JOHANNESBURG – With just over a month left before South Africans go to the polls, African National Congress (ANC) veterans say that the party is in a difficult state.
The ANC is one of about 48 political parties contesting the 8 May elections, but unlike the rest, it has had an opportunity to govern the country.
Party veterans said that it is this record that has seen the ANC plunge into trouble as factionalism triumphed at the expense of the people.
There may have been a time in South African history when ANC leaders waltzed into election campaigns with the full knowledge that the party would secure a victory.
But that time has passed, as former president and senior ANC member Kgalema Motlanthe explained.
“I think the ANC is in that space now where it understands that this is going to be a very difficult election and therefore the leadership feels that it should go into these elections presenting unity, but I am definitely confident that post the elections when they do an appraisal of how they performed, they would try and ensure that there are no holy cows.”
The party, that despite its weaknesses still considers itself a leader of society, has fallen short of its own values according to Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association leader Kebby Maphatsoe.
“We have always put the people first, but that thing has changed now, it’s no longer about the people first. It’s us first and then the people,” he said.
Seen as one of former President Jacob Zuma’s avid supporters for years, Maphatsoe is now calling for introspection of the ANC and its members, saying that it is the only way the party could reclaim its former glory.
The consensus among high ranking ANC members appears to be that while the party has appeared as united in the build-up to the elections, its problems run deeper, with no guarantee the future will be any different