FIXING OUR DEMOCRACY: 5 DAYS… 5 WAYS
Join the debate – also read:
At the Crossroads – but democratic tools remain strong – Wesley Seale
Democracy: it’s the right thing to do – Chris Mbekela
Activism the backbone: Here’s how to do it well – Lindelwa Nxele
Make your councillor count: a partnership of equals – Lungile Penxa
The glass half full: the means are in your hands – Anne Loeffler
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By CHRIS MBEKELA
When the centre can no longer hold, things fall apart. Confusion and dictatorial perspectives occupy centre stage, opportunists take advantage of the situation and reality is distorted. After the centre has dissipated, a quasi-political monarchy is established within the organisational framework.
Entities created to advance a people-centred agenda have been transformed into instruments to foster and defend obscene misdoings. The ground has been prepared to usher in the organisational rupture meant to domesticate the organisation to pursue the interests of family and close associates with less resistance.
Certain individuals, when they were in exile, followed the trends in some African states on how to siphon state resources. The Mandela presidency was seen by certain figures as a stumbling block to accessing state resources for their personal gains. Proximity to state resources was perceived as a lucrative untapped business venture. The dismantling of Mbeki, was informed by, among other things, the lust for state resources.
Political coup d’ etat
The first (Mbeki) political coup d’ etat in a democratic South Africa requires in-depth research. The manner in which it was executed gives the impression that forces outside our national boundaries were involved, and current developments strengthen this belief.
The Polokwane conference marked the escalation of processes that led to a bloodless coup d’ etat, along with the launch of the state capture project.
Polokwane was used by various forces as a retaliatory platform against Mbeki – but it was a mission well executed by individuals trained in different fields. Those who feel ashamed for having been used as proxies in a war not conceptualised by them have told the nation they were used as foot soldiers. Julius Malema’s predicament is understandable; he was young, a raw diamond and an inexperienced up and coming leader at that time. His participation in the coup de tat should be understood within this context.
A climate conducive to organisational rupture was systemically created to ensure that its advent is unhindered. The first step was to capture the mainstream organisation through the purging, displacement and isolation of the “clever blacks”.
The second step was to juniorise structures in all spheres (local, provincial and national). Juniorisation should not be linked to age: rather, it’s about to the state of unreadiness of a person to assume high-impact leadership responsibilities.
The third step was to juniorise all spheres of government to ensure there would be no resistance to dubious instructions.
In this context, the quasi political monarchy does as it wishes. Those undeservedly deployed in strategic areas of influence will do whatever they’re told. This style of operation is short-lived and has serious ramifications.
For example, before Mr Xasa’s tenure, one MEC with his HOD in the Eastern Capeplayed a key role in destabilising the municipalities to advance an undesirable agenda. He even commissioned unlawful investigations with no merit, or ethical and legal standing, in order to disburse funds to proxy platforms. The purpose was to drag the names of incorruptible individuals (corruption busters) into the mud. The threat to the lives of those individuals was confirmed by intelligence structures. Evidence to that effect is in place.
The secondment of provincial officials to municipalities is meant to protect the interests of individuals. The statutory responsibility of municipalities to appoint senior managers has been taken away by external non-statutory political structures. Council meetings rubber-stamp a list of candidates for appointment that has been processed by outsiders. Of concern is the distribution of the CVs of applicants (confidential information which may compromise the good standing of applicants) to non-statutory structures to determine who must be short-listed and appointed.
One is wasting his/her time to engage mayors, senior officials, chief whips and councillors on matters affecting the interests of peopleship: decisions are made outside and cascaded. For as long, the political situation is not fixed at the top; the conundrum is here to stay. The apex structure has the responsibility to set the tone. The author of this column verifies facts before reducing them in writing.
Legislators carrying the constitutional mandate embracing the diverse interests of the peopleship are instructed to protect the interests of dubiously naturalised individuals. This is the highest form of betrayal. When the centre is no more, actions of this nature should be expected.
Conspiracy theory prevails, the after-effects of many years of indoctrination. Understand, many people were trained to master the theory of propaganda. It was relevant at a particular time to exaggerate one’s strength and strategic capabilities in order to deceive the enemy. Disposing of the propaganda mentality would require a mental house-cleaning exercise.
Compounding the situation was the bipolar ideological framework dominating the international arena, with protagonists competing for hegemony. Ideological power dynamics within the system influenced the perspectives of social actors located in different contexts. These power dynamics were characterised by different forms of propaganda, ideological correctness and absolutism.
Ideological correctness and absolutism impacted negatively on critical inquiry, contributing to political and ideological dogma. It also contributed to people being programmed to think in a particular manner within a specific space.
Questioning a manipulated theoretical process informed by dogma was risky, because the inquiry could be perceived as a deviation from the decision-making ideological framework, i.e. (democratic centralism). The position taken on the vote of no confidence against the President is largely informed by this orthodoxy – which is fundamentally inconsistent with the South African democratic project. Issues of national importance, the very livelihood of the populace, have taken a back seat, as have matters of principle and the values and merits of the case.
There has always been a contestation between conservative traditionalists and the progressive mindset. Moral questions, political dynamism, constitutional democracy and ethics are perceived by traditionalists as un-African. Crude interpretation of theoretical frameworks stifled creative and innovative thinking inside and outside party political dogma.
I’m convinced the political landscape has changed and it is only the people who must shape their destiny. Do we have political parties with the ability to unite the nation? Do we have political parties with the ability to reverse the frontiers of colonialism and apartheid?
The call for the dissolution of parliament by the DA could be interpreted as an attempt to subvert constitutional democratic processes. Let’s allow democracy to take its course, and recognise the fact that the ANC was elected to power by the majority of the electorates through electoral processes.
Maybe that call for the dissolution of Parliament is used as a tactic to annoy the ANC. 2018 is going to be an interesting year as we see the convergence of political interests across the spectrum.
- Christian Mxoliswa Mbekela is a strategic work consultant specialising in HR, EE and risk management. A former SAYCO NEC member, he was part of the team that re-established the ANC Youth League. He is currently doing a PhD in the Sociology Department at Rhodes University. www.cmmmindpower.co.za