In Loss, the #ANC Justifies Decision to Vote Against It

Bless whichever lucky stars spared you the annoying musings that have flooded my Facebook timeline, worded introspectively along the lines of, “The people have been trying to tell us.  We might lose these metros if we don’t act.”

Though doing too little too late, the ANC and its supporters still depict the ruling party as negotiating for NMB, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni from a position of strength.  This is the definition of arrogance: having an inflated sense of one’s indispensability.

Many in it refuse to see the ANC’s love affair with #1 as its defining weakness or that it must do more than “listen” to voters and “scrutinise” results to recover.  They know what they have to do.  Shannon L. Adler speaks to this analysis-paralysis:

“The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyse it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalise it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain.

“It is dead.  It is over.  It is gone.  It is done.  It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude.  Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!” (bold mine).

I’d hasten to add it not only rots in your brain, but it rots your brain.  Given the economic status quo, I would expect it to be DA supporters that reflexively call all talk of race racist.  But it’s ANC supporters’ blaming black people’s failure to “appreciate” the importance of voting that truly demonstrates the senility that’s come to characterise the 104-year-old party.  It’s the ANC that hasn’t appreciated black people’s votes, not black voters who haven’t appreciated the freedom to vote.

Moreover, thinking black people are eternally beholden to the ANC for being at the forefront of the struggle, that this gratitude should convert into votes until Jesus returns, nullifies the nature of freedom itself.  Once bestowed, freedom is in a sense irrevocable and unconditional.  For black people, this means gratitude may or may not be felt, and where felt, may remain a matter of sentiment but not necessarily convert to an unconditional, automatic vote.  The Constitution the ANC helped bring us counts political autonomy as one element of this freedom; the ANC’s attempt to coerce people to forget this point corresponds with its coercing people to forget everything else that’s in the same Constitution unless it serves the ANC’s interests.

This turns black people into second-class citizens: ever free, white people are expected to be fickle with their votes, going wherever their demands are fulfilled (this has been called “voting with your head”) while black people are seen as duty-bound to vote ANC no matter how they feel about its leadership because they were liberated by it (this has been called “voting with your heart”).  Enslavement to the ANC becomes the new oppression, and the South African population is falsely segmented segmented into free white voters and enslaved black ones.

Either for freedom the ANC set us free, which gives us the legitimate option of voting as we see fit, or we must still seek out a party that can accomplish this liberation once-and-for-all.  By claiming the black vote on the basis of liberated blackness, the ANC undermines the historical basis of its claim to the black vote.  It’s an absurdity.

The party’s cowardice on Zuma, state-owned enterprises and the tenderpreneurship/patronage network is why the ANC will remain behind the curve of its own death until it’s fully suicided, waking up once it’s dead.  Its people haven’t got the courage to stop defending the indefensible.  “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality,” observes C. S Lewis:

“A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions.  Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”

The ANC no longer has the prerequisite courage (and by extension, the virtue) to lead a people as valiant as the four women who staged the silent protest during Zuma’s speech.

The “Remember Khwezi” protesters have been belittled and dismissed by even the ANCWL.  Their protest has been reduced to a politically-motivated plot against their leader.  The ANC looked at four embodiments of what it no longer can be, and, envying the eminence it has squandered, tried to defame and distort in their protest action the courage it no longer has in itself.  Hating the light, it resorted to mudslinging the sun, yelling, “It is really darkness, not glory!”

In that untimely moment, in that uninvited light, the ANC revealed most clearly and tragically the profit it gained in exchanged for its soul.  It squandered courage and with courage, all virtue and worthiness to govern so great a nation.  The mudslinger who’d yell, “It is really hollow politics, not a noble anti-rape message!” or snuff out this sun with its revealing light would gouge out your eyes if that’s what it would take to stop you seeing how badly he has uglified himself.  That is censorship.

With every new word with which the ANC and its supporters respond to the local election results, the clearer it becomes to more of us that they would be a liability in political coalitions at metro.

Please follow and retweet: @SKhumalo1987


At What Point Do We Get Rid of Jacob Zuma…?

The last thing we should be talking about at this time is how to unseat President Jacob Zuma.

But God help him if South Africans decided to do it now.

We’re going through a transition into coalition local governments. Apart from wards, municipalities and metros the ANC has retained, its access to lootable funds stands severely compromised. Vaguely and broadly speaking, where it has less than 50% of the vote, the ANC can solve this problem by horse-trading and coalitioning with other parties.

This gives South Africans a powerful opportunity to send this very clear message to the various parties:

If South Africans wouldn’t spare the ANC on account of their power-loving leader, what makes the lesser parties think we won’t withdraw their votes from them if they cooperate with a Zuma-led ANC, at any point at all?

By doing so, these parties would have chosen power, privilege and positions over people and principles; they’d have chosen expediency over excellence.

People could stop the horse-trading by clarifying that unless those parties wait until the ANC has recalled Jacob Zuma—in other words, unless they isolate the Zuma-led ANC until it is no longer Zuma leading the country—they would threaten to vote those parties out in 2019 as certainly as the ANC is being voted out now.

Imagine if people made this threat felt while the current bloodbath is happening. If they didn’t wait until the iron cooled. If they wanted to do this, now would be the time to flex, flex and flex the power. In fact, if not Zuma’s recall, people could demand anything between now and 2019, and get it.

If non-ANC people really wanted Zuma gone, it wouldn’t be enough for their parties to get signed promises that the various ANC branches would do something to get rid of Zuma: their parties would have to set a deadline and say, “Unless he has been recalled (and prosecution for his crimes is well underway from within the ANC) by date X, we will not go into a coalition with you. You’ll be left out in the cold.” And only once Jacob Zuma is gone would those people then say, “Sure, now we’ll stomach our parties’ talks with the ANC.”

Jacob Zuma would be proven a great liability. At the moment, his popularity has retained the ANC places nobody knows about. Johannesburg, Tshwane, EThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay and the entire Western Cape province is where the money is. The ANC desperately needs to retain power there. And the way results are looking right now at 20:10 on Thursday, August 4, their only hope for power where power counts is in coalitions.

The people can withhold or give those coalitions on their terms and conditions—but they’d have to get vocal about it on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on.  They would have to tell their parties that there is a line.  COPE, UDM, IFP, EFF, DA, AIC and the rest of the alphabet would have to be told that the ANC is anathema unless and until they can get rid of Jacob Zuma.

There are worries at the moment that with as much power as the DA seems to be gaining, white supremacy may return. This is solved the same way: “Do ___ or we’ll flush you down the toilet in 2019 as well.”

Votes have power. 2019 is around the corner. These are just thoughts. Possibilities. Suggestions. What do you think? What do you want from your political parties?

Thank you.

Please follow and retweet: @SKhumalo1987

6 Months Ahead of the Election, Penny Sparrow Proved the ANC is the Only Party That Can Take This Country Forward

Penny Sparrow and her co-racists opened many Rainbowists’ eyes to the bright, white light of ongoing systemic racism. She saved their brown souls from the bewitchment of Madiba Magic.

I may or may not have been one of those Rainbowists, and I may or may not be having withdrawal symptoms from an abrupt disruption of fantasies about unicorns, waterfalls and butterflies.

“Don’t take her too seriously,” one of my Facebook friends has said. “She’s practically semi-literate. Racists have no real power. Don’t believe white supremacy has that much control over your destiny.”

We have 30 000 real estate agents playing in a 4 trillion-rand industry; how do we explain that only 1000 (3.3%) of those are of colour without appealing to a concentration of white power that’s made it so? Oops! we aren’t allowed to speak about colour.

But we must. Whatever their flaws, Penny Sparrow and Vicky Momberg blended in because that world recognised everything they were as the standard to which others could aspire (“Durban blacks are of higher calibre”). They never had to really try.

The elections are at hand. The DA has been saying (and texting, and calling, and texting) that Mandela would have voted DA because it’s carrying his values forward. Would compromise and non-racialism be among those? In the 1994 transition, he effectively agreed to leave intact much of the white supremacy these racists have been sheltered by. So Mandela has been voting DA since before the party’s inception—Maimane has been voting ANC since he was 14— so we shouldn’t be surprised if Mandela’s new DA counterpart is someone who’s been returning the favour and voting ANC. These two hands of white supremacy have been washing each other for a good 23 years; they have been two sides of the same coin. The only bright spot during these election campaigns was the DA’s presence (as I saw it on social media) at Durban Pride. That counts and I hope the DA keeps it up. This time around, DA: 1; everyone else: 0.

“Mandela would have voted DA” presupposes the post-Mandela ANC squandered a golden opportunity to make South Africa a success, and the DA wouldn’t do this. But the ANC started off in an awkward position, and then made all of us pay a price to maintain the status quo as the white supremacy that produces Penny Sparrows would have had it kept. The economy was opened, the Reserve Bank was privatised, and many cadres sold their souls to the status quo under the auspices of BEE. The price for this, growing greatly over the years, has been the cancer that was the tender/cadre deployment/patronage system used to keep enough black people happy to keep enough black people voting ANC.

Richard Poplak has previously connected large-scale uprisings (#Tshwane) to the sweet nothings the Congress whispered to more people than it could actually satisfy. There is a market for these promises because except for a few overachievers (“Herman Masala could do it! Race isn’t a factor!”) and convenient BEE “partners”, black people have been largely locked out of the post-apartheid economy and mostly live off of doing business with government.

But only so many of those black people can get government work legitimately; there are more people than there are government tasks to be carried out. Corruption is no aberration; it’s the necessary evil that accompanies skipping the mains of racial injustice redress and heading straight to the dessert of Rainbowism. That’s what it takes to maintain the status quo that keeps the Mombergs and Sparrows in a position to cluck at how incompetent, how useless, this government is.

You can’t have one without the other.

The hypocrisy of thinking you can—alluded to by Cloudy Motsoeneng and Faithful Muthambi—is that the dominant narrative about our government doesn’t connect its corruption to the perversion that is the status quo and big businesses’ preservation of whiteness in it. Up until recently, “senior management”, “executive” and “director” have been synonymous with “white man” except in HR, of course.

Few explanations of protester dissatisfaction in townships reference suburban wealth as the ultimate beneficiary of the compromise that necessitated corruption and, by extension, protests, because news consumers lives in those suburbs. The moment you start telling stories that point out their passive and active complicity, your TV ratings and print media circulation plummet. This is a blog, I appreciate the readers, but the same thing happens with the numbers here.

The DA’s first need is to get votes. It isn’t to prick consciences. So they’ll tap into white anger, entitlement and delusions of innocence when they peddle explanations of South Africa in which white supremacy was never the reason the ANC’s corruption was a necessary evil. They’ll never highlight the systemic and historic nature of racism or challenge its constituency. They’ll say, “The ANC has betrayed Mandela’s values!” But has it, or has it carried them to their ultimate unintended, but logical, conclusion?

This government has done nothing that the previous government wouldn’t have done. The reason our country is crumbling, over and above the “free markets’” distrust of Jacob Zuma (fuelled by subtly racist portrayals of him) is that there was never buy-in from these “free” markets.

There is tons of money locked in the vaults of companies and investors that currently plead tied hands, poverty and powerlessness. I don’t like or recommend it, but the dirty secret of governance is that you can run a thoroughly corrupt government and still have plenty of tax money (because of a high employment rate resulting from the buy-in of giving the right moguls enough of a cut) left to keep your electorate happy and your currency strong. Ask the Nats, and you’ll see that the only thing that’s destroying this country isn’t corruption or mismanagement. Those we will have with us always, and those words actually relative and malleable, used for no purpose but to channel outrage and shape the media narrative in order to bring about a shift in the balance of power.

What’s killing us is hypocrisy. When the DA talks about creating an investor-friendly economy, they’re saying they’ll massage oligarchs’ shoulders enough for them to say, “Oh, all right! Let’s hire a few more minions and cut unemployment; let’s part with a little more money so they can start their small businesses” which would strengthen the economy again.

So the other thing that’s killing us is the sort of whitist egoism that has the de Klerk foundation swearing black people control the economy, Afriforum swearing the Afrikaans language is endangered and right-wing sites insisting there’s a white genocide or that the equalising of rights is a zero-sum game in which white people lose theirs. People say, “If the EFF won an election, they’d chase the investors” but I prefer to say the investors would run all by themselves.

The third thing that’s killing us, then, is our collective (mis)use of language, otherwise known as lying.

Furthermore, turning Nelson Mandela into the measure of how South Africans should reconcile leads to the danger of gesturism. The CEO sleep-out that raised R24 million was a classic case of elements of our private sector swallowing a camel to strain out a gnat. And as a black man, I’ll be damned if I entertain the question, “What did you do for 67 minutes on Mandela day?”

The moment Mandela’s forgiving and humanising his capturers without their proving that humanity by concretely undoing systemic injustices becomes the polite thing for black people to do (“Don’t bring up race!”), we make black sainthood the norm when it should have been the exception. There isn’t enough equivalent white sainthood to justify this, and I’m tired. If Madiba’s legacy is to be abused for further such manipulation, he and the DA he’s been voting for since 1994 can honestly keep each other. Let the dead bury their dead and rest is peace.

In the bright, road-to-Damascus white light of her racism, Penny Sparrow revealed the 1994 miracle to have been a mirage. For on the day the New South Africa was born* its cord was not cut nor was it washed with water to make it clean, nor rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. The ANC is the only party rotten enough to make such a spectacular ruse seem real. Voting for it would be swallowing the bitter pill that we were sold out and lied to; it would be owning the betrayal the ANC manages; it would be admitting they’re the only party capable of managing it.

The ANC is the shrewd, cynical adult among the parties. It’s lying to everyone, but at least it knows that you know that it knows that it’s lying around the hypocrisy that’s grown out of the choice to preserve inequality at the cost of exacerbating corruption. The worst thing that could happen for white oligarchs is for ANC members to develop enough self-respect to finally stop maintaining the hypocrisy. What happens when Jesus does return or when billionaire ex-unionists find Jesus and part with the 30 pieces of silver they were given?  Jesus!

Will I vote for ANC? My vote is my secret. But I do now have a deepened respect for the job they’re doing, the only job they ever really had—and that was to stage-manage the illusion of post-apartheid South Africa.

Having sold their souls completely to the devil, they are the only party that can take South Africa forward into the lie of Rainbowism and equality before the law.

Thank you.

*with apologies to Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet

Please follow and retweet: @SKhumalo1987