Or, How the ANC Finally Went and Proper-Fucked Itself
Well, old Jacob G. Zuma (the G doesn’t, in fact, stand for Gupta) survives yet again. After the strongest challenge to his presidency of the country and ANC yet, the snake has managed to slither free again. Wounded, no doubt, but free. And finally, once and for all, the ANC has opened the kimono, and we can all see what we knew all along – that the party is a rotting, festering, putrid corpse of something that began as a racist organisation (or, “pan-africanist” in the parlance of the time), morphed into something a bit more representative out of sheer necessity (can’t be asking for help from white dudes when you’re also promising to get rid of them all once you get what you want), and in turn has reverted back to being a pathetic, skeletal collection of racist, corrupt, greedy, slobbering politicians who would fuck their own mothers if it got them one more tender or shady deal before they were tossed on to the dung heap of history that awaits.
Make no mistake, whilst it was an unprecedented surprise that such a large number of NEC members managed to ambush Zuma and his sycophantic hyenas in the first place without any foreshadowing, the fact that he has survived is not, in itself, surprising. This is a man who has stacked the civil service at all levels with incompetent fools who seem to possess only enough of a brain to understand that without Zuma’s (and, by extension of late, the Guptas’) favour, they have nothing else in life to fall back on. It sort of seems almost poetic that the spinal column links up with the base of the skull, given how the majority of civil servants seem to display a lack of spine as well as a lack of grey matter most of the time. This is simply a continuation of the Mbeki years, and part of the ANC culture at large – where the ability to agree with the leadership is proof of loyalty and handsomely rewarded, and disagreement is quashed as anti-black racist dissent (regardless of the colour of the dissenter).
Incredibly, Zuma still honestly seems to believe he’s done nothing wrong. The ANC’s favourite old boogeymen are to blame for his woes – Nkandla, State Capture, 783 counts of fraud, rape charges – these are all “those who are anti-transformation” or “neoliberal forces”, or “white monopoly capital”, and so on. He genuinely seems to believe that these are all perfectly legitimate pastimes for the president of the country – something he is entitled to, if you will – and can’t grasp why it is that opposition from the likes of the DA keeps stopping him in his tracks. It harks back to the days of Mbeki, when any criticism of the government was simply stuffed into a box labelled “white people whingeing that black people can’t govern properly because they’re black” so that it could be ignored, regardless of the merits of the criticism.
It’s tempting to mount a sneering intellectual attack against these sorts of “arguments”, but the reality is that in doing so it’s about the same as feeding fillet mignon to pigs – and it’s not really fair, given how easily the straw-scaffold would be dismantled. But there’s no point, ultimately, because I don’t even get the feeling that ANC leadership really whole-heartedly believes them anymore, or at least cares about holding up much of a pretence against the obvious truth.
And that is that Zuma is a simply a politically astute village bumpkin who’s lack of moral fibre and small-minded tribalism has been used by those much cleverer and craftier than him over the years for their own ends. He’s uneducated, an arch-conservative traditionalist who wants to “knock out” homosexuals and saw no issue with sexually assaulting the daughter of a friend who looked up to him. And thus first it was the ANC leadership in exile, finding him a useful tool in the internal security apparatus of the ANC in exile, where JZ’s inability or unwillingness to evidence much in the way of thought was perfect when it came to ruthlessly carrying out orders to imprison, interrogate and torture ANC members. Then it was Shabir Shaik, and that “generally corrupt relationship” (per the courts) he managed to wangle Zuma into with those infamous payments that Zuma seemingly didn’t seem to think were problematic and so were left on his bank statements for all to see, and now, it’s the Guptas and the whole State Capture shebang.
No, intellectual debate is not really worth the effort here. And it’s tempting to do the typical South African thing and shrug our shoulders and sigh and carry on with life, eagerly awaiting the next cracker of a Nando’s advert. But make no mistake, this is a turning point – and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that JZ surviving the last NEC of 2016 is the best thing that could have happened to South Africa. Because, as far as I can see it, there is now no way for the ANC to stop itself from self-destructing in what is going to become the most breath-taking race to the bottom of the swamp that is Luthuli House’s fiefdom as the pigs mount a last, pitiful, desperate attempt to loot the state for everything it’s worth up until the 2019 elections. As the late Smuts Ngonyama defiantly and perhaps too honestly admitted, they “didn’t join the struggle to be poor”.
It’s not entirely shocking that things have ended up here though – the ANC has always been a rotten fruit. History is written by the victors, and in this case, the victor when it came to the 1994 compromise was the ANC – no matter what certain voices would have us believe. Woefully underequipped to govern, with a political ideology that had already been outdated since the collapse of the USSR 5 years prior, elections in 1994 and 1999 that it would have won without getting out of bed thanks to the Madiba effect and the small fact that Apartheid wasn’t all the great for most South Africans, as well as a race-based affirmative action framework that the NP negotiators seem to have been incredibly naïve about, the ANC had all the time and space in the world to write itself into the history books as the mythical liberator of SA, and write everybody else involved out. The Nats’ capitulation to economic reality at the time, the ruthless internal and external terrorism and extra-judicial killings that characterised the ANC since Mandela and co. took over the ANCYL back in the day, the low level ANC – IFP civil war for power in KZN in the years prior to 1994, those who sacrificed but weren’t part of the ANC, the fact that – at it’s core – the ANC has always held a racist ideology of Africa for black Africans – all are conveniently forgotten these days. Now, it’s a benevolent master who all South Africans should be grateful exists – and please demonstrate as such by overlooking the odd impropriety here and there?
And so, with a narrative that only just stopped short of including rainbow-flatulating unicorns carrying Madiba off to the Union Buildings to become SA’s first democratically elected president, and woefully underprepared leadership, it’s no surprise that the rot not only carried on, but accelerated. Racial demographics – the notion that every aspect of society should represent the racial makeup of society as a whole, which is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews before they just went “ah fuck it, let’s just get on with the genocide thing” – became the driving force for everything. Tens of thousands of skilled white professionals were swept aside overnight in favour of replacements whose number one (and sometimes only) qualification was that they were black. Contracts and tenders were doled out as fast as they could be drafted (and faster) to favoured cadres who had served in exile, whether or not they were even remotely equipped to deliver or not. Unquestioning loyalty to the ANC became the road to riches, merit became a casualty. Equality meant percentages, not merit. Transformation was demanded at any cost. And, sensing the weakness and inexperience of the new government, predators swooped in – until finally, we had the Arms Deal, when suddenly people realise they could actually get away with this shit because everybody was doing it. And then, whatever sliver of good intention might have been there at the beginning, suddenly the ANC realised that this delivering a better life for all shit was actually hard – especially when all sorts of unworkable promises had been bandied about like Johnny Walker Blue at a Youth League party – and governing for the people made way in favour of governing to stay in power. That’s where the money was, after all.
It’s therefore not entirely surprising that we’ve ended up where we are now, with a state that has been eviscerated by the wolves that we threw it to – ANC politicians and related hangers-on. 27% of the population unemployed, with no doubt a higher number not working if you take into account underemployment and those discouraged work-seekers who have given up looking. Parastatals flailing like a grotesquely obese ruling party cadre (ahem) choking on a chicken leg as the likes of Dudu Myeni, Hlaudi Moetseneng and Brian Molefe hop between anger and faux grief at how unfairly they’re being treated by the public, blaming peoples’ dislike of them for their race and stance on transformation rather than the fact that it’s quite obvious to anybody with even rudimentary intelligence that they’re political appointees without the slightest fucking ounce of either competence or sense of shame. A rugby team, once feared, now the laughing stock of the world as the playing and coaching staff are stacked with quota appointments (remember the infamous Pieter de Villiers, refreshingly honestly straight out appointed “not purely for rugby reasons”?). Convicted fraudsters being carried on shoulders as heroes to the gates of prison to serve their sentences…where the right connection might get you medical parole for the tragically terminal condition of…being alive?
People are literally dying in hospitals and crime-ridden streets because political toadies would rather leave key police and health roles vacant than appoint the only qualified applicant if they’re white. Literally. Unqualified educators are able to sexually abuse pupils with no consequences, because they know that the fetid sewerage pit of a trade union, SACTU, will defend them to the ends of the earth with screams of racism. Once let off, they can then purchase their next position from the same trade union of course. Union leaders call down fire and brimstone every year, destroying property and livelihoods, without a single fuck given as long as it keeps them in power, with one chubby hand in the pile of cash their members are forced to pay them for the privilege of either losing months’ worth of income through pointless strike action or being physically attacked (and in some cases killed) for working through a strike action.
Cry the beloved country indeed, Mr Paton.
But – here’s the good news. Actually it’s fucking great. Zuma has survived, but he’s survived with ostensibly a third of the NEC openly hostile to him, and another third undecided or unwilling to commit. This means a purge is coming…a big purge. Zuma can’t fire elected MPs, but he can fire ministers…and the available talent pool is like the fire pool at Nkandla – if you did some quick crowbarring you could conjure up something half-arsed, but really, what’s in the pool is best left alone. The wisest comrades will pull the ejection seat lever and make themselves available to turn state witness down the line (once our embarrassment of a prosecuting authority is sorted out), some comrades are about to find out how cold those Southern Hemisphere summers can be, and others are going to try to double down on the plundering (or snouting, as journalist Ed Herbst wonderfully terms it). Except they’re going to find that the Gupta’s have jumped ship – they may be filthy rats, but even the filthiest rat knows when the ship he’s living on is going down. Without the glue of position, power and cold, hard cash that holds the whole wretched, rancid corpse together, there is going to come a tipping point where the ANC finally turns in on itself and tears itself to shreds.
And then it’s going to be 2019, where South Africans of all races, religions, sexes and tribes who just want to get along together and be happy, get to take our fucking country back from the pack of lecherous, obsequious, racist fucking slimebags who’ve been defiling it since ‘94, blaming anything and anyone but themselves for their failures. So just know, Jacob Zuma and friends – the wheels of justice may turn slowly, but they turn – and they’re going to come for you. You’re either going to die in jail, or die trying to avoid jail like the jester-in-chief who’s arsehole you’ve all got your noses buried in – but there is a time coming, in the near future, where you’re going to begin having a miserable ever after.
And in all honesty, for what you’ve done to the poor and the youth of SA, as you’ve let healthcare, education and safety crumble in favour of bleeding the country dry while you line your already ample guts with caviar and cognac and first class international travel, jail is probably still too cheap a price to pay. But nevertheless, just know – South Africans want their country back, and we’re coming to get it.