South Africa 

THE ANC’S BATTLE OF AGINCOURT

The past few days have treated South Africans with a sunny Spring-like weather, trips to the beach, the embracement of summer wear, and the feeling of a comforting warmth in the air, preluding us to what will be a pleasant summer season.

But, while the sun is shining radiantly in selected locations across our country, grey, disquieting clouds loom over the ANC, the party’s NEC and the internal factions that continue to remain divided.

The scandal of the State Capture as well as the Gordhan v. NPA battle, maintain their domination in the headlines of the national weeklies.

Now, another party heavyweight has stepped up in his public declaration of support for Gordhan.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu conquered today’s front cover of the City Press, after his public disownment of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC). When discussing the charges against Gordhan, Mthembu is quoted “we are not only equal to the apartheid state, we are worse because they never treated their ministers like this.”

The divisions within the ANC continue to become more visible in light of the NPA charges, where ANC Youth League leader, Collen Maine, a brazen Zuma sympathizer, has called out Mthembu for his comments and support for Gordhan, demanding the chief whip’s resignation and discipline of other ANC members who support Gordhan, including the party’s Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe.

Evidently and undoubtedly, not all is well in the state of Denmark.

While the battle of Treasury has increased the gravity of the party factions, the State Capture report remains hidden. The question that is most probably in every South African’s mind; what are they trying to hide?

Well, at least one disturbing fact was revealed this week. A former employee and whistleblower of a Gupta-linked business testified in an affidavit that the Gupta’s were very much aware of Former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene’s axing last December, two months prior to the cabinet reshuffle.

Described as the “dark heart of the state capture” by the Sunday Times, new Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s most obvious attempt to contain Madonsela’s report is not working in comrade Zuma’s favour. Although Mkhwebane would not deem a whistleblower account as any leak of the State Capture report, as she is too preoccupied watching her news on ANN7.

However, the public is fully conscious of what the Zuma loyalists are trying to hide. More and more ruling party members are coming out, stating their stance on the Gordhan charges, setting up a pinnacle in this play for when Gordhan is expected to deliver the midterm budget in Parliament on Wednesday.

The party has very much entered into a state of absolute turbulence. The powers of the Zuma cabal are disintegrating at a remarkable tempo, satisfying the anti-Zuma members in their quest to take over the party and secure a reelection in 2019.

But is there really enough time to save the sinking ANC? Or has that song already been sung?

The irony of the calamity has paved way for the ANC to become far more democratic than ever before during the Zuma administration – while factions continue to intensely fuel each other, the public condemnations of Zuma and the actions of his loyalists, including the NPA, by Gordhan sympathisers, has created a new ANC of a publicly projected, internal dialogue. A clear screening of the arguments dominating the offices of Luthuli House.

But a party divided is a party set up for failure. While the ANC survived a fierce two-way battle during the summer of 2007, the party might not be strong enough to endure such another election conflict. Perhaps, the Zuma sympathisers already know this and are most probably planning their exit from this stage before the 2019 general election.

While Shakespeare claimed, “to be or not to be”, the ANC are now most likely asking themselves; “to win or not to win?”

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