THE BLOG

Although It Failed, The Secret Ballot Was A Victory In The Fight Against State Capture

The ongoing pressure exerted by civil society formations have already borne fruit.

23/08/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 23/08/2017 09:03 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma dances with former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the last day of the six-day meeting of the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference.

As our country's institutions display an increasingly volatile, unreliable and undemocratic performance, it has become incumbent on South African civil society to express the frustration of our people and insist that our government and its institutions do what they are meant to do.

The ongoing pressure exerted by civil society formations have already borne fruit. Cracks are beginning to show in the ANC edifice in the face of public outrage over corruption, service-delivery failures, and an elite that governs in its own interests.

Although it did not succeed, the recent secret ballot initiative showed that there are divisions within the ANC. It demonstrated that there are people willing to move beyond the party towards the national interest. That was most encouraging. It was a victory that the Speaker allowed the secret ballot and that 30-35 ANC MPs voted for the motion. It was a victory for the movement against state capture.

The latest manifestation of this is the Future SA coalition. The Banking Association South Africa, as part of this initiative, is resolved to pressure the current government to abandon its corrupt ways and return to governing for the people, with the interests of the poor paramount.

Future SA is united against state capture, and in defence of the Constitution. We believe this can best be achieved by President Zuma resigning from office and his coterie of funders and enablers being brought to justice.

Our institutions need to be rebuilt in the spirit of putting the people first.

Corrupt procurement policies, particularly those around nuclear and energy contracts need to be stopped and reversed. Appointments made in the sole economic interests of the captors of the state need to end. They have undermined international confidence in our country and set our economy on a slide that prejudices the poor worst of all.

Our institutions need to be rebuilt in the spirit of putting the people first –- Chapter 9 bodies, the justice system, parliament, the executive and the public service.

Most importantly, we need an inclusive economy that operates in the greater social interest and not that of capital alone. For us to move towards this more democratic environment and to get our country back on track, we need to continue to mobilise.

We remain convinced of the need for an active citizenry to pressure government and the party to rediscover its ethical principles. As businesses, we need to continue to play a critical role in that. We have to work through this current situation without compromising ourselves.

No matter what happens, at some point in time, we will get over this. We should start working with our partners in government to put in place the building blocks to start a process of national renewal. Whether the government is doing a good job and whether there are parts of government that are corrupt or not, it is the legitimately elected government of the day.

The solidarity developing across civil society and the opposition is encouraging.

The ANC remains the majority party. It's no contradiction to engage with a legitimate government, while at the same time mobilising and pressurising to address significant weaknesses in that government.

The solidarity developing across civil society and the opposition is encouraging. Despite ideological differences, common strategies are being formulated -- business, civic organisations, community groups, even political parties across the ideological divide have come together.

The progress achieved during the vote of no confidence gives credence to the Future SA vision of a cohesive front against misgovernance and corruption. There remains much work to do. But there have been victories. Among these has been the ongoing conscientisation of South Africans.

We need this politically active spirit, regardless of the government of the day. An engaged citizenry remains an asset and should not be something that only comes out in times of crisis. As South Africans, we have rediscovered our voice. We must continue to speak out against the capture of our country.