The ANC’s resilience has been tested before, we will triumph despite our current setbacks

The ANC is the only party with a track record of consistently delivering services to the people. This is an achievement the opposition cannot compete against, writes MEOKGO MATUBA

Opposition parties are united in their hatred of the ruling party, the African National Congress and not out of an idea or ideal that their alliance/s could make a meaningful difference in the lives of all South Africans.

Alliance politics has always made for uncomfortable bedfellows, and it is no different in South Africa. Uneasy alliances in three metros between the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters are fraying at the edges and look like imploding.

It is hardly surprising given that they speak two different political languages altogether – the EFF preaching from a nationalist, populist-based dogma, espousing the virtues of nationalising the land and mines, while the DA continues to be hampered by its inability to convince itself and especially the majority of black people that it has shrugged off the influence of the NP brigade within its ranks.

The DA is also largely beset with leadership struggles of its own – Mmusi Maimane may have his name on the building, but behind closed doors, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille with her admiration for colonialism and its perceived benefits (for whom) still pulls the strings.

EFF leader Julius Malema is a former disgruntled ANC Youth League President and his hatred of the ruling party is well documented through his words and actions in Parliament. But while coalitions might be politically expedient, where does the bedrock of which these parties base their existence on? Has their vision for South Africa become nothing more than sloganeering at the altar of narrowed interests?

Recently, the newly minted ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to South Africa, Lin Songtian, urged leaders to stop fighting over positions and “put citizens first if they want to realise solid economic growth in the country”.

“We have a mantra that says ‘Don’t forget the people or you’ll be forgotten by the people’.

In its SA: Reconciliation Barometer Briefing Paper 3, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation paints this sombre picture of an electorate that is seemingly disillusioned:

“Many South Africans feel out of touch with key representative institutions and the elected political leaders who preside over them. As a result, close to half of the respondents surveyed during the 2015 South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) Survey, which was conducted in August and September of 2015, indicated that voting in elections has little impact on the course that the country takes.”

“In spite of this scepticism regarding the power of their vote, most respondents indicated a preference for peaceful means of democratic expression. However, around 15% indicated that they had used violence or force to achieve their political objective in the preceding 12 months. Another 10% indicated that, although they had not engaged in such activities, they would if the circumstances demanded.

That one-quarter of voting-age respondents indicated receptiveness to violent forms of political engagement in the run-up to local government elections in August 2016, should be a source of concern. To date, several observers have expressed their disappointment with the polarising rhetoric of the political campaigns thus far and the impact that this may have on the conduct of the elections.

High levels of distrust still exist among South Africans of different, historically defined racial categories, as previously reported in the results of the 2015 SARB Survey. As such, it will be incumbent on political organisations to act in ways that do not exacerbate these racial schisms, and, more broadly, also avoid any other forms of mobilisation that may cast doubt on the ultimate outcome.”

While the ANC government, through legislation has and continues to aim at redressing past imbalances and injustices through Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and its black industrialist policy, to name a few, what have the main opposition parties done to support real change?

All they have done is foisted their hatred and disregard for the ruling party and disparaged and tried to derail every effort at nation-building.

Since democracy, more people have access to vital homes and services and through the government’s vision, as set out in the National Development Plan, the country will be put on a path of meaningful growth.

Recently, the DA again failed in yet another parliamentary bid to oust President Jacob Zuma. These bids are all red herrings and would want people to believe that the opposition is as strong as ever.

It is not. It cannot form a cohesive unit based on mutually shared principles other than its total disregard for the ANC and by extension the constitution.

There are many examples of the DA calling out ANC MPs or members for wrongdoing, but not acting against its own rank and file when accused or caught doing the same.

The EFF is a populous mess and its chief trumpeter is constantly divisive in his (racist) tirades against whites and of late, Indian people. The fact of the matter is this: the ANC is the only party with a proven track record of being able to deliver services to all of its people.

Pundits and people will remark how wonderful the DA enclave of the Western Cape is. But for who? Certainly not for all.  Ask the land-restitution activists and those bearing the brunt of the DA administration’s housing policies how they feel about being shunted from their family homes they’ve lived in for generations to the wastelands of Blikkiesdorp and Wolwerivier.

Recently, the Congress of South African Trade Unions called on the DA to deal with its inherent racist policies in terms of service delivery in the Western Cape.

The ANC is a century-plus movement and has shown it can adapt from a revolutionary movement into a capable government intent on looking after the needs of all of its citizens.

Matuba is Secretary-General of the ANC Women’s League 

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