CAN THE ANC SAVE ITSELF? Edition 40 – 19 September 2016

by | Sep 22, 2016 | Political Perceptions


The repercussions of the 3 August 2016 local government elections are now starting to sink in and the once mighty ANC is at a loss as to how they must deal with these losses.

The hard reality that the voters no longer “love” the ANC as the party that liberated them, they can no longer rely on its liberation struggle credentials to draw supportive voters to the polls. This has been clearly demonstrated in that many former loyal voters are disillusioned by the lack of improvement in their circumstances and have lost patience. These voters are that disillusioned to the extent that the DA received 800 000 more voters in this election than ever before.


In order to understand the dynamics of the current dilemma facing the party one needs to understand the history of the organisation.

The ANC is paying the price of being a “broad church” of many beliefs and ideologies that in a single commitment, to fight apartheid. Now that the common enemy has been defeated the various ideologies are coming into play. This is not a new phenomenon for the ANC if you trace the history of the movement, formed on 8 January 1912 to bring all Africans together as one people to defend their rights and freedoms. The ANC from its inception represented both traditional and modern elements, from tribal chiefs to church and community bodies as well as educated black professionals.

The first split was in 1959 a number of members broke away from the ANC because they objected to the ANC’s reorientation from African nationalist policies. They formed the rival Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), led by Robert Sobukwe.

In the past twenty years there have already been three breakaways from the ANC, albeit not that serious as yet. Bantu Holomisa broke in 1996 and formed the UDM in February 1997; Mosiuoa Lekota left the ANC in October 2006 and formed COPE. The most recent, potentially the most dangerous, was the expulsion of Julius Malema from the ANC and his formation of the EFF in July 2013.

There have always been leadership disputes in the ANC between the more moderate and more radical factions within the party however; they always managed to remain disciplined within the organisation.

Contrary to the popular myth the ANC was not always a non racial, non sexist movement that they always claim to be. Women were only admitted as affiliate members from 1931 and as full members in 1943. The movement did not open its membership to all races until 1969.

It was at the Morogora Conference in 1969 that the external wing of the ANC opened its membership to minority groups Whites, Coloureds and Indians. Only in the January 8 statement in 1979 was this extended to the internal wing and executive.

The development of this “broad church” evolved further with the incorporation of Cosatu, the UDF and some of the former homeland parties after the unbanning of the ANC. The current ANC is therefore a mixture of left wing socialists, successful capitalists, populists and realists but the difference now is that internal discipline has broken down.


Currently we see the ANC at war with each other, they see the possibility that the current trend could continue with the ANC support dropping below 50% and the opposition parties ganging up against them and keeping them out of government.

At the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting they decided not to apportion blame to any individual but to take “collective responsibility” for the election losses and will embark on ”deep introspection” to determine why they have lost the support of their members and voters. Having taken this decision they then could not decided how to implement it so the members declared war on each other.

The announcement by Thuli Madonsela that she hopes to complete her report into state capture and the Gupta’s before she leaves office on 18 October this year could still reveal more shocks that will shake the ANC and Zuma.


The Youth League (ANCYL) called for an early elective Party Congress to resolve these challenges; however the Limpopo ANCYL distanced them from the call.

  • The SACP agrees that there should be an early congress but it should be a non elective congress. Effectively meaning they must hold two congresses next year;
  • The Women’s League (ANCWL) believes that there should only be the December elective congress.
  • The nine provinces are unable to agree on a position.
  • Gwede Mantashe says that it is “not a bad idea” but it must achieve something;

So how do they reconcile all these positions?


  • The Gauteng Province believes that Zuma should do the right thing, presumably that means resign; Eastern Cape branches are calling for him to resign;
  • There is strong backing from the Free State, KZN, Limpopo; Mpumalanga and North West for him to stay;
  • Many of the party stalwarts such as former Speaker Frene Ginwala, Ahmed Kathrada and Tito Mboweni among others are calling for his recall or resignation;
  • The ANC Veterans League wants Zuma to stay;
  • The Youth League want Zuma to stay but a faction within the ANCYL are calling for him to resign;


  •  It is ANC protocol that there is no campaigning for positions, the members are meant to nominate you for a position, not you want the position;
  • The ANCWL have already stated that the next president must be a woman. There are three possible choices with the most likely candidate being Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Jacob Zuma’s ex wife and current Chairperson of the AU; another possibility is Baleka Mbete the current Speaker and ANC Chairperson, the third, Bathabile Dlamini the current head of the Women’s League is considered an outsider;
  • Gauteng, Limpopo and Cosatu support Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the reins;
  • The so called Premier’s league consisting of the Premiers of the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West support Dlamini Zuma for the position;
  • The Youth League agree with the ANC Women’s League that it is time for a woman president, but, there must be young people in the top six of the ANC and in the NEC;
  • ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe is also said to harbour ambitions of becoming president. He has however come in for criticism in recent times as a result of the local government elections;
  • The current Treasurer General of the party Zweli Mkhize is seen as a possible compromise candidate;


  • Former foreign affairs director-general Sipho Pityana tore into President Zuma at Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile’s funeral on Thursday 25 August told the more than 10,000 mourners “The next battle cannot be led by a leader (Zuma) that has humiliated our organisation and undermined everything that we represent.”
  • On Monday 30 August the former “four day Minister of Finance” and current Local government ministerDes van Rooyen, looking like a clown, donned his “Chinese made” camouflage uniform has publicly criticised  finance minister Pravin Gordhan‘s decision to not meet the Hawks as ‘undermining’ the specialised investigations unit. Van Rooyen has defended the conduct of the Hawks in asking Gordhan to present himself for questioning at their head office in Tshwane.
  • At the same press conference the chairman of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association Kebby Maphatsoe also Deputy Minister of Defence weighed in as well and said that those who had captured Treasury were coming out to defend Gordhan. The MKMVA also lambasted the SA Communist Party following the party’s claim that President Jacob Zuma was wielding too much power in the Cabinet and ANC.
  • On Tuesday 30 August ANC Secretary General stepped in to say “the MKMVA should not have spoken on the matter in the first place. But to choose Des was totally unfortunate and I think they will understand that it was a mistake”.
  • Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane issued a statement on Thursday 1 September saying Cabinet discussed the Independent Monitoring Commission’s report and resolved to recommend to the president that a judicial inquiry be established, to investigate the banks with specific interest in the closing of the Gupta’s account…
  • The ink was hardly dry on Zwane’s statement and The Presidency issued a statement saying “Minister Zwane is a member of the task team. He does not speak on behalf of Cabinet and the contents of his statement do not reflect the position or views of Cabinet, the Presidency or Government. The unfortunate contents of the statement and the inconvenience and confusion caused by the issuing thereof, are deeply regretted”.
  • In an address at the 21st Nedlac annual summit on Friday 9 September 2016 Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government was aware of concern on the part of its social partners – business and labour – and the public about recent events in which state organs have been pitted against each other. He added that “A well-functioning government is a government that is not at war with itself”;

President Jacob Zuma flatly contradicted his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, in Parliament on Tuesday 13 September 2016, denying the government is at war with itself. It is evident that the various factions in the ANC are a loggerheads but the President remains in denial.

Having experienced the demise of the old United Party(SAPPE), the grand old party of old South African politics which too was a “broad church” from extreme right wing racists to left wing liberals and after years of internal bickering, four breakaways it came to an ignominious end at Carlton Centre Ice Rink in 1977.

Could that fate still await the ANC?

Speaking at an ANC consultative conference in Port Elizabeth yesterday, Saturday 17 August 2016 former president Kgalema Motlanthe warned the ANC that if it did not get its house in order it would die,


The problem can be summed up in two words – Jacob Zuma,

Under Jacob Zuma’s leadership everything has gone awry for the party. He is known to be a most congenial and sociable person however, his greed and the greed of his friends has spun out of control and either he will not or cannot control it.

Being unable to curtail the endemic corruption in government the economy has collapsed, service delivery has declined unemployment has gone through the roof and support for the ANC has waned.

In the 3 August municipal elections the ANC lost about 1 million votes since the same elections in 2011but more importantly there are close to thousand former ANC councillors who are no longer employed and are looking for someone to blame.

Rather than admitting that the elephant in the room is Jacob Zuma the current leadership has decided to take “collective responsibility” for the August election fiasco. In ANC talk this means “hopefully if we ignore the problem it will go away”.

Gwede Mantashe warned in March this year that to recall Zuma would be a call for the ANC to tear itself apart”. Once again they took the path of least resistance and chose to put the ANC ahead of South Africa.

So far the party has chosen to put Jacob Zuma and the short term interests of the ANC first and the long term interests on the ANC and more importantly South Africa last. A move they may not live to regret.

Power, position and profit reigns supreme.

Until next time,



Clive Hatch

About Clive Hatch

Clive Hatch is a political commentator and opinionist. He is a former Member and Leader of the Opposition in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. After matriculating from Jeppe High School for Boys in 1967 Clive Hatch has lived, worked and been involved in the Emalahleni (Witbank) community.

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