Steven Friedman
Steven Friedman

The person may change, but the policy lingers on

If you want to know why ANC policy won’t change dramatically whoever wins in Polokwane, take a look at the front page of one of our daily business newspapers on Tuesday morning, which features a photo of Jacob Zuma, Tokyo Sexwale and Zwelinzima Vavi at a meeting at Wits University.

All three are laughing and look for all the world like comrades in arms — which, to an extent, they are because Sexwale seems to have attended the meeting to signal his support for Zuma’s bid for the ANC presidency.

Why is all this of any interest?

To answer this, we need to go back to March this year, when Vavi gave an interview to the Mail & Guardian. He insisted that Cosatu would ensure that ANC policy changed radically to reflect the concerns of workers and the poor. Cosatu, he said, would “flood” the ANC with new members to ensure this. And, most importantly for our purposes, the type of person who occupied high ANC office needed to change.

Vavi said that the ANC national executive committee is not representative because it is made up of middle- and upper-class people “and is dominated by people with business interests”. These people were responsible for the “1996 Class Project” — the current set of ANC economic policies which he and his allies believe is slanted against workers and the poor — and needed to be replaced. And so Vavi suggested that Cosatu wanted to ensure that new ANC leaders were workers or poor people.

All of which raises an obvious question: Why is Vavi so happy to welcome into the Zuma camp so obvious a representative of big business as Sexwale? And the answer, in a nutshell, is that he knows that the agenda he spelled out in March cannot succeed.

When Vavi promised to “flood” the ANC with Cosatu members he was admitting, in effect, that the policies which the union federation and its allies want do not command a majority. That judgement was correct — there is no left majority among the active members of the ANC.

The problem for Vavi — and those who want to move the ANC leftward — is that there is no evidence that Cosatu succeeded in “flooding” the ANC. An analysis of audited ANC membership figures produced by my Idasa colleague Jonathan Faull shows that most of the growth in ANC membership since the last audit came from rural areas, not from the cities and mining areas where Cosatu is strong. So, if there was no majority among active ANC members for left policies in March, there still is not one now.

This may explain why Vavi’s commitment to electing workers and poor people seems to have been forgotten. His embrace of Sexwale is not an isolated incident — if we look at the list of candidates for the top six ANC positions that Cosatu endorsed, only two, Gwede Mantashe and Kgalema Motlanthe, both former mineworkers’ leaders, are worker leaders. Neither is currently active in the unions and Motlanthe is a participant in black economic empowerment deals, making him, at least in part, precisely the sort of person who Vavi was, in March, trying to exclude. If, as seems likely, Cosatu urges its members to vote for Sexwale as national chair of the ANC, its ticket will contain two businessmen (Sexwale and Mathews Phosa) who are far more active in business than the two unionist nominees are in the labour movement!

Cosatu, has, therefore, backed a very different ticket to the one Vavi promised in March. It seems reasonable to assume that it has done this because it knows that, because there is no left majority among dues-paying ANC members, the ticket Vavi seemed to promise then cannot be elected. So Cosatu is going for the ticket it thinks can win — one whose profile is not that different to that of the national executive which Vavi says caused the trouble in the first place.

If the delegates who will vote in Polokwane still do not speak for a left majority, it seems obvious that Cosatu and its allies will have to compromise on more than who is on its ticket — it will have to accept that it can’t get the dramatic shift in policy that Vavi promised either. Cosatu strategists admit as much — they say they realise that the best it can hope for in current circumstances is a partial shift in policy. If further evidence is needed, Zuma’s determined campaign over the past few weeks to woo business provides it.

The photo of the three men is, therefore, a clear illustration that, while the ANC may emerge from Polokwane much changed, one thing that will not change startlingly is policy in general, and economic policy in particular.

As this blog has argued before, that does not mean Polokwane is unimportant — it may play a crucial role in shaping how we are governed. Nor does it mean that economic policy will not change at all — there is a strong sense within the ANC, among the current leadership under Thabo Mbeki as well as the Zuma camp, that the government needs to play a stronger role in the economy to fight poverty and kick-start development. That is why the current leadership has been talking about a “developmental state” for a couple of years. But the changes will be in the detail, not the general direction, because there is no majority for the radical shift that Cosatu and its allies have promised.

All of which raises an obvious question that has been bubbling under the surface — and sometimes above it — in Cosatu, the South African Communist Party and their allies since the presidential race began. If a new ANC leader will not guarantee the policies Cosatu wants, why has its leadership devoted so much effort to ensuring the election of an individual?

Cosatu is free to support whoever it wants for ANC president. It may also be right to assume that Zuma will offer a different leadership style from Mbeki’s, which may ensure that those who differ on economic policy are treated with more respect than they have been during the Mbeki era.

But the campaign to elect Zuma has come at a price to Cosatu — and one cost is that, in its zeal to back its candidate, it has ignored the programme for change which it spelled out in recent policy documents.

While Cosatu is unable to achieve a radical shift in ANC economic policy, it has developed some important proposals for change that would make the ANC more democratic — and, therefore, more open to worker concerns. Many of these changes — more internal democracy, an end to floor-crossing, changes in the electoral system — are winnable, even in an ANC where Cosatu does not have a majority, because they are not only in Cosatu’s interests but they would also help other groups in the ANC. But, rather than steer the ANC in a more democratic direction by winning these changes, it has tended to put all its eggs into the JZ basket.

Whoever wins in Polokwane, Cosatu is sure to find that the changes needed to make the ANC more like the movement Cosatu says it wants will not come automatically. It is likely to move the ANC forward only if it returns to fighting for principles, not simply for a person.

  • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/ebrahimkhalilhassen Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen

    Excellent contribution, Prof. I would add that we must look closely at the policy resolutions as well. I think the ANC will cobble together a concensus view, not an explicit left shift. One little point, I agree COSATU is not strongest in rural areas. But, this is changing slowly as FAWU organises workers in the farming sectors.

  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Careful Doc. Your argument might be misconstrued as an attempt to take the wind out of the, ‘JZ is ill-suited for the presidency of the country because he has cronies to pay back for their loyalty.’

    What’s next? Taking away people’s argument that Mugabe is a madman with NO rational reasons at all for his actions?

    We can’t have that.

  • Native

    I’m not sure what to believe anymore. Before November, most public commentators had been telling us that Zuma’s tainted image would be an obstacle to his ascending to the highest office in the ANC. Personally, I’d rather wait and see what Zuma does. There might be a Black Swan lurking somewhere in the background. Again, there might be none. But my point is that nobody outside of the Zuma camp really knows what will happen. In fact I’d even go as far as saying that not even Zuma and his supporters might know how things will turn out once they get their man in the highest office. Whatever happens, we can only hope for the best.

  • Nick

    Steven, what do you think about the claim that Zuma would have to make pro-Cosatu/SACP changes if he came to power? The idea that he’ll have to dance with the girl that brung him has been repeated in various news stories, but I can’t see how it holds water. If, by 2009, Zuma is installed as the president of the ANC and the country, Cosatu and the SACP would have no more leverage over him than they do over Mbeki at the moment. Or am I missing something?

  • T. Kwetane

    Professor Friedman makes a compelling argument but over – looks some of the promises Zuma has been making in his campaign e.g. free education, faster roll out of ARVs, fighting crime etc. Assuming that there is no wastage, all these promises mean that his government will either have to cut down on other services like free housing or dig deeper to fund his promises. This is not possible without changing the economic policy in a noticeable even fundamental way. What Professor Friedman does not address is what will Zuma/Vavi do when SADTU, POPCRU, etc comes back in January with a 12% salary increase demand. Where will the money come from?

    I therefore agree with Native that “… nobody outside of the Zuma camp really knows what will happen. In fact I’d even go as far as saying that not even Zuma and his supporters might know how things will turn out once they get their man in the highest office. Whatever happens, we can only hope for the best.”

    Hope for the best indeed.

  • negad

    why do most SA citizens who went to universities and colleges struggle to find jobs in this country, but you can have people who do not even have high school earning millions in govenment.

    this sucks bcs it does not seam fair at all, what exactly did this monkey do for the poor people of SA when he was still deputy president that makes people think that he is a mesiah, bcs he also had the power and the tools to do all the shit that he is talking about now.

    stop lying to the poor people of SA by using your platform to your own personal gains. i neither support mbeki nor this zuma bitch, but all i’m asking is: is the ANC telling us that they are only made up of dump people that they can’t even find a leader other than this bitch.

    this ANC monkies forget that the president of SA is not only precident to them, but to all citizens of SA regardless of whether they are ANC members or not, therefore why can’t i reap the fruits of the freedom charter as laid out by the founding farthers of the TRUE ANC (not this shit anc that we see today), tell me why can’nt i say who i prefer to be my precident.

    mbeki needs to go, his time is up and has done a good job and also bullied us enough, zuma is uneducated and since we are not living in the stone age anymore i don’t see a person like him leading a country which so much rely on the state of the economy, how the hell can you help the people you claim to care about if you don’t even understand how the economy works

    And finally, what the hell is ANCYL and ANCWL? i honestly don’t have a clue what they do. and how come does the whole country (+/- 47 000 000 people) have to be told by +/- 4000 people of who should lead the country.

    Note. i’m black, poor and used to love the ANC for what it was before it turned into whatever shit is today.

  • http://owalkeriafrica.com Owen

    ‘Wish and hope’ on the stock market normally ends in tears.

    The Zuma justifications are a paradox between : he was naive and gullible with some shady characters like the Shaiks and yet he is a statesman who can put together a government capable of protecting big business interests.

    I prefer to read the signs and where there is divergence there is normally a major shift.

    If the world is going into recession then our economic growth will falter and Cosatu will lose members to unemployment – then what happens as current ANC policy is based on strong growth for redistribution?

  • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/jontyfisher Jonty Fisher

    Great post Steven

  • Percy

    Hi Prof, I doubt that there will be a shift in Economic policies if the ANC wants to advance the lives of the masses.The problem lies in implementation. Does ZUMA have the basic understanding of the economy and will he be capable to lead people who are more informed than him in government. In the ANC, he can sing MSHINI WAMI and they will join.But in government will he be able to interpret ANC policies eloquently and implement, give direction, monitor avaluate and analyse the current status against set objectives? Will he be able to control the administrative issues if you do not have the background? That is where my worry is?

    They promise us things and not tell us how are they going to achieve that. The ANC should actually look at the interest of the masses and elect a leader who will give policy direction and implement them effectively in government, so they can alleviate poverty and create jobs and so forth..

  • aktshabalala

    Prof,
    This time I think you are praising Cosatu in a very subtle way. I feel it is good that Cosatu or specifically Mr Vavi can change views. This is politics and it is dynamic. I really congratulate them for this view ;nobody is indispensable; even the big business class; but what is fundamental is that after Limpopo everybody shall have changed in terms of giving a bigger ear to the people. I do not think Cosatu , even the SACP want to make such drastic changes. To tell the truth; I think there is nothing wrong with the ANC and its policies as laid down before the revolution and after 1994,but the way things have happened; which I think;less ear to the people. It is the micro not the macro that needs change.

    I would kindly appeal to Negad to tone down on his speech a bit. He might just forget that he is talking to a prof who, may not like his class tainted with vulgar language.

  • Phumlani

    Fascinating that so much emphasis is placed on the individual who leads the party. I think their importance ends or rather should end at them merely being the face of the collective party. I don’t believe that policies should be or are endorsed by a single member even at executive level. It is a collective. As with any “Board of Directors” you may have strong personalities who may bulldoze their views or their arguments are that much more compelling and their logic that much more sound they will win debates and discussions around the table. I agree with the Professor that there can’t be major change in policy if a new leader is elected, current policy is after all ANC policy and not Mbeki policy. There may be a difference in implementation, and I think Zuma’s appeal is the ability to engage at different levels “lower and higher”, which appeals to need in humans to be heard, understood and sympathised with. At the end of the day the ANC president is there to serve the party so COSATU and the SACP’s failure to have an impact in the Alliance is within the lower structures, therefore they can forget about having an influence at presidential level.The president is but a cadre carrying out party policies as agreed by the NEC after many discussions and debates with the branches, members and stakeholders.

  • Kwena Mokgohloa

    Both candidates who are contesting the presidency made it clear that the will be no changes in policies because the policies that will be carried out will be the one from Luthuli house which are the current one and both candidates has been part of the collectives in drafting that. If Zuma is saying he will change ANC policies that will mean all this years he was not doing his job as the deputy president of the movement or he is simply want to buy votes, if Mbeki is saying he will change policies also that suggest that he has been a failure all this years and now he want to change so how can we trust him?
    So is clear from the both sides that policies won’t be changed, however Zuma mentioned two important factors recently about free Education and debate over death penalty, is he trying to buy votes? He has been part of the decisions that ANC took over the years why didn’t he push for that all this year? Why now? Do all the failures of government and ANC lie only on Mbeki’s head? Or it’s entire NEC? We really cannot hold Mbeki on that account but the whole NEC, now we need to look beyond only the presidential race and look at the nomination list of the entire NEC and to my surprise the is no change at all, so Zuma or Mbeki or Dlamini-Zuma for Country’s president nothing is going to change that’s for a fact. Good piece of work Mr. Steven Friedman this is what needs to be debated

  • Native

    Another issue of concern… I’ve listened to Zuma supporters speak, especially the youth league. Listening to these guys speak, one gets a feeling that they don’t realise how powerful business is both globally and locally and how relatively powerless political parties are. Remember when they came with a motion that business should be declared an enemy of the revolution? Sooner or later, Zuma will have to contend with the fact that the country’s policies have to take into account the interests of business.

    I shudder when I think of the consequences of the realisation that Zuma and his supporters are not as powerful as they think they are. In the aftermath of that realisation, there would be two mutually exclusive options: 1) humbly recognise that the country can’t succeed without the involvement of business or 2) arrogantly lash out, just like Mugabe, on the assumption that they can succeed regardless of what business thinks. And as Mugabe has shown us, nothing is as dangerous as an impotent man who mistakes his impotency for virility. Once more, we can only hope that reason will prevail.

  • skizo

    How can we expect someone who couldn’t manage the finances of a simple household to suddenly have the ability to handle the countrys economy?

  • Oupoot

    The plans are already being developed or slowly being implemented for a far greater government role in rural and peri-urban development. Think N2 Wildcoast Toll Road & Wildcoast Titanium Mining. Umzimkulu Water Basin development in Pondoland, which is about R30bn-R60bn by some reports. I will not be surprised if phase 2 & 3 of the Gautrain project is expansion to include southern and western Gauteng (Vereeniging, VanderBijlpark, Soweto, Roodepoort, etc). The forced Savings plan by Treasury to be implemented 2010-2012 is certainly not “free market” idealogy. The list goes on and on.

    The key factor whether or not we will see a change in Govt policy post 2009 is the final make up of the Top6 positions and the NEC. In the end, I believe in both there will be a balance, with maybe a slight advantage to the Zuma camp.

  • Thought Police

    Why is ‘negad’ allowed to call people monkeys on this board? Why is his post, full of ignorance and vitriol considered valid contribution to a decent discussion? He/she/it must be neutered asap.

    thanks Steven for a balanced view.

  • majola

    To all intents and purposes by his lifestyle I do not see what distinguishes Vavi socially and materially from the people in big business, for one whose raisson deittre is poverty. Fine he does his job well aided by circumstances and a “false consciusness” and gets paid handsomely for it. The thing is culturally South Africans have become disciples of materlialism and ain’t nothing one can do about that even Mbeki in spite of pointing it out did not attempt to do anything about it. Look at Zuma himself.

    The tragedy is that empowerment has been equated to enrichment and luxury.

  • poetik

    quite frankly, if you look at it. Zuma is just part of the Class Project, albeit he sings and shakes his fist. nothing will change much. the big boys in business still have power, they just want someone who wont be too intelectual with them as Mbeki often did. Zuma is simple, populist and ‘popular too’, and brainless. fulltop. the comrades in COSATU and SACP leadership do not know what to do if not to follow the man at the helm, Zuma. otherwise they would be crushed by the machine, an irrational machine cobbled up by disparage interests but a winning machine. how that machine would run the country is another question completely

  • thembani mbadlanyana

    Anecdotal evidence indicates that Zuma presidency is a possibility. In this state of affairs, one begins to ask himself a question as to, what will happen to our political institutions post the Limpopo gathering? Are we going to see fundamental changes in our socio-economic milieu? Are we going to see changes on how power is dispersed to the extremities in the political continuum?

    Perhaps, answers to these questions might be prematurely. In fact, I’m singing in the same tune with Native, “Nobody outside of the Zuma camp really knows what will happen. In fact I’d even go as far as saying that not even Zuma and his supporters might know how things will turn out once they get their man in the highest office”.

    However, I’m tempted to believe that, once JZ presidency becomes a reality, our politics will be emblematic of the Nigerian Politics, where prebendal politics (patron-client relations) are the vivid feature of the political discourse. I’m not, by any means, trying to reduce the Limpopo discussion into an ill-informed foresight exercise, premised on half-cooked theories, but if JZ presidency becomes a reality, a need to return some favours will arise. Those patrons who assiduously campaigned for him will need to be rewarded. I’m not sure whether this will be quintessential of quid pro quo (something for something, favour for favour) scenario.

    Vavi`s empty rhetorics are not far from being otiose and quite often he tends to contradicts himself. As pointed out by Prof Friedman, “He insisted that Cosatu would ensure that ANC policy changed radically to reflect the concerns of workers and the poor. Cosatu, he said, would “flood” the ANC with new members to ensure this. And, most importantly for our purposes, the type of person who occupied high ANC office needed to change”. He further said that “ANC national executive committee is not representative because it is made up of middle- and upper-class people “and is dominated by people with business interests”. A question that comes into my mind then is that, why Cosatu endorsed, only two ‘working class’ leaders,Gwede Mantashe and Kgalema Motlanthe? And why Vavi is rubbing shoulders with Sexwale ( someone who is part of the 1996 class project)?

    I agree with Native and T.Kwetane , “Whatever happens, we can only hope for the best.”

    Please Negad don’t allow your emotions to dictate your rational reasoning. Try to draw a balance between the two. Even if you strongly dislike someone don’t label him and call him a bitch. Always remember to play the ball not the player.

  • http://owalkeriafrica.com Owen

    Having had a look at the NEC list, if Mbeki or Zuma loose do they still get a NEC post as their names don’t appear on the NEC lists or did I miss something?

  • Bheka Mkhize

    I would like to thank Negad for his/her important contribution. We are so lucky in SA to have citizens like him/her.

    In a young democracy like ours it is possible to have different opinions and have a dialogue about it. Healthy dialogue is one of the signs for Healthy Democracy. This is one of the spaces for having healthy dialogue.

    But for people like Negad to use this space for using words such as ‘sucks’, ‘monkey’, ‘shit’, ‘bitch’, ‘ANC monkies is quite shocking. It really shows that we still have a long way to go. It is quite sad that most of us are sophisticated and educated (went to university?)enough to use internet but we still lack basic skills such as how to deal with diversity. My parents are illiterate and less sophisticated and are from Nkandla but I have never heard them using derogatory words you have used here. I really hope that you don’t have children!

    Maybe it really shows that as educated and sophisticated as we are we still have a lot to learn from people who are illiterate and less sophisticated. In my line of work I have talked with people who don’t even have standard one, but who show very good leadership qualities. What a shame Negad!!

  • william

    we all know why COSATU and the SACP backed Zuma. These leaders aspire to higher office plus they are peeved off by Mbeki who shut them. Perhaps also if they have participated in lucrative BEE deals then maybe they would have sung a different tune. One can only wonder though I agree however that Mbeki orchestrated his own demise by his outrageous comments, regarding HIV/Aids and conduct (Selebi. Manto etc.)But these punters of the “Zuma Tsunami” cannot seriously believe that Zuma has the skill and ability to effectively run this country. We are only a couple of years into our democracy and same is still in it’s infancy stage. This young democracy needs to be nurtured by a strong, principled, intelligent, ethical and dignified leader. These are all the qualities that Zuma are found wanting for. Zuma makes speeches about free education and he alludes to the reinstatement of the death penalty. How the hell is he going to achieve this? There are no substance to his statements but still the ANC delegates wants him to lead them. Thabo might have been arrogant in the manner in which he ran this country but he was at least dignified in his arrogance and furthermore before I forget, could quote Yeats. I don’t mind Zuma ruling the ANC because that is their choice. But the prospect of him being my President unsettles me.

    Zuma is a plain soap opera, entertaining the masses. He entertains them with his umshinni wam and furthermore thinks he is father Abraham (he alone must populate the earth.) For a man who likes to dance around plus spend time with his harem (and others who is not part of his harem), will he ever have enough time to give attention to the plight of the poor?

    I think that all serious South Africans must band together and bring a class action or interdict against Zuma becoming President of this country. It is total nonsense that only 4000 delegates decide the fate of over 47 million South Africans

  • Phumlani

    On the character of Zuma, he has been analyzed pretty thouroughly I think, I would say that I don’t he is necessarily as foolish as people make him out to be, he would not be in the political position he is in if were that foolish. He has done some astoundingly foolish things, so have a whole host of politicians worldwide, I think the trick is to surround yourself with people that will “take the fall”, “spin doctors”, “spokes people” etc. we know what these people do for the “cause” and that is just part of politics. In his case these layers were taken away when he was removed from government. I think it is not quite accurate though to assume that since he can’t handle his own finances, what will he do to the country’s finances. A presindent has no business handling the country’s finances in any way, that’s what the finance minister is there for and that goes for all the other spheres and departments of government, they have their own ministers etc.

    I think we do need to acknowledge that business needs government as much as goverment needs business, the relationship is mutually beneficial, and its all about money. Governments need to create environments in which businesses (small, medium and large) can thrive, we know thriving businesses means more money for employers in profits, employees in salaries and governments in terms of taxes developments. I don’t know if the likes of Vavi would agree to the insinuation that because they stand for workers rights they must be seen to be at same level moneywise. It would be an interesting debate though, to find out if the goal of polititians today is to truly change lives of poor people or is it to enrich themselves. Why would the Sexwales, the Ramaphosas of this world want to go into politics if it is about the money, they make enough I think.

  • Makhukhu Mampuru

    Another explanation to the picture of the three new allies could be a simplistic regurgitation of the ‘coalition of the wounded’ theory. Zuma’s and Vavi’s issues with Mbeki are legendary. Many have said previously that Tokyo’s (and Mathew Phosa’s, among others) departure from the active politics had to do with Mbeki to start with. Now Andrew Feinstein has inferred that the tension dates back much longer than Tokyo’s actual departure from politics.

    Which takes me back to my submission: Vavi, it seems to me, would rather swim in the sea of class contradictions (which indludes endorsing the capitalist Tokyo) as long as the ultimate result is a Mbeki-less ANC! That would be a sad irony was it not for the reality that confronts our dear movement today.

    Indeed, Polokwane will not yield a radical shift in policy direction. Neither, dare I say, will it yield a radical shift in terms of the ideological inclination of the leadership elected. Which, in the final analysis, places the burden, albeit symbolically, on whoever is elected to the helm of the party: he – for this is a contest between two big me – will have to become president of the whole ANC, and not just the camp that saw him ascend power.

    Failure in that regard will see the ANC reduced to some of the provinces in which the provincial chairperson had been parachuted through the premier’s seat, and yet go on to behave as though they were still leader of one or other cabal.

    If anything good has come out of this Mbeki/Zuma debacle, it is that the ANC’s approach to leadership has now become a public matter as against previous instances when ‘consensus’ was the order of the day.

  • Vikta

    Leadership is all about influence. Whilst i generally agree that main policy will initially remain the same in ANC. It is important to realise that JZ will be able to influence. In as much as different CEOs can influence a particular Board of Dierectors different. In turn that steers the company in differing directions albeit to achieve the same goal… Profits!!! Hence it will be folly to suggest JZ will not have influence. He will be able to influence NEC and Government in a certain direction. That direction we all do not know save JZ himself and his strategists. My prayer is that he understands the interdependecies on issues of the economy, social programs and the globalised market we now find ourselves in.

    Whlst having an Economic degree helps , having a good intutiation and an ability to learn / understading things faster will help.

    As a director of a compay (just like JK in presidency) one does not really need technical ability … However an insight needs to be developed and that is my prayer.

    As far as settling debts … its politics and it happens even in the corporate world so i do not see how this will not happen with JZ. Nothing is for Nothing .

  • negad

    like i said before, i’m part of the poor and to have someone use his platform to exploit be is the same as insulting me.

    all i’m saying is, this guys has been part of all this shit for a long time, and he’s only been fired for two years. so, how come he did not mention all his ideas then bcs that would have helped govenment turn things around.

    only a brainless person whould do something like this bcs he things that everybody in SA is as dumb as him. how the hell is he going to lead people who are more informed than him.

    and pls stop using poor people to get votes bcs being poor is not a game, it takes a lot from a person which is something that a person like zuma wouldn’t know.

    finally, if anybody can help me understand, i still don’t know what the ANCYL’s function is, bcs it seems to me that what they should have been doing is excatly all the things that the deputy precident of SA is doing, so what is it that they do?

  • negad

    sorry about the lanquage, i learnt this from the leaders of the ANC themselves, if they can’t respect each other, then how the hell do they expect anybody to respect them.

  • http://www.uwc.ac.za Lukhanyo Mbande

    I think its time I also take part in this debate. I have been following Zuma’s statements wherever he speaks and I must say I’m impressed and scared. I’m impressed because he has been able to convince everyone he speaks to that he is good and deserve to be elected. he went to the Cape flats where crime and drugs is at a high level and guess what he says, law enforcement agencies are very week and we need to review the death penalty and the crowd went wild with approval. He then goes to POPCRU(remeber he attacked them and said they are weak) and say government does not pay you enough and you can’t be expected to earn these peanuts where you play an important role in society and the police approved by giving him their support. He meets with the left SACP and COSATU regularly and promise them that there will be a major shift to the left in policy with free education and the left is excited and proclaim their support. In the same breadth he goes to business(that is concerned about their investments) who seemed to be anxious about the direction he will take in terms of policy and convince them that nothing will change in how government operates but only the operator and black business now supports him including foreign business. He then go to rural areas where parents are concerned about their kids who seemed to be misbehaving and blame the government for coming with laws that gives children rights and he say that undermines parents, guess what parents are excited and pledge their support. In the same breadth he goes to the youth and tell them they have every right to do whatever they want and that is protected by the constitution. Let me stop there and after I stopped analysing I went to my friends and asked what did we do wrong to deserve this kind of a leader who lacks on principles. I rest my case.

  • http://www.uwc.ac.za Lukhanyo Mbande

    Look Gwede Mantashe put it correctly when he said the Zuma camp is full of angry people and some hardcore capitalist including Zuma himself. you can’t tell me that Blade is a practicing communist because he lives in posh suburbs, have bodyguards to protect him from fellow communists, drives expensive cars and lives a luxurious life and does not think twice about throwing food away where fellow communists are starving, so is Vavi who made us starve for three months as security guards and he continued to collect his fat salary and I’m telling you that his monthly salary can pay about ten security guards per month and you call that person a communist. Kgalema is a business man who is exploiting this BEE fever and can anyone convince me of one person in Zuma camp who is a clear communist.

  • negad

    Quote: “My parents are illiterate and less sophisticated and are from Nkandla but I have never heard them using derogatory words you have used here. I really hope that you don’t have children!”

    first i do have kids and they are all girls. what scares me the most is that my kids will live in a country where even the president would look at them and see “sexual objects” or even rape them if they wear mini skirts.

    my parents are not educated either, that’s why they are not running for presidency!!!!!!!

  • T. Kwetane

    Great comments everyone. I am enjoying your postings.

    We move from the premise that Zuma is going to be our President. But, is this correct? What are the possibilities of someone else being elected the country’s president come Sunday 16 2007 or 2009. What are the possibilities of Mbeki strategically “throwing in the towel” and in turn nominating Ramaphosa for the party presidency? Would this affect the voting patterns? Would for-instance Gauteng, ANCWL and Northern Cape change sides? Would Zuma support in the “Mbeki provinces” dwindle when they are presented with a new candidate?
    It is my submission that the majority of Zuma “supporters” are supporting Zuma out of being educated to hate Mbeki. If Mbeki were to step down they will be robbed of their only reason for supporting Zuma. ANCYL will be robbed of their argument of two centers of power.

    I think Mbeki is running in order to protect Ramaphosa. I believe that in the last minute Mbeki is going to pull out and Ramaphosa is going to be nominated the ANC president.
    This is in the realm of possibilities people, Zuma out, Ramaphosa in!

    What do you think?

    There is still the corruption thing…

  • Bheka Mkhize

    “sorry about the lanquage, i learnt this from the leaders of the ANC themselves, if they can’t respect each other, then how the hell do they expect anybody to respect them.”

    I think you are missing the point here. Using derogatory language is not only about disrespecting ANC leaders, it is also disrespecting readers who happen to read your insults. I’m not comfortable with reading your insults. I see enough of them in public toilets. I’m not sure, may it is a ‘cultural thing’. Secondly, what you are writing is saying something about your moral standard. C’mon Negad you can do better than JZ!! Thirdly, be the change you want to see. We are all leaders one way or another (especially as parents), so it won’t hurt to avoid crude language. Otherwise I respect your decision not to be happy about Zuma’s leadership qualities. I just wish you can show the same level of respect for people who are not ‘sophisticated and educated’ enough to see things your own way. I really hope that I am not too demanding.

  • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/stevenfriedman Steven Friedman

    Thanks to everyone for all these comments. As usual, I will respect your opinions and only respond briefly to specific questions or points.
    To Ebrahim, true, Cosatu is growing slowly in rural areas but I am sure we would agree not enough yet to send many rural delegates to an ANC conference.
    To Nick, I suspect that Cosatu strategists have resigned themselves to trying to win only limited changes from a Zuma presidency. They and the SACP may win some changes but not enough to change the direction of policy. Initially, if Zuma wins, I think there may well be more disagreement on whether to work with Mbeki supporters than on policy.
    That may also answer T Kwetane: I am not saying that there would be no changes if Zuma wins, simply that they will not be radical. And incidentally,it is not certain that expectations will raise sharply if he wins. They might even decrease for a while among his supporters because of excitement at his victory.
    To Native, I think there is always a difference between what people say when they are campaigning and what they do if they win. And I am not sure that Youth Leaguers will play a major role in government if Zuma becomes state president.
    To Owen, Zuma or Mbeki could still be NEC members if they lose the Presidency because nominations can be accepted from the conference floor. Whether either would want to be a member after losing a Presidential election is another matter.
    To T Kwenate again. I also thought for quite a while that Mbeki did not really want to run and would stand aside for someone else – maybe Cyril Ramaphosa but more likely Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. But I also thought that he would only do this if he was sure that they would win. He can’t be sure of that so he will probably run himself. If he were to win, I have no doubt that he would support one of them for ANC Presidential candidate.

  • Kwena Mokgohloa

    Negad you are missing the point, here at thought leader we like you a lot and we appreciate your comments every time, but better people admit when they make mistake, offensive language that you use here is not about disrespecting ANC leaders but us people who interact with you intellectually, Please man don’t be VAVI apologize and life will go on

  • Johan van der Berg

    Steven, I think your analysis, like those of most commentators before the ANC’s nomination process started, is flawed. It cherry picks facts to cobble together a plausible narrative which basically says “don’t worry, it’ll be ok”. The fact is that Mr. Zuma owes too many people too much to make impartial decisions – decisions in the best interests of the country. He’s been given “gifts” in cash to fund his lavish lifestyle, he’s accused of accepting a R500 000-a-month bribe from Thompson, he needed the support of COSATU/SACP/ANCYL to get elected. And he’s still involved with the Shaiks. It’s pretty naive to think that all these people were helping him out of the goodness of their hearts. It just doesn’t work that way. Zuma WILL be bad for South Africa, not because he’s stupid (he’s not), but because he’s unprincipled and tied to elements which won’t be good for the country.
    It’s interesting that exactly half of all South Africans think so too – the TNS Research Surveys results announced yesterday (48% with a +-2% margin of error) of all respondents agreed that a Zume presidency would be “disasterous” for our country. So why is what’s clear to ordinary people so obscure to analysts?

  • Johan van der Berg

    Another thing, after reading these posts… everyone’s making the rather bizarre assumption that Zuma, once elected ANC president, will automatically become president of South Africa. There still is the small matter of the 2009(8?) elections. If Zuma is as unpopular amongst ordinary people as research shows, it’s by no means a sure-thing that he will get elected.

  • Kwena Mokgohloa

    The fear of Zuma becoming a president does not occur because he is the bad leader or what. But whoever votes against him is because of the company that he keeps. I agree with Johan Vander Berg that he owe too many people favors that he will not be biased in his term of office. People surround him are the one who makes everybody scared about his leadership

  • majola

    I am astounded that nobody has seen the ramifications for the incumbent president’s influence on global affairs and domestic affairs of this confidence seeking jaunt by Jacob. What is he trying to tell the world, that the party president is of greater consequence than the national president. Besides who is he to be speaking on behalf of South Africa to investors when Manuel, Mpahlwa or any other authorised and informed government functionaries are there.This is a serious lack of protocol.

    Mr Zuma should have contested the leadership of the ANC, then Mr Mbeki would then introduce him when the time neared for his ascension to the throne to the world and markets. What a disorganised shamus we have seen!

    So in the view of the world Mr Mbeki would be a token president getting instructions from Mr Zuma.

    Another issue is the SABC was right to interview the state president , as only he in terms of propriety or an authorised government official as only government has responsibilty to explain to the citizenry and the international the processes around the succession issue and its impact which he did without slandering anyone. The pro Zuma voting delegates on the other hand cannot cry foul after all unless they are totally illiterate or computer illiterate Mbeki writes the lead article in the newsletter of the party faithful, the voting ones.

    On the other hand the SABC will be turning the state broadcaster into a party tool if it gives equal weight to the party deputy president.

  • Paul Whelan

    Briefly:
    SA is a monocracy; it will behave like a monocracy, not a ‘democracy’.

    What we are witnessing is the often many-sided faction fighting among the ruling elite that has been the mark of monarchies, autocracies, caliphates, oligarchies, juntas, soviets and any other name monocracy has gone by over the centuries all round the world.

    Though they have their moments, real people (as opposed to ‘the people’, for whom all factions in the elite claim to speak) are outgroups in monocracies. Things are done to them or at best for them but not by them. Monarchies allowed them to peer at the kings and princes or be touched by them as they went by as a sort of consolation prize. It worked for centuries.

    Monocrats talk a lot about tradition. Thus all sides in the current in-fighting agree on the need to preserve the ANC’s – how their camp alone can do it, how they will rediscover it, how through the right leader the governing elite will again guarantee ‘unity’.

    In this context, none of our discussions and arguments about change are wasted as long as they do not become a new form of peering at the princes.
    Better to start thinking about the changes real people might want from here and, much harder, what it would take to come by them in the not-too- remote future.

  • negad

    To “Bheka Mkhize”

    would you please just point out to any of my statements and tell me if you think i’m wrong and why, and stop avoiding the facts by reading too much into the use of lanquage.

    i did apologise for that, and i will do it again. “sorry everyone for my foul lanquage”. but what you need to understand is that i shouln’d even feel like this if things were fair in this country.

    apartheid is long gone, but i still feel oppressed since i don’t have the right to nominate my choice. i may not be an ANC member, but i’m still a citizen of SA.

    i also pay tax which ends up paying for the salaries of the people that i did not elect in the first place. SA has plenty of people with degrees and diplomas who can’t find jobs, but you have uneducated people guaranteed of top jobs, surely you can understand my stand point.

    remember, people’s lives is at stake here, that is why you see so much anger towards this guy, its only bcs those who are against him just don’t trust him (including myself)

    finally, if you can tell me what the ANCYL and the ANCWL’s functions are, bcs i really don’t know and since you seem to be more informed about the ANC than any of us here, maybe you might tell me something i don’t know.

  • aktshabalala

    To William,
    You could easily have been one of those 4000 people.

    I think you have learnt yor lesson;join the ANC and be so active and try to influence the situation. Join the DA see where they put their feet in the mouth.

    These 4000 people are a random sample;statistics work like that.

    Do not wonder what has happened, make it happen

  • Johan van der Berg

    Negad, forget about the language issue – a lot of people feel very frustrated. Anyway, this isn’t an forum for toddlers, we’re all adults here.
    To answer some of your questions: the ANC is only electing their party president this weekend, NOT the president of the country. South Africa’s president will be elected during the 2009 elections (which might be held next year if Zuma becomes ANC leader – he’ll want to get rid of Mbeki as soon as he can). So the answer is: if you don’t trust Zuma and don’t want him to become President of South Africa, don’t vote ANC in the next elections, and vote for another party. It’s not good enough to not vote – you have to vote for someone else, or you don’t have a say.
    The ANCYL and ANYWL were created during apartheid to mobilise these two constituencies – the youth and women. Today they really have no role at all. They’re just a way to give more people positions – they don’t fight elections and have no measurable support among South Africans.