FIKILE-NTSIKELELO MOYA: No better time for ANC govt to take leave of absence
If the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was not, in effect, an extension one of the warring factions of the African National Congress (ANC), it would have called for the entire ANC government to "take a leave of absence". What we have here is beyond just the head of state.
It has become plain to see to everyone that we have a governing party at war, with the factions in a fight to the death and have stopped pretending otherwise.
This cannot be good for the country. The instability within the ANC is devastating for a country whose economy is in the intensive care unit.
Even if we do not care who emerges as a winner of this internal battle, we must remember that the ANC is not say, the PAC, which also has unending internal feuds. The ANC is a governing party nationally and in eight of the nine province.
We have already seen it happen with debates around the South African Reserve Bank and it is only a matter of time before the civil war inside the ANC translates in the inability of the state arms, particularly where the party has deployed, to stop functioning optimally.
It is critical to point out here that, this is not questioning the ANC’s legitimacy to govern. The people of South Africa have spoken and nearly six of every ten voters said they want the ANC to govern for the next five years.
They said so on the basis of several ANC promises, including that it will deploy Cyril Ramaphosa as president if it got the mandate to lead government.
Yet, listening to what a significant number of ANC activists have said - it is hard to say whether this is many or most - President Ramaphosa has diverted from the party mandate. What is more, they say he is ethically compromised and of poor judgement, as represented by his decision to appoint and keep Pravin Gordhan in his Cabinet.
This column does not intend to discuss the soundness or truthfulness of these claims. It does not matter whether one believes or supports the Ramaphosa faction or the Ace Magashule bloc.
Either way, you have a governing party that is so focused on intra-party dynamics that the country cannot but suffer. They might as well outsource the country to another party while they fight it out between themselves.
The ANC simply cannot have it both ways. If it prefers to obliterate itself, let it. But they have no right to take the country down with them when they do.
Of course, no party in history ever gave power away and it is nigh impossible to think how the ANC would do that. Still, if there is a way for an entire government taking a “leave of absence” there could be no better time than now for both party and state.
Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is an independent journalist and former editor of The Mercury and The Witness.