One of the biggest problems with the politics of SA is that we have some sections of the media and opposition parties who are yet to accept that the ANC is the governing party, writes Lebo Keswa.
One of the biggest problems with the politics of South Africa is that we have some sections of the media and opposition parties who are yet to accept that the ANC is the governing party.
The amount of second guessing going on has become truly sickening. Now the latest nonsense is the assertion that members of the ANC who are civil servants must not be asked to donate a part of their earnings to the party and that this further proves the evil of cadre deployment across the levers of the state.
Apparently a request for them to do so will result in the “blurring of party and state” and will make the members forever beholden to the ruling party. This is miles from the truth but more than anything demonstrates at least political naivete, and worst, hypocrisy.
In every democracy anywhere in the world no ruling party can ignore the real politic of political hegemony. It is for this reason that that party will have to be concerned about which administration machinery will ensure that its policies will be implemented.
Since some of these self-declared liberals can only understand examples of the west, maybe they must take a visit to Washington to see what happens when a new president of the United States comes into office. The key civil servants clear the offices – they don’t even wait to be told.
The new administration deploys its cadres to occupy the key levers of the state.
This is not a South African thing that should become so much of a protracted debate that gets thrown in the face of the ANC at will. So there is nothing strange about political appointments of top civil servants such as the directors general and chief of staff.
The constitution does not provide for civil servants to be apolitical. In other words, nothing stops civil servants from being members of political parties.
In fact if we have our political analysis heads screwed on right, we will not expect a ruling party serious about implementing its agenda, to appoint directors general that are not aligned politically to its vision.
The DA that makes the most noise about cadre deployment must prove that in its enclave of the Western Cape they have appointed someone who has been openly ANC? I am not holding my breath.
The question of deploying people who can actually do the job is a separate but important matter that the ANC must pay attention to. It is however important to also understand that being a party deployee does not make you an automatic success in your areas of deployment, hence processes of performance management.
People who are deployed by the party are not excluded from such performance management and can, like everyone else, be fired if they don’t perform.
The ANC has no magic that helps it to anticipate how a person may ultimately perform without or before being given an opportunity to do so.
Now that the cadre deployment red herring is out of the way, let’s deal with this donation story. If I am a member of the ruling party, or any other party for that matter, why should I not contribute a part of my earnings to it?
How is the donation of a part of my salary a matter that will affect my so-called independence. If we speak forthrightly, have I not already surrendered my independence by joining a party? Will it not be a half-hearted membership of such a party if I need to be coerced to donate money to it to keep it alive?
There can be no logic in the assertion that the ANC cannot ask people who belong to it to sacrifice a small amount of what they earn to make sure the party can conduct its business.
In the absence of such logic I can only arrive at the conclusion that this is part of an ongoing narrative of painting the ANC as corrupt, even where no facts exist to back this up. It is part of an unending campaign to make the ANC apologise for its mandate to govern and therefore weaken it needlessly in the eyes of the electorate.
I have it on very good authority that opposition parties regularly ask their members to donate their salaries to the party.
Various political parties often demand this of their MPs. I will be surprised if there is a party that does not do this in the current funding squeeze.
In fact, political parties even get these members to spend money they ought to be using for constituency work to subsidise party offices across the country, hence the ineffectiveness of the constituency systems where offices that are funded by Parliament as constituency offices end up resembling party offices – something that is in fact prohibited by the constitution.
So the hypocrisy of trying to isolate what has become acceptable political practice as some unique ANC malady is as illogical and false as they come.
The reality is that if the ANC needed to blur party and state lines, as it is often accused of doing, it does not need donations from its members as an instrument of patronage to achieve such a conflation.
Put differently, if a member of the ANC deployed in a particular lever of the state fails to do the job but has donated to the party generously, that act of donation will not save them from being redeployed.
It is clear therefore that here we have another storm in a tea cup all as part of a narrative that says – this black government is corrupt and up to no good and cannot be trusted. The ANC must reject this narrative with the contempt it deserves.
* Keswa is a marketing executive and businesswoman based in Gauteng. She writes in her personal capacity.
** The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Newspapers.