For the last few days the fate of our nation of 56 million people has rested in the hands of the few thousand ANC party members who are choosing their new leader.
This unhealthy state of affairs is our fault, not the ANC’s. Two profound fallacies have mislead almost all commentators reporting on the ANC’s 54th national elective conference.
The first is that we outsiders have some right to tell the ANC how to run its own party. We haven’t. The second is that Jacob Zuma has perverted the noble character of the ANC. He’s done nothing of the sort.
His incompetent behaviour is a natural continuation of ANC tradition since at least 1967, when Oliver Tambo became its leader.
The ANC’s organisational capacity, shown up by its various branches throughout the country in preparation for this conference, is chaotic, arbitrary and often dictatorial. It has taken itself to court on numerous occasions to resolve questions about its own inner confusion. None of this is any of our business. We have no right to tell the ANC how it should run itself.
If we don’t like it we should form other political parties and, much more important, vote against the ANC at general elections, which we are all free to do. Why did we grovel to the ANC from about 1980?
Why did we ignore all of its atrocities and terror? Why do we now pretend that Oliver Tambo was a saint when in fact he presided over the brutal “People’s War”, whose main victims were innocent black people in townships and the purpose of which was not to end apartheid, but to stop anybody else ending it?
Why have we let the ANC become so dominant that, despite its dismal performance in government, it has won every election since 1994 by a landslide and its chosen leader is guaranteed to be the next president of SA? The details of the outcome of the ANC conference are largely irrelevant. In the greater scheme of things, SA will still have an ANC government until 2019, and most probably beyond. And it will be perpetuating the party traditions.