Jesse Duarte (deputy secretary-general); Gwede Mantashe (secretary-general); Jacob Zuma (ANC president); Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC deputy president); and Zweli Mkhize (treasurer-general) during an ANC NEC meeting in Johannesburg. File picture: Masi Losi

However old the ANC might be, the organisation is not immune to complete obliteration, writes Gugu Ndima.

A picture of the triumphant top six brass of the ANC still remains vivid in mind as they took to the stage in Mangaung, standing hand-in-hand after their resounding victory at the 53rd conference in 2012.

ANC President Jacob Zuma delivered what was supposed to be a coalescing speech, which would see the collapse of factionalism and the rebirth of a stronger and more solid ANC.

It promised the delivery of a “new cadre” of the ANC and much-needed organisational renewal.

Little did the beguiled ANC membership know it was delivering a glimpse of a kakistocracy to the nation - the worst of the ANC leadership to date and possibly the executioners of a glorious movement, betrayers of the rainbow nation vision.

The irony of the Greek word is that it embodies a slang South African term befittingly describing the current quality of the ANC leadership.

While the term describes a government administration in its worst form, it seems like the appropriate gradation for the current party deterioration and the barbarous events unfolding within the state machinery.

The past couple of months have given us a reflection of a nation deceived by the current leadership of the ANC.

South Africans are a nation in protest, betrayed by cowardly leaders who have failed themselves and the membership which trusted them with the future of the ANC and this country.

Yet, in the midst of tragedy, the crisis has shown that South Africans value their country and this young nation more than pertinacious politicians.

While the ANC remains entang-led in self-inflicted destruction, South Africans have refused to go down with the ANC kakistocracy.

The interesting development is that we are witnessing a constellation of forces in and out of the organisation, conspiring to bring about change in the current political trajectory.

The ANC is in trouble but society is resolute in preserving gains of democracy and saving the economy from tipping over the fiscal cliff. This affirms that the vision of a rainbow nation, the envisaged equal and just national democratic society, has been internalised by all South Africans beyond political affiliation, class, race or creed.

South Africans are organising themselves from various sectors to stand against the continued deterioration of politics.

It’s tragic that the nation has reached a point where it sees no solution but to protest. This is all happening under the watch of an organisation, bestowed with the revolutionary duty to lead society. South Africa is bleeding because the current leadership has regressed from the ideals of building a national, democratic society and is preoccupied with narrow interests for political survival.

The ANC’s succession battles are becoming a perennial burden for South Africa.

We are witnessing the pre-Polokwane narrative play itself out again; ironically with previous victims taking the place of villains. Naturally, opportunists within the top six are calculative about their postures with the hope of emerging from the carcass of the current factional carnage.

However, the destiny of this country isn’t just with the ANC, it is with every South African and the destruction of our institutions and state machinery will be to the detriment of all.

Our past is a horrendous reminder of how difficult it was just to get to April 27, 1994. South Africans, especially the younger generation, must refuse and stand guard against becoming embroiled in the tumultuous battles of senior leadership.

Our future is being raped and we are being robbed by a generation of leaders who liberated this country from political oppression.

While we salute them in their role, this in no way entitles them to destroy or privatise this democracy. Liberation wasn’t about self-enrichment or perverse wealth accumulation.

Children still being born into the worst socio-economic conditions and people are still subjected to injustices.

Yet our leaders are detached from these realities. Their conduct questions if they are still truly ANC members beyond paid-up subscriptions. The president of the republic has a warped understanding of what a healthy democracy is.

He interprets the current unrest simplistically as a sign of a maturing democracy.

Yet, under his leadership, we have seen a turn of events which is taking South Africa back to a state with minimal tolerance for dissenting voices and the abuse of the security cluster to deal antagonistically with political crises.

He dismally fails to provide leadership and political solutions from his “collective” at Luthuli House.

One of the most crucial and fragile projects bestowed on the ANC was the task of forging unity among a people divided along class and race lines.

The fragility still remains and our nation is still divided by inequalities and race.

However, our nation has matured to a point in which a common crisis can tactically be used to continue the course of building a national democratic society.

Credible leaders who understand that our people come before the ANC must rise within the ANC and join forces with South Africans in fighting against this political attrition.

As a nation we are no way near the realisation of the total emancipation of our people, yet the realisation of democracy was a monumental beginning.

The current kakistocracy of ANC leaders is an agonising lesson for the ANC and the country. They are a living illustration of how rapidly things can fall apart and how freedom can be won by many generations, only to be lost by one.

This as we honour one of the longest-serving presidents of the ANC, Oliver R Tambo, an astute leader who dedicated his entire life to the cause of freedom.

ANC members must be reminded why the organisation was formed and that its continued existence will be determined by its resonance with the people it serves.

However old the ANC might be, it’s not immune to death and complete obliteration.

* Ndima is a member of the ANC Youth League.

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

The Sunday Indendent