April 6, 2009 § 4 Comments
South Africans remind me of a girl with an abusive boyfriend. He beats (excuse my Xhosa) the shit out of her. Every now and then he tells her “I won’t beat you again, I love you”. They cuddle up and cosy up. Then he beats her up again. The girl knows the relationship is not ideal, it is not the best relationship but keeps making excuses for him and his behaviour. “But he loves me” she keeps telling her friends through broken teeth and ribs.
Then she says: “Anyway before I met him I was down and out and in the dumps. I had nothing. I was a nobody. He made me who I am. He took me in, helped me get a good job and a better education. He introduced me to celebrities, Moet, cigars and all the glitz and glamour. He cares for me even though he gave me a blue eye yesterday and will probably give me another tomorrow. To be fair I owe him.”
She believes in her heart of hearts that she cannot find anyone better. “I am used to him” she tells friends who tell her to get out of the relationship. “I don’t want to get used to someone new all over again.” Then she continues to stay in the abusive relationship where she used to be the significant other and is now the insignificant other. The many trips to the hospital do nothing to dissuade her. Like a perfect gentleman he goes to the hospital to pick her up when she leaves the hospital because he cares. She never lays charges. She is convinced that he still cares because he was sweet enough to pick her up from the hospital.
“He only beats me because he loves me” she tells her friends. Of course by the time she wakes up it’s too late. This is what’s happening to South Africa right now. But we can change this, we only need to want to change the situation bad enough.
How badly do you want to get out of this relationship with the ANC?
January 28, 2009 § 6 Comments
Imagine a scenario where former president Thabo Mbeki decides to announce his endorsement and intentions to vote for Cope but decides to remain a member of the ANC. I cannot imagine a situation that could rattle the feathers of some of the over inflated egos at Luthuli House more. Some of those egos are “too big, too wide, too strong, won’t fit they’re too much and they talk like this but they can’t even back it up.” “Quoting” Beyonce while discussing politics seems a tad out of place. Perhaps I should make a better analogy. Let me point to the most widely followed election in recent memory. The US elections.
(Just an aside here. I was commenting on someone’s status on Facebook about something they had said regarding the ANC. In my comment I quoted Dr Martin Luther King; someone then commented saying, “Trust Cope to quote Martin Luther King who, at the time, was speaking about equality during the 1960s. What relevance does Dr King have to our democracy,” as if there was something wrong with quoting people from other countries. I’m afraid if that person sees this blog post I will be taken to task for making references to America.)
Two weeks before the American general elections in 2008 a very well respected Republican sat before Tom Brokaw, the host of MSNBC’s much-respected Meet the Press TV programme. This particular Republican, according to opinion polls, had been the most respected American for years. In fact, had his wife not forbidden him from running in 2000, would most certainly have been the Republican nominee for president, meaning that he would have ended up president of the United States instead of George Walker (Dubya) Bush. He would have been America’s first black president.
This Republican gentleman and former National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, General Colin Luther Powell endorsed Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic Party, for the presidency of the United States. During his endorsement he mentioned that he was and still is a member of the Republican Party but felt that Obama would make a better president than his fellow party man, John McCain. Although he endorsed an individual, it was essentially an endorsement of the Democratic Party’s platform.
General Powell made that endorsement fully aware of the impact it might have on the fence sitters. Here was an established, highly respected man going out of his way to make known his intentions of voting for a member of a different party to that of his own. Although he allowed himself to be used to bring falsified evidence before the United Nations, which led to the invasion of Iraq, perhaps the endorsement was a way of correcting that error.
He was not hounded out of the Republican Party after his announcement. Of course they were not happy with the endorsement. It was his right to express his preferences. Some tried to spin it by saying he was only endorsing Obama because he is black. Maybe it is time our country matured enough to allow people to express their preferences without fear or favour.
Unfortunately I don’t see Luthuli House viewing Mbeki’s endorsement of Cope as his democratic right. He would most likely be called a traitor at first. Then names and a host of animals that can be found in a zoo. The endorsement would then be ridiculed. They would say that he wants to rule from the grave. They would accuse him of bitterness. They would say that people aren’t going to switch from the ANC and vote for Cope simply because Mbeki decided to do so. The funny thing is they would spend an awful lot of time telling us how insignificant the endorsement was. They would also appear on every SABC station telling us how it would not make a dent in the ANC’s support base, which would make you how wonder: is it really inconsequential? Fikile Mbalula would say that he was right all along; Mbeki was behind Cope all along. Then Julius would call for him to be disciplined or call for his expulsion.
I had the rare opportunity of seeing Julius Malema and Fikile Mbalula at a wedding I too had the privilege of attending some time last year. While all the guests were having tea before the reception, they stood together and talked, like two lonely figures. No one really walked up to them, to talk to them. Then later at the reception the master of ceremonies made the following pronouncement, “I see Mr Malema is also here.” There was much laughter. Make of the laughter what you will. But I digress, as usual. Excuse the ADD.
Should senior members of the ANC who might be sympathetic to Cope publicly announce their intentions to vote for Cope even though they remain members of the ANC? Should they come out and say that they are doing so in order to strengthen democracy and not necessarily weaken the ANC? Will a stronger opposition not in fact strengthen them? Maybe not in terms of numbers, but in strengthening the democratic processes within the party?
Members of the ANC should have the freedom to endorse and to state their intentions of voting for Cope even though they are still senior members of the ANC without the fear of being suspended.
If the rumours are true that the ANC is busy denying – President Motlanthe’s intentions of refusing the position of deputy president should Zuma become president, then it is difficult not to view his discomfort of serving as deputy to Zuma as a vote of no confidence in his presidency.
If, in the next few weeks and months, people decide to go public and announce that they will vote Cope but will remain members of the ANC, then the ruling party should understand one thing — these people do not love the ANC any less. It’s just that they love their country more.
October 29, 2008 § 17 Comments
I am not one prone to the indiscriminate use of profanity. In fact, those who know me well will tell you that I rarely descend to this sort of level. But Julius’ ability to spew out the most outlandish statements has reduced my I.Q to levels I didn’t think possible. This is my excuse for the title of this blog. The problem with listening to some of the things that he says leaves one even stupider for having heard them. For that, he should not be forgiven. The things he says not only defy logic, but stupidity. He over compensates for his lack of intellectual curiosity with his bellicose statements, which he mistakes for coherence.
Once again, on 11 February 2009 Mr Malema did what he does best (perhaps the worst), he opened his mouth. He insulted the minister of education, Naledi Pandor, a member of his own political party, accusing her of having a fake accent. His statement could also be understood to mean that any black person who happens to have gone to a private school or a so-called Model C school all his life is using nothing but a fake accent. The only genuine accent apparently is the one he has.
Both the minister and the president of the ANCYL are eloquent individuals. However Malema is eloquent in buffoonery. As a supporter of COPE I hope and pray that he uses his substandard rhetorical abilities more frequently.
Last year he tried to insult COPE’s first deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa, by calling him a security guard, recalling his humble beginnings. As though to say there is something wrong with being a security guard. To demonstrate his lack of foresight, he did not stop to think that his statement could be insulting to the very constituency his political party is meant to speak to. If I were a security guard why would I vote for a party that seemingly has no respect for my profession?
The sort of dangerous and frightening statements he is reported to have said on October 27, 2208 could lead this nation to genocide. To quote The Times on line, “Under Mbeki, the resources of the country were distributed to certain individuals and a certain tribe,” he said, alluding to Mbeki’s Xhosa heritage. “Not everyone benefited. But under [ANC president Jacob] Zuma we expect everyone to benefit.”
This sort of blanket statement said without an iota of evidence has the ability to incite the people of this nation into an unnecessary blood bath. Of all the things we have had the misfortune of hearing from Malema, this has to be the most dangerous, therefore it should be the most unacceptable. All senior members of the ANC should have condemned this incitement of tribalism in the strongest possible terms instead of closing ranks around him, which is their reflexive reaction.
If, as he so claimed, that only a certain tribe benefited when Thabo Mbeki was president, can he explain to us why the Eastern Cape is still the poorest province in the country? The richest black man in the country by his thinking should be from the Eastern Cape or the Western Cape for that matter. In fact, the wealthiest black people in this country should be from the Cape provinces.
If he is talking about the leadership within his party he should apply some logic, something he seems to be in short supply of. I shall help him along and give him a bit of a history lesson about his party.
Historically, the Eastern Cape is the ANC’s biggest province by membership, and has been for the longest time. (Of course COPE is changing the political landscape in leaps and bounds now.) Naturally, the vast majority of people elected into leadership positions would be from that part of the world by virtue of the Eastern Cape having the greatest number of the party’s supporters. Add the Western Cape to that number. For years, large sections of KwaZulu-Natal voted IFP. Thus the vote from that part of the world was split between the ANC and the IFP. The consequence of this is that the leadership has shown a slightly disproportionate Cape slant. One does not need to be a brain surgeon to make these deductions. In fact, one does not even need a matric.
No one has single-handedly driven young black intelligentsia from the ANC to COPE with greater ferocity than young Julius Malema. I don’t understand how and why he is allowed to carry on speaking (but as a COPE supporter I hope he is allowed to speak more often. He is our greatest election tool). The more Jacob Zuma, Matthew Phosa, Cyril Ramaphosa, Pallo Jordan and Gwede Mntashe allow him to speak, the more supporters COPE gets.
In October 2009, he was on Kaya FM. I was astonished by ANCYL president’s assertions that being a youth somehow earned him the right to be impetuous, belligerent and disrespectful. I must politely disagree (although I must admit I am tempted to disagree impolitely) with the man. Youth does not give one a free pass for foolhardiness, disrespect and impulsiveness just as maturity in years does not give one the automatic right to wisdom, level-headedness and patience.
The ANC has descended into anti intellectualism and ideological incoherence with the likes of Julius Malema. Every single young person in this country ought to be embarrassed by him. We should allow him to carry on speaking, and as young people we will speak at the ballots by voting COPE.
On behalf of COPE, I would strongly recommend that he continues to open his mouth.
*this was published last year but I deicided to updated it, thanks to Juluis’s latest outbusrst.
September 25, 2008 § 8 Comments
If Zuma were to get up and address the nation and tell us that he has no intentions of running for the presidency of the country, he would do much to repair his chequered reputation. Such an announcement would probably be one of the single greatest acts of self-sacrifice this nation has ever seen. It would be a great turn around. He would redeem himself in many people’s eyes.
But then again, who am I kidding? Nothing of the sort would ever happen; not in a million years. If Jacob Zuma were to be asked today if he would be willing to stand down in the name of party unity he would give us the predictable rehearsed classic response, “I serve at the pleasure of the ANC. If the ANC says that they want me to serve as president of the country, I will serve. If it says it wants me to sweep the floors I will. It is not for me to say I don’t want to be president or I want that position.” I would bet a billion rand that’s what he would say if asked. Ok, maybe not those precise words but you get my drift.
It is my understanding that no one puts a gun against anyone’s head and forces someone to a position they don’t want in the ANC. Sometimes our leaders treat us as though we are idiots. We may be dumb, but we certainly aren’t as dumb as they think.
In a clever attempt to have it both ways, Zuma could also announce to the nation that he is making that consideration when in fact he isn’t. The Youth League, Cosatu and others would then shout from the rooftops and he would “cave”. He would then say that there are too many calls for him to run — he simply cannot ignore those calls; he has to serve the people. I expect that he would also point to the example set by Nelson Mandela who, before the elections, is reported to have told the NEC that he did not want to be president of the country because he felt he was too old. He also argued that there were younger and more capable hands to lead the country. The only difference is that there were no divisions within the ANC at the time. The ANC urged him to stand because the world trusted him and he would also ease any white fears. Basically, it was best for the country for him to be president.
Referring to the Mandela example, is it the best thing for the country to have a Zuma presidency? In fact, let me pose a less noble question. Is it the best thing for the ANC? I doubt that it is best for the ANC for him to run and these are my very unscientific reasons:
1. If he runs, the ANC will most certainly have a reduced majority at the polls next year as a direct result of the manner in which Thabo Mbeki has been treated. It was not the most politically astute move to make a few months before the general elections.
2. The DA will most certainly win the Western Cape thanks to the divisions in the ANC and the coloured vote going to the DA once again.
3. I am convinced that the UDM will see an increase in enthusiasm for it, particularly in the Eastern Cape. Personally, I believe Bantubonke Holomisa has been making sense for a very long time but nobody has been listening.
4. Much of the young, black middle class feels like political orphans at the moment and will either abandon the ANC and will not vote, or they will look for a new home.
Did the ANC really consider all of these possibilities before the ousting of Thabo Mbeki? Did they really have the interests of the ANC at heart or did they just have the interests of one man? Or were the Zumarites so drunk with victory after Judge Nicholson’s judgment that they threw reason out the window?
The advantage of having Kgalema Motlanthe as president is that he would be his own man. He owes no one. The ANC would remain largely intact if he were to run for the presidency. Most of those who feel like they are political orphans now that Thabo Mbeki has been fired would come back home. The ANC wouldn’t suffer as much in the elections next year.
Unfortunately the ANC is led by a group of hot heads who would never consider Kgalema Motlanthe as the option for party and country. They want what they want and they will do whatever it takes to get it. Get rid of the Scorpions, get rid of unwanted premiers, get rid of Thabo Mbeki and maybe the next thing is to drop all charges against Jacob Zuma. And finally, President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
If Zuma were to stand down it would probably be one of the greatest selfless acts we have ever witnessed as a nation. Not just because he would forego power, but he would forego a couple of extra pages in the history books as South Africa’s third democratically elected president.
If Zuma takes this course of action, he would also free himself from the political debts he owes. His creditors would tell him in no uncertain terms that a debtor cannot tell his creditors how he wants to pay them. He simply has to abide by the terms and conditions that have been set out before him, or there will be consequences. He might be forced to constantly make decisions he doesn’t want to make as president because he owes so many people. Zuma is between a rock and stainless steel.
To be fair, none of us know what it’s like to be Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. We can only imagine the torments he goes through. Now he can see a light at the end of the tunnel. But once he emerges into the light, will he be his own master?
Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma both damaged the ANC. They should ride into the sunset and allow others to repair the mess they have created. I suspect both men believe the other is responsible for this mess. They should leave the stage for Kgalema Motlanthe.
The question is: is Zuma man enough to give up what no man would give up? Can he truly give up what he has been working towards for such a long time? Can he give it up when it is within reach? When he has it in the palm of his hand? If I were him I don’t know if I would be able to. And that is the truth. Perhaps we should understand why he wouldn’t give up. But I don’t think we should excuse him for not letting go.
*first published September 25 2008, http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/khayadlanga
September 15, 2008 § 3 Comments
By Khaya Dlanga
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my leaders smart. I don’t want their intellectual capacity to be open for debate.
Even if a leader is a jackass, I want to be able to say: “Sure, he’s a jackass, but he sure is smart,” like many people thought of good ol’ Mbeki. I don’t want my leader to be making George Bush-like misstatements when he speaks in public. It fills me with a great deal of comfort when I know that my leader is significantly smarter and wiser than I am. I’ll be the first to admit that that bar is not very high, so I’m not asking for much.
I know that some people will think that I’m questioning Zuma’s intelligence. I would have to be an idiot (not that I am not) to think that he is on the slow side. You don’t become the second-most-powerful man in the land by being stupid.
I just get the sense that his top supporters don’t respect him. Or they just think that they are smarter than he is. All they respect is what they can get because of him. I can’t shake the feeling that they will discard him like used toilet paper; once they are rid of him, they will go on the hunt for some other poor soul who is hungry and desperate enough for power, for whatever reason. Unfortunately many will claim much love for him, but I suspect they would rather nurse their expensive Johnnie Walkers while he burns, since he would have achieved his purpose. For them.
I had a conversation with a former chairperson of a certain region of a certain trade union a few months ago. I will name this individual Mr Someone as he told me in no uncertain terms not to reveal his name when I told him that I was going to write a blog regarding our conversation.
It was not until I saw headlines with the Congress of South African Trade Unions contradicting statements made by Zuma that I paid attention to the conversation I had those months ago with Mr Someone.
Mr Someone shared with me the reason the leaders of the trade unions were so passionate about Zuma. He made a call to a regional chairperson, Mr Somebody, of a large trade union while he was with me. After their conversation ended, Mr Someone revealed to me that the reason the likes of Mr Somebody supported Zuma so passionately was because he was someone the trade unions could control. They did not have that luxury with Mbeki and they punished him for it. He trusted his intellect far too much for their liking.
At times I wonder who calls the shots in the ANC. Is it Phosa or Gwede? I never wonder if it’s Zuma. Perhaps he is too busy preparing for the trial. Since the conference I have never felt that Zuma is leading the ANC. I don’t buy the collective argument. My suspicion is that the leadership of the ANC does not think that he would make a good president. If anyone is a lame-duck president, it’s Jacob Zuma.
We see the lack of power in small humiliations, so small that they go unnoticed. In the future they might become more blatant. Time will tell. He is made to retract a statement here and another one there. He is forced to say he was misquoted. Can you imagine that happening to Mbeki?
If all this is true, then it fair to say that Jacob Zuma does not lead; he is being led.
Zuma is becoming a sad and tragic figure. No one can deny that he is a likable and charming man. These two virtues do not a leader make.
He fought so hard for power that when he got it, he discovered he had it in name only. He is told how to wield it. We know that he would argue and say he is a consensus leader. The truth is that Mandela was such a leader, but we knew he had power; we never doubted it. The same can be said about Tambo. Mbeki was a different story, apparently. If this is Zuma’s way of rebelling against Mbeki’s style of leadership, then he is taking it too far. He just seems weak. Perhaps that is what Mr Somebody meant when he said that Zuma is someone that can be controlled.
This is what I expect from my leader:
I want to know what my leader stands for. I don’t want to hear him say one thing today and the opposite tomorrow.
I don’t want a leader who stands just for his own survival. I want a leader who will make sure that I, along with 46-million odd South Africans, don’t just survive but thrive.
I don’t want a leader who follows the public mood, but one who shapes it.
I want a leader who will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
I don’t want a leader who thinks that he can get away with answering tough questions by laughing. He should be arrogant enough to say, “I refuse to answer this question,” or, “This interview is over, Mr Journalist Person. Your question crossed the line.”
Zuma, man up! Be the president we know you can be. Stop trying to appease every interest group out there and take your power back!
*first published March 12th, on http://www.thoughtleader.co.za