One would be forgiven for assuming that the celebratory ANC didn’t get a serious whipping at the municipal polls just two months ago.
The highly factionalised party that continues to experience declining support, and recently lost control of crucial metro councils, will be raising toast glasses at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.
Dubbed the January 8 statement, the event is preceded by public mobilisation, a golf game and a pricey gala dinner that serves as a fundraiser to boost the party’s cash-strapped coffers.
But is there really anything worth celebrating by today’s ANC?
The older anything gets, the more it fades away, in the same way many liberation movements failed to move with the times and reinvent.
Leaders of these liberation parties find themselves with nothing new to offer. They relentlessly praise their founding heroes, looking up at the proudly erected statues for possible divine intervention.
After winning the ANC presidency at the Nasrec conference in 2017, albeit with a slim margin, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised a clean sweep of the party that his predecessor Jacob Zuma left fractured.
Some of the party top brass, still in the grip of corrupt dealings and the clutches of the fugitive Gupta family, reluctantly agreed to be part of Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption ticket and what they called ANC renewal and unity campaign.
But it wasn’t to be.
Instead, Ramaphosa found himself juggling ANC factions, and failing dismally to stop the mudslinging and infighting that continue to affect the country’s governance and its ordinary citizens.
The Auditor-General’s reports continue to show municipal audit outcomes that remain mostly poor and billions in irregular expenditure at national departments.
Unemployment keeps rising, and according to StatsSA, young people bear the burden of joblessness as they account for almost 60% of the unemployed in this country.
With an economy that remains depressed, effective job creation remains a far fetched dream.
Violence, robberies and rape are the leading crimes affecting mostly the poor and vulnerable.
The latest crime statistics showed that between April and June last year, 5 760 people were murdered.
That is 2 294 killings more compared to the same period in the preceding financial year. A shocking 10 006 were raped in the same period.
The merciless Covid19 pandemic worsened what was already a bad situation for many. There is no sign of a reprieve, only despair.
No doubt, the ANC’s 27 years of uninterrupted power is overshadowed by the state capture scandal.
Under Zuma’s watch, the politically connected and their associates at the behest of the Gupta family hollowed out the State and its institutions, raking in billions in public funds.
The first part of Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s report lays bare the plundering and pillage at state-owned enterprises and one government department. More is still to come from Zondo.
Such a celebration would have been fitting had the ANC government actively tackled joblessness, crime, prosecuted and jailed the corrupt within its ranks and laid the groundwork to transform and grow the economy.
The 110th birthday would inspire many South Africans had Ramaphosa and his team shown true leadership and thwarted the July violence and looting in its tracks, before it could claim the lives of more than 340 people and cost the economy billions.
Citizens would too raise the toast glasses had intelligence services prevented the security breach at Parliament that resulted in one of the country’s foremost National Key Point being burned down, and protected the Constitutional Court building from a hammer-carrying convicted killer.
Dear ANC, there is nothing, absolutely nothing to be joyous about and dance for.