POLITICS

Ferial Haffajee: Jacob Zuma Might Have Won, But The Damage To The ANC Is Great

The ANC has lost its character, the allegiance of civil society and the support of many.

29/05/2017 15:41 SAST | Updated 30/05/2017 11:19 SAST

ANALYSIS

President Jacob Zuma has survived his ninth scandal in an eight-year administration -- but his victory is Pyrrhic as it has inflicted great damage on the African National Congress.

The party confirmed this on Monday when it said that it supported a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture but failed to deal substantively with the president's own conduct.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said current debates were "superficial" and it warned ANC MP's, who will soon have to ballot in parliament's vote of no confidence in President Zuma, that voting for the motion would be acting with "counter-revolutionary forces".

PHILL MAGAKOE via Getty Images
Members arrive to attend the South African ruling Party African National Congress' ordinary National Executive Committee meeting on May 27, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. / AFP PHOTO / Phill Magakoe (Photo credit should read PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP/Getty Images)

The ANC said that it had undertaken a "detailed analysis of the consequences of removing the President". Its final position is that many calls to do so are "not so much about removing the President, but rather dislodging the ANC itself from power".

The governing party has lost its character as a movement. It has lost the allegiance of its stalwarts, the churches, the academics and academies, and the most influential parts of civil society in addition to its traditional worker and communist allies.

Both the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions now stand behind the movement for President Zuma to step down. The ANC last year suffered significant electoral losses in the cities and last week took a drubbing by the Inkatha Freedom Party in an important by-election in Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The party's stalwarts, the term used to describe the golden generation of leaders and activists allied to the ANC, have held a series of meetings and written numerous letters asking the party to hold a special national conference to renew itself. They have been largely ignored.

The party's weekend national executive committee meeting, its most powerful structure, roundly defeated a second motion of no confidence in President Zuma. A previous motion failed in November last year.

But the party will now start a series of consultations with the various sectors of societies that are in uprising against state capture and stand in increasing opposition to the party they have always marched against.

AFP/Getty Images
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan (R) arrives to attend the South African ruling Party African National Congress 's ordinary National Executive Committee meeting on May 27, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. / AFP PHOTO / Phill Magakoe (Photo credit should read PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, two more reports on state capture traced the depths of influence by patronage networks over the state. The South African Council of Churches, the ANC's oldest and staunchest ally in the churches, released the findings of its "Unburdening Panel" which revealed the extent of capture, patronage and the export of South African capital by networks of influence.

On Thursday last week, the State Capacity Research Group, which is a group of academics from leading universities, released its analysis of how deeply the networks of patronage lie in the state. Their finding: South Africa is being "betrayed" and "stolen".