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By Lunga Simelane

Journalist


ANC elective conference: Politics is a stinking business

The battle for the top ANC leadership positions and provinces vying for one of their own to emerge victorious exposed a lot of toxicity.


A week-and-a-half has passed since the ANC national elective conference and all I can say is: when people say politics is a dirty game, it is not just a line because politics truly is a dirty, and stinking, business.

And that for one to be a politician (a politician in the spotlight, and not an honourable one), you will need to get dirty, or play dirty.

Toxicity and mischief

The battle for the top leadership positions and provinces vying for one of their own to emerge victorious exposed a lot of toxicity and mischief with regards to the proceedings when it comes to these conferences.

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It was quite an eye-opening experience and taught me a lot about how things function in politics, especially when you are on the ground.

One saw things in black and white; for what they truly are, and elements of dishonesty played a huge part in the so-called lobbying after the candidates had been nominated.

Betrayal and backstabbing

The amount of money that gets wasted in the quest for political ambition and campaigns, the betrayal and backstabbing, the level of lies, dishonesty and fake promises men make (men who are expected to be virtuous and exhibit the highest levels of integrity in society), to simply grasp power and satisfy their political quest and ambition is appalling.

I was honestly irked by people’s desire to hold or secure power in unpleasant approaches. I truly do not know why am I so surprised because ANC conferences have been functioning this way since the early 2000s.

I saw it as a war, but they say its “democracy”. It is the fact that some of the people who are placed out there to represent the party exposed a lot about their integrity and how they conducted themselves raised a lot of eyebrows.

Political choices

It’s the switch of political choices despite set mandates, rumours of vote buying, and how people still fully believed in their party.

Why am I shocked though? Perhaps I am shocked because, despite a horrible service delivery, our people living in poverty-stricken conditions, high levels of unemployment and evident corruption, the people still truly believed in the ruling party.

It is different once you speak to the people on the ground, delegates specifically, because these are the people subjected to the harsh conditions in their communities and who are also the faces of various branches, but were steadfast in their belief of the party.

I spoke to a peer who was clearly set on the notion of “better the devil you know”. He said the ANC had really good policies and ideas, which would take the country forward.

‘Power corrupts’

However, the problem was it was only good on paper; practically, the ANC was a bad party. He said: “This is because power corrupts, that is just how it is. I would corrupt you, too, if I had enough of it.”

In my view, it was important to remember that, once a government starts being corrupt, it will always be corrupt, it doesn’t matter which party is in power.

We say it is time for the old vanguards to move aside and allow the young, upcoming politicians to infiltrate the political space, that maybe it will reflect a different political dimension and vision, but who knows?

They could very well also end up being caught in the spiral of corruption and tied to this toxic system. Quite scary that this is what we are left with and we simply have to accept this. I guess, all over the world, power truly does corrupt.

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