Press "Enter" to skip to content

ANC must lose the alliance crutch

The real tragedy in the Limpopo book scandal is how those accountable, both at national and provincial level, have arrogantly refused to take responsibility and resign. This is a classic failure of ethical leadership. The injustice and wanton disregard meted out to these children does not require any person with integrity to be persuaded to do the right thing and resign.

To characterise the crisis as a “shame” is to fudge the issue. It is a matter of criminal neglect.

The question is why was the situation allowed to deteriorate to this level? Why did the parents, school-governing bodies and teachers not raise the alarm bell earlier? The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has raised serious concerns about the poor level and quality of support received from the department of basic education. Workbooks constitute a critical element of such support but they have been silent about the crisis in Limpopo!

Another question is why the ANC showed paralysis on an issue central to its strategy of social transformation, poverty reduction and inequality?

On a basic level it comes down to the political governance and accountability structures we have built into our democratic dispensation. Building a society underpinned by good democratic values and governance takes time and effort.

Political accountability is a critical value entrenched in the Constitution and on a basic level we need to ask whether our electoral system has served us well on this question. Under the current system, the ability of citizens to elect representatives of their choice and hold them accountable is limited. The ruling party must show strength and the political maturity to urgently open the issue of changing the electoral system for discussion.

The ANC has consistently demonstrated that maintaining cordial relations with their alliance partners, including Sadtu, is more important than its responsibility to make difficult decisions and respond speedily and effectively to national challenges.

There’s a sense of relief that the ANC has finally recognised the sad reality that it’s facing a “crisis of credibility” and that decisive action is necessary to “reverse the negative tendencies eroding the political integrity and moral standing of the ANC among our people”.

The biggest obstacle to the ANC’s ability to honestly and decisively face this daunting challenge is the debilitating alliance partnership that handicaps and renders the party ineffective at critical moments — when difficult decisions are needed.

The alliance structure was a brilliant strategy for the single objective of defeating apartheid and replacing it with a democratic dispensation. Now that the ANC is the governing party, the need for strategic and policy flexibility required to deal with multiple national challenges is not possible under the current alliance structure.

The organisational renewal envisaged in the 2012 policy discussion document represents a giant leap of faith, but history does not provide us with confidence that its intentions will be achieved. The alliance partnership will always remain a hindrance to effective decision-making. The ANC must reposition itself as an effective governing party, totally in command of its brand image and policy-making mandate to achieve the vision of its organisational renewal plan.


  • Thabang is a very experienced and leading strategy consultant with more than 20 years of executive management experience. His forte and focus as an organizational strategist concerns helping organisations develop vision aligned strategies and deal with repositioning challenges in changing market environments while maintaining a sustainable and competitive advantage. He is a graduate of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. He has also completed the Harvard Senior Executive Programme.


  1. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 20 July 2012


    The Inner Circle of the ANC, the Top Leadership, has always been Communist since the ANCYL under Mandela, Tambo and Sisulu overrode and sidelined Chief Luthuli at Kliptown.

    You were not allowed to be a member of the NEC (National Executive Council) of the ANC during all the exile years unless you were a member of the Communist Party as well as a member of the ANC (with the exception only of O R Tambo, so as to leave no paper trail to the boss).

    The fact that they were communist leaked out one time and Sweden stopped donating to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. O R Tambo spent 4 years lying to the Swedes that they were not associated to the Communist Party to get the Swedes back as donors. (ref: “White Lies: Canon Collins and the Secret War against Apartheid”)

  2. Lennon Lennon 20 July 2012

    @ Tofolux: You do know that De Lille is an official DA rep since her party folded themselves into the DA, just as the Nats did the ANC. The difference, for example, is that unlike the ANC-run Jozi municipality, Cape Town actually gets its billing right.

    I never said that a COSATU member couldn’t join the ANC – after all COSATU is a group of trade unions and not a political party. Since you say “there is no conflic, thena COSATU member should be able to join the ACDP, Minority Front or the DA. I have to wonder if it would be allowed though.

    Since neither you nor anyone else can give an explanation of why the alliance should still exist, my argument stands.

  3. Lennon Lennon 20 July 2012

    @Tofolux. The difference between the Tea Party and the SACP is that the Tea Party is a group with specific views who are members of the Republican Party. The SACP views itself as an actual standalone political party whereas the Tea Party does not.

  4. Tofolux Tofolux 20 July 2012

    @Lyndall, oh dear dear, I have counselled your alter ego, Sterling about shooting itsel in the foot, giving a slight hint that he/she will have no feet left. But as counselled by someone else, I agree, you need to have the meds checked out. It is a worrying sign that your campaign of misinformation seems to be bordering on insanity. I am not sure if you are able to phone a friend, but am advising that you do so, please for all our sakes. It would certainly help to have a sobre discussion/debate with you but I guess the time has long passed. I wish you well, tho simply because it must take a lot of energy to think about the non-sense.

  5. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 20 July 2012

    @Tofolux, the conference and convention means the same thing regardless how you look at it. The system in SA is setup for each party to to run in the the national election. The party will be given the number of the members in parliament based on the percentage of votes they received in the election. The SACP didn’t field their party in the last election and none of their members should have been appointed to parliament as SACP members. In the case with COSATU this is a labor union and not a political party so their members can be part of any political party they chose. This is why Vavi was right to turn down the job in the ANC because it would have been a conflict of interest.

    You said that the DA party had alliance partners that weren’t members of their party and the party shouldn’t let non members be seated as voting delegates. The party shouldn’t allow padding of the delegates to let one group take over the party.

    You spoke of the Tea Party in the US, the Tea Party has only endorsed candidates and when the parties have their conference, the Tea Party will not be voting delegates. If the Tea Party field candidates and these candidates win, they will be seated in a separate area in congress from the other parties. However, the Tea Party can vote for any bill the other parties submit in congress.

  6. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 20 July 2012

    @Beddy, we should keep our focus on post apartheid and not what people were before they start operating under a legal system. The parties shouldn’t allow the padding of delegates by non members of the parties so one group can take over the parties. In the US the mob was padding the delegates with non union members and took over the leadership of many of the big unions. This is why the US passed laws to force these unions to have elections to try to address this problem.

    What would happened if the DA party form an alliance with a certain faction of the ANC and take over the ANC ?

  7. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 20 July 2012


    The “law” of the ANC has not changed – which answers your question of how the Communists have such a strong position in government when they have never stood for elections.

    And all the oppositions parties, every single one, are Democrats opposed to Communism. They would form alliances for co-elitions but only AFTER a general election – the normal Western Democracy way.

    Which can only happen if over 50 percent of voters vote for parties other than the ANC/Communist Party.

  8. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 20 July 2012

    @Lennon, Tofolux doesn’t understand that politic is a science and this is why it’s taught in many schools. The group that controlled the delegates to the party the way it’s setup in SA and many places in the world, controls the party. This is true for churches, labor unions and any groups. This is why in SA people that are caught stealing in the government never have criminal charges brought them because they are usually delegates to the party. The interest of the people are not important but, keeping the delegates happy is the priority of the president. This is why SA should have primaries and direct election to address some of these problems.

  9. Tofolux Tofolux 20 July 2012

    @Sterling, can I ask you a favor, could you pleas check on your alter ego, if that is working ok? Some amongst us, are seeing some worrying signs and we just wanna check if the engine is running on ok?

  10. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 20 July 2012

    @Tofolux, you don’t have a clue what politic is about and to hide your ignorance, you try to question others sanity. Politic is a science, you should sit back and watch what these people do instead of jumping on their bandwagon. As I said before, the way the system is setup in SA, it is very easy for a small group to take over the party by not casting a ballot.

    In SA today, Blade and Zille are the two smartest people in politic because they understand how this game is played. Lakota is a good man but he should bring professional people in to help him build COPE and not try to do it himself. In many cases, he has failed to make political capital out of many issues and the DA has outflanked him. I think you should read more or maybe, take a course in school on political science.

  11. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 21 July 2012

    @Beddy, what you are saying is padding the delegates to the party conference is perfectly alright?

  12. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 21 July 2012


    If SA whites were racist – why did 70 percent of them vote for De Klerk to hand over power in a referendum because De Klerk told them the COMMUNSIT threat was over?

    Unfortunately De Klerk was wrong!

    In my opinion the reason that the ANC has sealed and “classified” the “apartheid era” records is because they show the whites were fighting the ANC because they were communist, not because they were black!

  13. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 21 July 2012

    @Beddy, democracy came to Brazil almost the same time as SA, after over a hundred years of military rule in that country. The officials are elected by the people and accountable to the people but, in SA nobody is elected and accountable to the people. The children didn’t get their textbooks and nobody is responsible for the textbooks not being delivered.

  14. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 21 July 2012

    @Thabang, this is a very good article and it deals with the problem in SA of the lack of accountability.

  15. Tofolux Tofolux 22 July 2012

    @Sterling, please explain this science of politics to me.

  16. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 22 July 2012


    Does Brazil have a Communist/Black Racist “Entitlement” government?

  17. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 22 July 2012

    @Tofolux, Political Science is the systematic study of political institutions and behavior includes political philosophy,political theory, comparative government, parties and interest groups. For more details, type in political science in key words and click on search. Most people that study political science usually go into law like Obama did after getting his degree.

  18. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 22 July 2012

    @Beddy, the current president of Brazil was one time member of the communist party. She was captured by the military of Brazil, she was gang raped and tortured before being put in prison. Brazil has setup a lot of programs to help people that were historical denied access to the government and the economy.

  19. Tofolux Tofolux 23 July 2012

    @Sterling, thank you for the cut n paste. But here’s the crunch. Am not sure if you know about Amilcar Cabral and his teachings. He simplistically concluded that the thinking on political science is the belief that “‘ it will not cook your rice”. This fundamental principle, simple in character explains this notion of political science. It must be remembered Sterling, that imported knowledge is not a ”one-size-fits-all”. And although the ”studies” are there, who says it works? If it did, as per your explanations, we would have perfect govts because of this science, and yet on the contrary, even your mother countries are suffering. Amilcar and many other revolutionaries are correct when they theorised about change. They recognised, the history of conflcts (which by the way differed from region to region) and acknowledged the internal and external circumstances of those who struggled against imperialism, colonialism and other struggles. The motive forces in these struggles differed and when approaching the revolution the strategy and tactics had to theorised intensively without relying on scientific experimentation. Hence I do not accept that what we have in our govt today, is at all scientific. We have a liberation movement as the ruling party and in there, Sterling your science is null and void.

  20. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 23 July 2012


    The question was are they STILL communist? After all neither Russia nor China are?

    And do they have Black Racism in the form of AA/BEE policies?

  21. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 23 July 2012

    @Tofolux, I didn’t cut N paste what I tried to do is give you a summary of what political Science means. You tried to use Cabral to say that political science will not cook my rice. Cabral also went to Cuba in 1966 and said that Cuba was the future. About two months ago Castro made an announcement that Cuba was a total economic failure and nobody should copy it.

    The study of political science doesn’t mean that these scientists run the country when studying the political system of a country. It means just what it says study the political system of the country.

    You spoke of imported knowledge but, you failed to state where would SA be without imported knowledge. Ninety percent of the modern things in SA come from abroad and not created in SA.

    How can you say the study of political science is null and void when you don’t have a clue what this study means. This is like saying the study of physic violates my religion so it should be null and void. I hope people like you don’t come to power in SA because this country will become prehistoric.

  22. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 23 July 2012

    @Beddy,Communists is a dead thinking and only in SA the people ride around in luxury cars calling each others comrades. About two months ago Castro gave a speech and said that the communist system was a failure and for the developing countries not to copy it. He also told the YL members to go out start businesses, to create wealth for themselves and Cuba, because the government couldn’t take care of them.

  23. Tofolux Tofolux 24 July 2012

    @Sterling, it is a Western construct to claim that Cuba was a ”total economic failure”. Suggest you try and watch a documentary called Peak Oil, for some home truths.
    Also, let me remind you of your statement ie “Politic is a science”. I asked you to qualify that statement and you couldnt. You did however come back to me with a meaning and you yourself indicated the link to that ”meaning” which you admit you googled. Now Sterling, I have attributed Cabral’s statement correctly, simply because he attached that simple meaning to political science. Now it is incorrect, to change historical factual information. Why, because facts and history stands the test of times and the truth will always prevail. Can I ask you simply, to debate in an honest manner, at the very least? Its a simple request, because to debate with someone who wants to ”catch” you out as if I am some scientific machine that can be remote controlled, eg the Gogo’s followers, will not happen. It is unnecessary to be dishonest.

  24. Lennon Lennon 24 July 2012

    @ Sterling: Funny how that little announcement didn’t feature here. An inconvenient truth, perhaps? ;)

  25. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 24 July 2012

    @Lennon, Cuba is ninety miles from the US and it makes sense to trade with the richest country in the world and have good relationship. Castro has admitted that his economic policies were a total failure and for the developing world not to copy it. Only in SA the hard core left wingers keep praising the Castro’s system in Cuba and Castro is saying the system is a failure. Cuba also has a racial problem and many blacks were put in jail for protesting racism in Cuba. The Dr. Ferrer was just releases from prison and he was the leader of the civil right movement in that country.
    Zuma went to Cuba to accept an award from Castro and should have used this opportunity to speak out about racism in Cuba with Castro.

Leave a Reply