Mavuso Msimang: Luthuli House Is Sabotaging The ANC

And all of this in solidarity with one man.

07/08/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 07/08/2017 11:50 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma gestures during his opening address at the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, South Africa June 30, 2017.

The leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) and the whole of its national executive committee (NEC) seems hell-bent on doing everything it can to ensure that the organisation does not win the general election in 2019. It is as if they are driven by an unstoppable urge to die.

All of this in solidarity with a man who has reduced the ANC to a caricature of its former self and has in the process all but destroyed its moral standing in society. Turning ANC politics on its head, Luthuli House has made it clear that they will not allow their MPs to vote with their conscience on Tuesday, so central are the interests of Zuma to the type of ANC they want.

It means absolutely nothing to them that the highest court in the land ruled that Zuma had egregiously failed to defend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and that he had breached his oath of office.

The string of scandals attendant to Zuma's presidency is regarded as inconsequential and his nefarious relationship with a family that has looted state with a vengeance simply leaves our leaders cold. Not that these facts are ever disputed.

The fury of these leaders is directed at people like Mondli Gungubele, Makhosi Khoza, Derek Hanekom, the redoubtable defender of the nation's vault, Pravin Gordhan, and mercifully many more others who have decided that they'll brook no further nonsense when it comes to matters of integrity.

It is ironic that a leadership that piously extols the virtues of Oliver Tambo should find itself at odds with people who call for the emulation of the venerated leader's ethical standards.

The least they should do for now is to vote with their conscience.

But we should not be surprised, for in 2015 Zuma declared that the ANC comes before the country. No one in the leadership objected to this strange assertion. Party interests, this leadership states without equivocation, supersede conscience. But we've seen the leadership attack those that take a stand against corruption by accusing them of breaching party discipline.

What ANC leader takes issue with people who state that they will exercise their conscience during the no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday? My understanding is that conscience defines a person's moral sense of right or wrong, and that conscience acts as a guide to one's behaviour. But apparently not when it collides with the interests of Luthuli House apparatchiks.

The tragedy of the ANC bosses is that they know that many of their MPs have no confidence in Zuma. Maybe the time has come for a system that will make MPs accountable directly to the electorate. The least they could do now is to vote with their conscience.

** Msimang is a former senior civil servant and was a member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe high command during the struggle against apartheid.