Solly Moeng | The ANC’s biggest ally is the fragmented opposition | Company

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As long as civil society movements and opposition parties do not cooperate, the ruling party will remain unchecked, it writes Solly Mong.


Even the laziest online search of media coverage of South Africa, particularly reading op-eds and the ongoing social media conversations about the country by South Africans themselves, will reveal that there is no shortage of ideas about what it is country could help its ongoing challenges and get out of the rut it has fallen into over the past two decades.

Unfortunately, however, many of the conversations limit themselves to sharing video and personal anecdotes about the latest unethical behavior, theft, vandalism, abuse, corruption in action, etc., rather than proposing ways to end it. Just expressing outrage has become the norm.

This is probably just a form of unconscious discharge; there is nothing wrong with that per se, as all people in stressful situations – as many South Africans find themselves in – need to defecate to lighten the load. But talking about the problem forever without taking concrete action against it almost never makes it go away.

Countless columns and books have been written, discussions have taken place at countless conferences, as well as talk shows on television and radio. A combination of harsh and constructive criticism has also come from global investors and media who gathered at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) long before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

None of the above has stopped, but little or no action is being taken to correct mistakes, strengthen the rule of law to ensure there are legal consequences for crimes committed against South Africa’s interests, and to implement policies implement that have a better chance of assisting the country as it embarks on what is sure to be a long turnaround and recovery, all messages and advice seem to continue to fall on deaf ears. Those who should hear the cries and do something about it walk around as if they have become immune to all criticism. They probably have.

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After nearly 30 years in power, the perpetually (mis)ruling ANC, which used to be considered a glorious liberation movement and party of Nelson Mandela, has long since grown accustomed to the trappings of power. Following Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in neighboring Zimbabwe and other former liberation movements on the African continent, the ANC and those who support it, including its army of disillusioned veterans and elderly, seem unable to imagine it. couples without power and South Africa blissfully going on without it.

In fact, the possibility that the country is free of its wrecking ball, socio-economically devastating grip, and no longer needs it, seems to terrify it in the same way that an emotionally abusive partner fears the day when the spirit of the abused will be freed. of all the fear that holds them in their manipulative grip.

Divisions serve only the ANC

The rapid proliferation of small opposition parties in the South African political landscape – some of which are represented by only a few or a handful of MPs in the National Assembly – helps the ANC maintain control over key policymakers and patronage networks. , especially at the national level. Some of these small political parties may have been founded by individuals driven by well-intentioned intentions to change the status quo, but many of them become vulnerable to the manipulation of larger parties, especially the ANC, immediately after elections. ostensibly lucrative, positions of influence in exchange for votes on crucial issues under discussion.

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It doesn’t help that the electoral system, as it has been since the beginning of the post-apartheid political dispensation, favors partisan interests over voter interests. Since none of these opposition parties are directly accountable to voters, they often simply shift their priorities at the expense of the electorate, once voted, in favor of narrow political and material ends. They know that they have no obligation in the meantime to report to the people who voted for them and to receive regular feedback from them. It is in the interest of South Africa’s rapidly maturing democracy that the ongoing discussions on the need for changes in the country’s electoral system come to a satisfactory conclusion, in accordance with the spirit of the South African Constitution, and are resolved without delay. executed.

SA must take back its power

Unfortunately, the fragmentation, and thus weakening, of South Africa’s political opposition space does not stop in that environment. The civil society space is also experiencing a burgeoning plethora of movements of all kinds, created by well-meaning citizens to address local issues, such as:

  • community cleaning,
  • filling pits,
  • neighborhood watch,
  • water shortages etc.

They also address national concerns, such as:

  • the worsening electricity crisis – which started some 15 years ago and therefore cannot be attributed to the Russian invasion of and war in Ukraine,
  • conditions in education and health care,
  • crime in general,
  • the “mafiaisation” of South Africa’s economic clusters, which have been taken over by organized crime networks that thrive on extortion and kidnappings for ransom,
  • ineffective police work,
  • and countless others.

While many of these civil society initiatives have noble intentions and have proven to make a positive difference to the lives of citizens who depend on the work they do, especially at the local level, they too are not immune to the ascendancy of ego -driven individuals who believe that only they can and must lead, and that they are personally indispensable to the work of their movements.

It is a dangerous human trait that must be viewed and managed in a balanced way for the benefit of the various collectives, not individuals, if the utility of such movements is to be sustainable.

If South Africa is to undergo the much-needed systemic changes required to embark on a compelling, irreversible journey of recovery – reputationally, socially, economically and in terms of institutional integrity – after nearly two decades of institutional abuse and neglect, South Africa must Africans will come together, united in their social movements and political party formations, and agree on a redefining set of principles, policies and values, to be embraced by those who intend to run in elections in 2024.

The task to be accomplished for this unity is of national importance and survival, greater than the ego of one person and the ambitions of any party or social movement.

If such a national cooperation process is to be undertaken, protected from any possible hijacking for sabotage and other malicious intent, egos must be set aside and the collective interests of the country and everyone legally resident in it must take precedence in the spirit of the Constitution, fused with energy into an unstoppable movement for positive change.

Solly Moeng is a brand reputation management consultant and MD of strategic corporate communications consultancy DonValley. News24 encourages freedom of expression and the expression of diverse views. Columnists’ views published on TBEN are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent TBEN’s views.

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