Lebo Keswa

The ANC 26 need to be commended for their courage to effect change in our political landscape, even if it may be seen unconventional.

In a normal situation where moral logic reigns, the NEC of the ANC should have recalled President Jacob Zuma long ago. There is a litany of scandals that requires no repetition that has engulfed the Zuma presidency in the last eight years of his tenure. 

From sex scandals to state capture, Zuma is the most compromised president the ANC has ever had in its century-long existence and there is every logical political reason he shouldn’t still be at the helm of the organisation if the ANC is serious about rediscovering its moral compass. 

But because of a glaring evidence of patronage as an instrument of control, the ANC has been rendered powerless to prevail on him even where doing so would not have necessarily meant getting rid of him.

The Nkandla scandal is a case in point. The ANC will have us believe that all along they were of the wise view the president should take the Nkandla report on review. What remains a mystery to this day is why was this not made a resolution of the NEC that could then bind the president like any other member of the NEC. The answer is simply that Zuma has such a hold on NEC members that it’s almost impossible to censure him.

The events of last week must therefore be understood in this context of an NEC that is incapable of showing leadership in the worst time in the history of the ANC and at a time when there is a desperate need for an alternative platform to save the ANC from itself.

Such leadership inaction by the NEC is intricately linked to allegations of capture if the state of capture report and the Gupta emails are anything to go by.

The recent boycott by veterans of the policy conference is an example of what various parts of the movement that have decided that simply following the party-established platforms is no longer adequate as they assume a normal situation in the midst of the abnormality that has been introduced by corruption and patronage. The actions of the 26 MPs must therefore be viewed in this context. 

If the ANC NEC had acted with a modicum of integrity they would have recalled Zuma by now and that way give those who represent the ANC in Parliament a defendable posture in the context of the oath of office that these MPs have taken to place the interest of the country above their individual party interests.

What the ANC under Zuma has done is to place Zuma’s interests to remain in power stubbornly above the interests of the country - and even above the interests of the ANC.

When the structures are geared towards producing outcomes that are at variance with the constitution, the members who are guided by values of the ANC have a duty to their organisation to break ranks.

According to all reasonable and believable indications, the ANC was reluctant for the Speaker to declare a secret ballot, aware of the shaky ground they are treading on.

Its chief whip’s mindless rant intimidating the country against removing a corrupt president was a dead giveaway about the position the ANC would have the Speaker take. She defied this flawed line and went on what many described as a principled stance akin to the stance of the 26 brave MPs.

By granting a secret ballot, she brought the Zuma administration to the brink of a necessary collapse. The significance of this act cannot be underplayed.

Through this act alone, the ANC is in a mad trance and has embarked on an ethics-bereft witch hunt for MPs who voted with their consciences .

No sooner had the ANC realised that they were almost toppled by their own then they were threatening all kinds of fire and brimstone. 

This shows you the level of moral collapse in the party - that in the face of public sympathy with the MPs whose actions were seen as brave and principled, they sought to use whatever was left of public credibility to pursue and hound out the members whose actions give hope in the fact that in the ANC, not everyone is captured by evil.

It is clear the ANC will no longer be able to claim any moral high ground in our politics.

The post-voting jubilation and misplaced triumphalism amongst die-hard Zuma supporters underlines a loss of shame for a party whose only silver lining is the breaking of ranks by the brave 26 Members of Parliament who, for a change, placed party before country.

* Keswa is a businesswoman. She writes in her personal capacity. Follow her on Twitter: @lebokeswa

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Sunday Independent