‘Frightening and dangerous…’ A new book by an ANC veteran says some ministers are clueless about the economy


‘Frightening and dangerous…’ A new book by an ANC veteran says some ministers are clueless about the economy

Gershwin Wanneburg | 2017-03-26 12:48:25.0

ANC veteran Khulu Mbatha’s new book titled Unmasked: Why the ANC Failed to Govern.

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The ANC is suffering from poor leadership and a failure to move with the times.

That’s the verdict of ANC veteran Khulu Mbatha in a new book titled Unmasked: Why the ANC Failed to Govern.

Mbatha is one of 101 ANC veterans who recently called for a consultative conference to deal with the crises besetting the party. He also served as special adviser to former president and deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

His book delivers a brutal assessment of the party’s shortcomings‚ arguing that the ANC’s troubles are far from new. It was never really ready to rule in 1994.

Since then‚ the ANC’s undoing has to a large extent stemmed from its failure to address the country’s economic challenges. Mbatha says that a series of economic strategies‚ including the most recent National Development Plan‚ have left some ministers’ heads spinning.

“There are ministers serving today who have no idea as to what policies are being implemented. They simply do not understand which direction we are going in and how this economy can ever perform‚” Mbatha writes.

“This is very serious for a country that boasts of having a National Development Plan. In the face of alarming levels of poverty‚ unemployment and inequality it is frightening and dangerous.”

The book‚ with a foreword by fellow ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada‚ tracks the ANC from its years in exile through to the negotiations that lead to the country’s first democratic elections.

Mbatha paints a picture of a movement fragmented by its years of banishment and shaken by the military onslaught of the apartheid regime. But for the stellar leadership of the likes of former ANC leaders Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela‚ who are frequently quoted in Unmasked.

“This is about political leadership. The lack of a visionary leadership hinders the second and necessary transition. If there is no leadership‚ nothing will influence the economy to grow.”

Mbatha concludes that the ANC has not come to terms with its status as a ruling party‚ but wrong-headedly insists on defining itself as a liberation movement.

The Tripartite Alliance is referred to as one of the “impediments to nation building”.

The alliance‚ made up of the ANC‚ the SA Communist Party and trade union federation Cosatu‚ served a purpose during the struggle days but is no longer relevant‚ he suggests.

Terms like the oft cited “national democratic revolution” are some of the obvious signs that the ANC is living in the past‚ Mbatha writes.

“It’s not that South Africa doesn’t have experts or that our economic problems are insurmountable. There are solutions out there‚” he proffers.

“But the ANC has not only alienated itself from the people‚ it has also alienated itself from the reality that surrounds it.”

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