Lessons can the ANC learn from Zanu PF
By Trevor Makonyonga
The turn of events in the South African political arena does not seem as the favourable result the African National Congress (ANC) would have expected. The South African ruling party seems to be losing ground to opposition or is simply paving way for opposition parties. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has apparently taken advantage of ANC’s sleeping and forced a shock in South Africa as numbers show. During the recent municipal elections, DA garnered the two South African capital provinces of Western Cape and Tshwane sending a serious message to the ANC.
It is clear that the ANC is losing appeal to cosmopolitan youths and residents with tired anti-apartheid policies instead of focusing on pro development policies. The numbers will comfort the ANC in that they won convincingly in Free State, North West, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwazulu Natal. The fact that ANC lost in Nkandla to the Inkatha Freedom Party shows a loss of grip. It is very rare that a ruling party will lose in the hometown of a sitting President. President Jacob Zuma’s rule has just suffered the biggest rejection in these elections and it is only sensible for the ruling party to regroup and focus on pleasing the electorate.
With the DA gaining ground, it has to be said that the storm of wanting for changes will sweep through every province even those that the ANC convincingly won this year. Change is a contagious need which can only be repelled by implementing and transforming the current policies. If DA continues to gain more ground like the MDC did in Zimbabwe, chances are that the ANC will continue winning elections and continuously lose the people.
A perfect blueprint was laid down for ANC by ZANU PF in Zimbabwe. ZANU PF managed to retain voters for the first fifteen to twenty years but after the public saw that they were riding a dead horse, the case has been different. The MDC shook the ruling party and initially ZANU PF managed to quash the rise of the opposition party using racial slurs and remind the people of Rhodesia rule. In the same way, the ANC is still riding on the anti-apartheid theme even though it’s been 22 years since they have been in power.
The general public seems to be annoyed by the lack of development and constant threats of return to the now impossible apartheid. Like the MDC in Zimbabwe, the DA is offering realistic political solutions of the time. If the ANC fail to keep up with what the DA is doing, they might succeed to kill the opposition but it will be difficult for them to contain the average South Africans. People want tangible solutions not some well crafted policy documents which are never implemented.
Like in Zimbabwe, the ANC sets up unending Commissions and Committees to probe issues. In actual fact these committees and commissions do nothing toward the development of the country but manage to only relegate the country into further expenses. Those Committees and Commissions are paid for and most of the time they do not find anything. It is like taxpayers’ money is used to cover up for the shady deals committed by the government. Nkandla is a typical example of such a predicament. The government found no wrong doing and it took the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela to summon President Jacob Zuma to repay the misused funds. If it was not Africa, Zuma would have probably resigned for the misuse of the public funds into the building of his family homestead.
It took constant nagging and irritation in parliament by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to activate Zuma’s will to repay the money. It is imperative that the ANC starts to focus on providing and retaining proper education, proper health, access to digital technology, eradication of poverty, eradication of crime and proper governance. By not meeting the said important issues, ANC risks being ridiculed and relegated below the solid and meaningful DA. The ANC has to start appealing to the youth in the same way the DA is doing.
If the ANC do not change policies or their system and if they do not learn a lesson their northern neighbour’s ZANU PF, regardless of who they chose to replace Zuma, their quest to cling on to power would have been defeated. They have to change promptly or they will continue to campaign for Mmusi Maimane by their poor service delivery they have been doing.