THIS year, 2017, is the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, and on the Homepage of the Official ANC website under
his photo appears the slogan: “LET US DEEPEN UNITY”.
Yet, there is something very disconcerting and sad that in this year, dedicated to one of the greatest unifiers of the ANC, we have to experience such bitter divisions, public disunity and ill-discipline.
One of the most quoted sayings of Comrade OR that: “Nothing can destroy the ANC except for the ANC itself”, is increasingly having an ominous ring to it. How can it be that people who still call themselves members of the ANC,
and go around calling themselves and those whom they make common cause with ‘comrades’, speak out from confidential organisational meetings of the highest decision-making structures of the ANC such as meetings of the Top 6 and the National Working Committee (NWC)?
Matters that are dealt with in confidence by the President of the ANC, in confidential briefings with a Tripartite Alliance partner such as the SACP, are immediately taken into the public domain at hastily called press conferences, and presented in the most biased manner to the media in order to inflict the worse possible harm not only on the President, but also on organisational structures and the unity of the Tripartite Alliance.
Despite an official call by the Top 6 of the ANC for everyone to desist from yet campaigning for the ANC Presidency, campaigning is conducted openly – even by some of the members of the Top 6 – which makes a mockery of their very call!
People who call themselves ANC members form organisations such as the Save South Africa Campaign, make common cause with an array of opposition parties, and throw unsubstantiated abuse at President Zuma and other senior leaders of the ANC with abandon.
Without any restraint, they call them corrupt thieves, fraudsters and crooks! Suddenly the legal maxim that one is innocent until proven guilty means nothing to them, but when charges were to be brought against Pravin Gordhan and Ivan Pillay, the same people were shouting “Innocent until proven guilty” from every rooftop.
Nor do they apparently have any moral or political problem to march together with people and organisations whose
roots one can trace straight back to apartheid, and whose racist attitudes have not changed at all. How does the so-called ANC members in the Save South Africa campaign march together with members of the DA, or even worse Afri-Forum, calling for a democratically elected ANC President to be removed?
I have asked these so-called comrades numerous times why they do not respect the constitutional and democratic structures of the ANC and work inside those structures in order to bring about the change they desire. Surely that is what a disciplined ANC member should do?
Not once have I received even the semblance of an answer, instead vitriol of the worst kind is thrown at me. I am told that I have been captured by the Guptas, that I am a vagabond and worse… But no serious attempt to engage my question about discipline, or to deal with any of the issues about White Monopoly Capital and the need for Radical Economic Transformation that I write about, is made.
The only conclusion that I can come to is that these are not matters of importance to them and that in fact, they do not want to be engaged about these issues. They, and especially their funders, do not want the fundamental change in the ownership of land and the means of production that Radical Economic Transformation will bring about.
Actually, that is not surprising, how can one expect Sipho Pityana as the Chairperson of AngloGold Ashanti, or Cheryl Carolus as Chairperson of Sibanye Gold and Director of Goldfields to want that? How can one expect anything
different from an NGO such as the Council for the Advancement for the South African Constitution (CASAC), whose Advisory Council Pityana chairs?
Or the Helen Suzman Foundation, or My Vote Counts, or Freedom Under Law, or the Open Society Foundation? All of whom are being funded by a collection of White Monopoly Capital companies or their agents, ranging from George
Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the Nathan Kirsch Foundation, the Rothchilds and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust together with local big financial institutions such as Investec and ABSA.
When stating the objectives of their organisations they all wax lyrically about freedom, constitutionalism and anti-racism, but one is hard pressed to find them anywhere showing concern with day-to-day instances where black people are subject to injustices.
As I have asked before, where were these organisations together with all the whites they now marched with against President Zuma, when action was required against:
-Race-based pay in companies?
-The currency manipulation scandal by major banks?
– Collusion among white monopoly companies?
– The construction, bank, bread and other cartels?
– The return of stolen land to black people?
They were missing in action! Please note I am only mentioning a few major issues where they were glaringly absent in any marches and displayed no moral outrage, there are many more instances. Last week we were subjected
to an even worse farce when these defenders of the White Monopoly Capitalist status quo made common cause with the coalition of the bitter and twisted.
Former President Thabo Mbeki, and former President Kgalema Motlanthe, neither of whom have been able to recover from and rise above their defeats in Polokwane and Mangaung sadly joined this unholy coalition of the defenders of white monopoly capital and black exploitation and subjugation.
Not only did they join them, but they allowed former apartheid President FW de Klerk to join them too in the
National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI). To my mind, this is one of the worst possible things they could
They allowed De Klerk to use this national platform that they provided him with to again deny that he had committed any apartheid wrongdoing. While the reality is that when the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report was presented, it contained one blanked out page. This, enforced by a legal injunction, was demanded
by De Klerk who threatened to sabotage the carefully orchestrated launch of the report if it was not blanked out.
That page noted: “The Commission finds that former State President De Klerk displayed a lack of candour in that he omitted to take the Commission into his confidence and/or to inform the Commission of what he knew, despite being under a duty to do so… The Commission finds that his failure to do so constitutes material non-disclosure, rendering him an accessory to the commission of gross violations of human rights. “The Commission finds Mr. De Klerk morally accountable for concealing this from the country when, as the executive head of government, he was under obligation to disclose the truth known to him.”
This is the kind of person that former Presidents Mbeki and Motlanthe saw fit to make common cause with in their frenzy of hatred against President Zuma and the current ANC government. It is truly outrageous that former
President Mbeki – with his ANC family lineage and a father such Comrade Govan Mbeki (one of the greatest icons of our struggle) – when asked who he voted for during the past national and local government elections could not get himself so far as to declare that he voted for the ANC, and actually tried to hide behind the utterly lame excuse that
his vote is ‘secret’.
More recently he was now joined by others, including former President Motlanthe and Derek Hanekom in saying that they are not sure that they will vote for the ANC in 2019 if things do not go their way at the ANC’s National Elective Conference in December this year. Truly there is something wrong with your character when opportunity controls your loyalty!
Former President Mbeki, who was one of the most aloof and dogmatic presidents imaginable, now suddenly argues that ANC MP’s should be allowed to vote confidentially and freely in the upcoming no-confidence vote against President Zuma in the National Assembly.
All of us who have worked with him know that under his rule he would have considered a free vote as an outrage
and anathema. I also remember how the very same former President Mbeki raged against various NGO’s, not only when they questioned his HIV/AIDS denialism, but even more so when they raised other legal and constitutional issues.
Now, he sees fit to make common cause with those very same NGO’s. Even more so, he is quite happy to support them as an actual agent for regime change and to stoke on the divisions within the ANC. Comrade OR Tambo’s warning is applicable when he said: “Beware the wedge driver. Watch his poisonous tongue.”
Our beloved ANC is at a crossroads – either we are going to tear ourselves apart through ill-discipline and self-serving behaviour such as the one I described above, or the organisational discipline of the ANC will have to be imposed and accepted.
We have to work for unity and accept the principles of central and internal democracy.
Those who do not want to accept this, and who want to proceed on their own self-serving frolic must understand that they define themselves through their behaviour outside the ANC.
The time for a closing of the ranks, and protecting the integrity and future of this beloved movement of our, has truly arrived.
Carl Niehaus is a former member of the NEC of the ANC and MK veteran.
All Carl’s articles can also be found on his blog, Carl’s Corner: www.carlniehaus.co.za