrades, many people are losing hope on our movement that is why I am saying let us work on protecting it,” Mthethwa said.
“This time around, the movement and the tripartite alliance are at their weakest, which grants opposition parties an opportunity to capitalise. The party is facing a crisis internally and externally, therefore, we must soldier on in order to save it.”
Mthethwa’s honest assessment comes as the ANC faces increasing pressure from opposition parties over the leaked Gupta emails; allegations of state capture; demands for President Jacob Zuma to step down as well as infighting within the ruling party.
The party is also divided over leadership succession and the country’s future economic trajectory, with one group pushing for radical economic transformation and the other in favour of inclusive economic growth.
The former faction wants Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma as ANC president while the latter prefers Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over.
Mthethwa lambasted those who deny the existence of white monopoly capital, saying they were hiding behind semantics and choosing to fight “petty battles” instead of confronting economic injustice and inequality. In recent weeks, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and others said white monopoly capital was a myth.
“Every year, the state has a budget of R500 billion for procurement. The question is who gets the lion’s share. So, we should not play semantics comrades, let’s face the fact. Let’s not say there is monopoly capital but it’s not white. It’s white, comrades. We shouldn’t be apologists. It’s white, in South Africa today,” Mthethwa maintained.
“The ownership and control of the economy is in white hands, predominantly. The direct ownership of the JSE of blacks is 3% comrades. So, now, we need to concentrate on it because the economy is going to come out with answers for the ever growing disquiet amongst our people in us not meeting their basic needs.”
Shifting his focus to the ANC’s internal challenges, Mthethwa said the actions of party members pose a danger to the revolution. However, he insisted that there is no evidence that liberation movements lose power after 20 years in charge.
This came after EFF leader Julius Malema reiterated his claim while addressing property owners in Cape Town last week that the ANC’s days are numbered because liberation parties get naturally redundant after two decades in power.
Mthethwa also tore into global powers, saying they were destabilising BRICS countries under the guise of fighting corruption.
However, he also blamed the ANC’s “own subjective weaknesses and failure” to correctly read the balance of forces and apply correct tools of analysis for the party’s current crisis.
Mthethwa called on ANC members to unite and ensure no other splinter party emerges after the national conference in December. He said if they allow that to happen, they might as well “kiss power good bye” and look forward to occupying opposition benches.
Mathabatha, who is also provincial ANC chairperson, concurred. “Comrades, the ANC is faced with a serious sickness. Let’s use this congress to find out what causes the illness of the ANC. After we have been able to diagnose the problem then it will be easy for us to come up with a remedy,” he said.