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ANC soon disintegrating: analyst

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Newly appointed African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu over the weakened raised eyebrows when he called on the ANC executive leadership to step down. Mthembu reportedly told the City Press newspaper that the governing party’s current leadership is worse than its Apartheid predecessors. He further slammed the use of state organs to settle what he described as ‘political scores’ with Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, who is currently facing fraud charges.

Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, political analyst, professor Andre Duvenhage explains that in light of Mthembu’s very “drastic statements”, internal division within the party should be expected to reveal itself.  He says the comments also reveal the lack of credibility in the charges against Gordhan.

“It is clear that to connect [president] Jacob Zuma to Apartheid, indicates that this is worse than apartheid – that is a devastating comment,” Duvenhage stated.

Given the exposure of internal disunity within the ANC that is expected to reveal itself, Duvenhage asserts that the governing party will disintegrate towards the end of 2017, following the 54th National Conference of the ANC, in which the party’s new president is scheduled to be elected.

He says that if the conference is not managed accordingly, it could signal the end of the ANC’s leading role within national politics that the party currently enjoys.

Duvenhage further notes that the comments are directly linked to internal corruption, including the corruption charges levelled against president Zuma.

“Last year we had Nkandla and the spy tapes, referring to 788 corruption and other related charges against the president, [and] we know about the state capture report. So, all of this is reflecting very negatively on the ANC and on the Zuma government.”

Citing the charges against Gordhan, he says that the embattled finance minister is seen as an individual who is fighting corruption and has, therefore, attracted the support of both Mthembu and vice-president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The trail of criticism against the presidency, Duvenhage attests is a result of the 2016 local elections, which saw the ANC sharply lose vital metro’s to the democratic alliance.  He says that ANC members began questioning the structures within the presidency, critically questioning the role of Zuma in influencing voter confidence in the party.

“If you would like to deal with a matter within the ANC, you work from the grassroots level, especially if the problem is among the elites. The only strategy that party-critics can use is mobilising at grassroots level.”

While he notes that he is unsure about Mthembu’s motive for making the comments, he says that the comments may be followed by a motion of no-confidence in the president, where the decision of those in the upper echelons of the ANC will be closely monitored.  VOC

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