OPINION: The ANC is on its deathbed
There are ANC members/supporters whose pain I genuinely feel and it often brings me close to tears. Some people truly love the ANC, revere its prominent role in our history and see no workable alternative to the ANC in our political landscape. Their sense of loyalty is not just blind loyalty, it’s the type of loyalty that is built on heritage and the potential of a viable ANC. Some of these loyalists have tried very hard to contest elections in branches, regions, provinces and nationally to no avail. Some of them even risked it all and left the ANC to form COPE and, others, to form the EFF. Yet, where they ventured, the ugly things that they had tried to escape from in the ANC resurfaced and, in some instances, they had a longing for the familiar and no stamina for the new path chosen.
Some of these loyalists truly believe that the ANC can be salvaged, not dissimilar to a person who believes that their loved one will stand up and walk again from their deathbed even if diagnosis indicates the slimness of such possibility. The kind of person who does not want to give up on their loved one so much that they eventually have to be called in by the family elders to be told: “let them go, release their spirits – musa ukubamba umphefumlo wakhe”. The ANC is neatly messily held together by these loyalists who see an ANC on its deathbed but they are still hopeful that it will recover and walk once more.
We need societal elders in the realm of politics to speak to these loyalists and ask that they do the most painful and heart-wrenching thing: “let the ANC go”. It is only then that a rebirth can be made possible. We often believe that when some die, those who are born after are there to make us whole again and to give us new faith and meaning for life.
The ANC is on its deathbed – it has been for a while. And watching it die has been painful for many friends and family members. Some of them I truly sympathise with as they stand helpless with no possibility to intervene simply because the structures of the party have been crippled to a point of such dysfunction that it is impossible to imagine a correction of the ANC from within.
In fact, I would go so far as to say the ANC is actually dead. If the ANC lived, Jacob Zuma would no longer be its president but, because he has manoeuvred to place himself above the party, the party is no more.
The sense of sadness I feel for my friends and family members is that, while they have meant well and have done their best in championing ‘greater social justice for the people of our land’, they are faced with a moment of reckoning. They are looking death in the face and, from the believers in the Lord, we hear the following whispers, “Thy will be done”.
For South Africa to be saved, it must not be saved from Zuma alone. It is time to let the ANC go into the twilight of life’s existence. Allow it to find its restful place from the duties of governance. Allow the country to re-imagine a life for itself beyond the ANC. This is not easy. It is emotional. It is personal. It is the final letting go and a view of life without. The time has come to allow the ANC a gentle goodbye.
Everything else I can say beyond this on #SONA2017 will merely be an academic exercise in the world of analysis. The real state of the nation is one of restlessness, sadness, hopelessness and, mostly, a moment of reckoning with death itself. A national conversation is needed for life beyond living with what had been a once loved member of the South African family who now lies on its deathbed. All of us well-meaning citizens, members and supporters of the ANC must respond to the clarion call: “let the ANC go”
Follow @LukhonaMnguni on twitter – Mnguni is a regular guest on the Today with John Perlman show, he is a political analyst based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This was first published on his Facebook wall