Deon de Lange

Political Bureau

THE ANC’s “second transition” – the party’s policy proposal for a shift in focus from political to socio-economic transformation – is a “smokescreen for failed leadership”, the DA has said.

In a speech prepared for delivery to a German parliamentary working group in Berlin yesterday, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said it was “dawning on some sections of the ANC” that President Jacob Zuma’s administration had “lost its way”.

“The momentum of previous governments in working to banish poverty, joblessness and reduce inequality is gone,” she said.

Delegates to the ANC’s policy conference in Midrand have been locked in intense debate on the “second transition” which calls for a “paradigm shift” in economic development. During his opening address, Zuma conceded that over the past 18 years the ANC had failed in efforts to address poverty, inequality and unemployment.

He blamed this failure on “necessary compromises” during SA’s transition to democracy, but complained this had left control of the economy largely in the hands of white males. .

But Mazibuko told her German audience that the failure to significantly reduce unemployment in SA had more to do with “the lack of skills at municipal level; widespread corruption; the impunity of those who fail to deliver; and the failure of those in charge to account for their mistakes…”

“This is a question of a failure of political leadership from the top downwards,” she added.

Mazibuko said the “big paradox” in SA was that, while the nation was strong, the “capacity of the state is weak”.

This was evidenced by the “failure of recent administrations” to implement effective policies, particularly at the “intersection of the economy and education”.

The “real story” behind the proposed second transition, she suggested, was that Zuma had to satisfy the “power-hungry and unelected forces of Cosatu and the SACP” who helped propel him to power.

Zuma and his government also practised the art of “talking left” while “acting right” – which only served to give false hope by suggesting unemployment and poverty could be easily solved.