Tuesday 18 May 2021
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Liberation movements and the ‘entitlement syndrome’

The political bickering within the African National Congress(ANC) reflects the general state of affairs within most liberation movements in southern Africa and is a mirror-image of the entitlement syndrome such movements possess when it comes to handling State affairs and resources, South African political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki says.
He posits that the mind-set of liberation movements is often focused on the party as the liberators of their countries, which is powerful because it creates a sense of entitlement.
“Most importantly, it creates a sense that liberation movements are above the constitution. They might not say so, but that is their mindset. Hence the democracy that is prescribed in the constitutions is not in the hearts of liberation movements. They instead turn into cliques and start to view democracy as controlling the state and government revenue whilst helping themselves to it. Therefore, younger people who are more committed to democracy find it very hard to support liberation movements,” he said during an exclusive interview this publication this week.

“This (liberation movement mindset) is a Southern African problem which partly accounts for low investment in the region as well. If you have no rule of law, you will not have investment and where you have no investment, you do not have modernisation. Instead you have high unemployment, inequality levels and so on” he said.
Mbeki also indicated that blaming and accusing Jacob Zuma of opening the corruption flood gates in South Africa, is merely intended to make him a scapegoat.
Mbeki is the brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was unceremoniously pushed to vacate the president by Zuma.
Mbeki gave a synopsis of what is happening in South Africa during a telephonic interview with The Patriot this week. “In my view what is happening right now is a symptom of the failure of the ANC to change the social and economic fundamentals in the country. Hence the ANC is now fighting amongst themselves and they are blaming each”.

According to Mbeki, it was the 2016 local government elections that triggered the infighting within the ANC after it only secured the electorate in Durban and East London only whilst other metropolitan cities such as Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria fell into the hands of the opposition parties.  Hence this massive loss was a wakeup call for the ANC that a big part of the South African population was abandoning them, he asserted.
“These metropolitan cities have about 40% of the voters. So, for the ANC to lose the vote of the metropolitan on this massive scale has been a huge shock. The second largest electorate, which is also about 40% is in the rural areas and the ANC still has a strong vote there but it is not clear that whether that is enough to carry the ANC to victory in the 2019 elections. This was the trigger, so the leadership started looking for a scapegoat to account for the loss of the metropolitan electorate and President Zuma was found fitting. Mbeki emphasised that, the reality is that the ANC has been party to opening the corruption flood gates.  He narrates how at the 2007 congress in Polokwane- where Thabo Mbeki as defeated by Jacob Zuma- the ANC passed a very critical resolution to dissolve a successful anti-corruption police unit called the Scorpions.

“That was a clear message that the floodgates to corruption were now open and that an important follow up to that, was the looting of the State-Owned Enterprises (parastatals).
Four years ago, a new Minister of Public Enterprise was appointed, his name is Malusi Gigaba and he is now Finance Minister. What Malusi did was to change the boards of the parastatals to facilitate the looting and the corruption that was described in a report by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela called the ‘State of Capture’. This was done by the ANC, not just Zuma alone. Those are the fundamentals of the problem and they want him to leave because they do not want to impeach him in parliament because then all these things will become public,” he opined.

Mbeki believes that Zuma, who has since resigned as president, is under immense pressure after the party recalled him and the recent arrest of one of the Gupta brothers is a message aimed to pressure his resignation as well.
“I personally think President Zuma is faced with a difficult decision. There is an element of intimidation that is being put in front of him, but he has a military mindset consequent of the liberation struggle. So, will he accept to be intimidated? I don’t know. I would have thought he would find it difficult, his pride will find it difficult for him to accept being intimidated by essentially people who were never involved in the arms struggle like Cyril Ramaphosa and so on. It is already a big humiliation for him, so haow he responds to it I don’t know. But I think those are the dynamics of the situation” stressed Mbeki.

Asked about possible economic implications of the ANC recall of the Zuma, Mbeki shared that the business community supports Cyril Ramaphosa, a position that is likely to reflect positively on financial markets by strengthening of the rand. However, he cautioned, it fails to affect the fundamentals of the economy as adopted from the apartheid era, which largely remains unchanged.

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