Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
The media have been invited to a briefing in which the ANC Youth League will “unveil its plans to make the City of Cape Town and Western Cape ungovernable”. This despite the fact that the Premier of the Western Cape and the Mayor of Cape Town have filed a criminal complaint against the ANC Youth League under the Intimidation Act, specifically for making such public threats.
This is, of course, not the first time that the ANC has threatened to make South Africa ungovernable. When these threats first emerged in the eighties, they proved to be anything but empty. Chaos descended on our country.
At that time, the ANC’s campaign to make South Africa ungovernable sprang from the injustice of the apartheid system under which we lived. It was a reaction to inequality, inferior education for the black majority, disenfranchisement and countless indignities that were visited upon our people. The demands behind the ANC’s threat were political liberation and democracy.
But behind the threat of the ANC Youth League today lies the demand that the DA give up leadership of the Western Cape. When this rallying call to vandalism and destruction of property was first sounded in 2010, sparked by the toilet saga, the Youth League made no bones about the fact that they wanted blanket ANC dominance across South Africa.
The question one must ask is whether the ANC of today has become an entirely different animal to the ANC of 1912, or even the ANC of the liberation struggle. Is this still Mandela’s ANC? In the past, the ANC adopted extreme tactics for the sake of liberation. Today they adopt extreme tactics just to get their own way and stay king of the hill.
Let me pause here to say that the IFP never agreed with the ANC’s strategy of making our country ungovernable for the sake of political freedom. We disagreed that young South Africans could justifiably be asked to forfeit their education in order to burn down their schools, for they would be forfeiting their future even in a democratic South Africa. How many are unemployed now for lack of skills and basic education?
On Sunday the former United Nations’ Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson, made a crisp point during the tenth Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Cape Town. She spoke of the ANC’s eroded moral authority, and correctly identified it as “a temporary betrayal of its history”.
How does a party that once sacrificed lives for the sake of South Africa’s political liberation, become a party bent on creating chaos in a democratic South Africa wherever the electorate chooses someone else to lead them? How can one avoid drawing the conclusion that the ANC has changed irrevocably from what it once used to be?
The only other interpretation is that the ANC remains what it always was. It is just becoming less sophisticated in its spin-doctoring.
This generation of the ANC Youth League hardly has the political finesse of their predecessors. So perhaps there has always been a sinister undertone to the strategies employed by the ANC. Perhaps their objectives have never been as noble as they claimed.
The DA in the Western Cape is experiencing what the IFP has experienced at the hands of the ANC for decades. The ruling Party will do anything to gain political hegemony. It was this cause that ignited the ANC’s People’s War waged against other components of the liberation struggle in the late eighties and early nineties. It was the cause of political domination that saw KwaZulu Natal plunged into anarchy.
I pray that this will not happen in the Western Cape. But even if we avoid bloodshed, the chaos of protests, wholesale vandalism, destruction of property and the accompanying fear and turmoil this brings to communities, is enough to light a fire that can destroy many lives.
As our poorest and most vulnerable citizens know, murder is only one way to destroy a life. Take away a community’s hope, make them live in dread in their homes, let fear keep their children out of school, ravage their neighbourhood, wrecking what little they have, break down the structures of authority so they feel there is no recourse and no one to help them. This is what it means to make a community ungovernable.
The ANC have done it before. It can do it again.
Whether the ANC has lost its identity and moral compass, or whether its true colours are simply being revealed, the indictment remains.
How can they claim to serve the people and champion democracy, when they are willing to hurt the people if democracy doesn’t work in their favour?
The DA has a serious fight on its hands. Not only must they meet the overwhelming demands of provincial and local governance, they must do so while fighting off sabotage. One hopes they will not take the bait and begin to blame every service delivery failure in the Western Cape on the ANC. Clearly even the DA has room for improvement based on the audit reports of local government in the province it leads.
But the IFP hopes to see the DA succeed. Not because we have a common opponent in the ANC, but because we have a common enemy in poverty, under-development and socio-economic need. Sabotaging governance means sabotaging the people. For the sake of the people, the IFP seeks effective governance across South Africa.
The threat in the Western Cape is that politics will trump the needs of the people. If the DA is kept busy fighting fires, it will have no strength, capacity or time to serve and govern. What happens to the needs of the people?
Yours in the service of our nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP