Monday, May 11, 2009



By Mondli Makhanya
May 10, 2009

Many of those who lined up before Judge Langa were victims of the regime that was ousted last year

They all lined up before Chief Justice Pius Langa this week. Ten by ten they raised their hands and pledged loyalty to the republic and its constitution and undertook to serve the nation to the best of their ability.

Were it not for the juvenile behaviour of some ruling party MPs, it would have been an extraordinary day in the celebration of our democracy.

Many of those who lined up before Langa were once victims of the regime that was ousted last year.

In the House this week was Tokyo Sexwale, forced out of politics in 1998 by a Thabo Mbeki fresh from the triumph of the 1997 Mafikeng conference where he was elected president.

There was Mathole Motshekga, whose ascension to ANC provincial chairman and then premier of Gauteng Mbeki furiously tried to prevent following Sexwale’s departure from politics. Motshekga defied Mbeki and won. But he served a fraction of a term as premier and was eventually iced.

Unlike Sexwale, Motshekga was exiled to a life of a nonentity. He ended up hogging the airwaves and the conference circuit, preaching obscure philosophies about past civilisations.

This week he returned from the wilderness to the powerful position of party chief whip.

Also present in the House was Ngoako Ramathlodi who, after a decades-long relationship with Mbeki and after having often acted as his gimp, was unceremoniously dumped by his old friend.

Out of work, he did bits and pieces and performed tasks that the organisation had been given by head office. He now returns to the centre of politics to wield power again.

Making a grand entrance as only she can was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, so detested by Mbeki that he once saw fit to assault her on a public platform.

Since her exit from politics in the late 1990s, few know just how she has been earning her not-so-shabby lifestyle.

Whether she gets a ministerial post or not, she will no doubt wield a lot of power.

Elected to the esteemed position of Speaker is Max Sisulu, who, like Mbeki, comes from struggle royalty. He was treated shabbily by the former president in the various positions he held in the public sector.

He now returns from the private sector to bang the gavel and run one of our democracy’s most important institutions.

Sworn in as premier of the Free State this week was Ace Magashule, who despite winning successive ANC elections, was overlooked by Mbeki for the province’s big job. Instead he had to endure the humiliation of living under the rule of Winkie Direko and Beatrice Marshoff.

I could go on and list a train-load of people who were out in the cold during the previous order.

It has to be said that some deserved to be left out, either because they were plain useless or because the entrapping smile of Beelzebub had beckoned them towards corruption and other nefarious acts.

Anyway, the good and the bad victims of the previous order are now in the driving seat of state power.

A caution, though. They need to remember that inasmuch as the struggle against apartheid held the liberation movement together during the dark days, the demise of the system undid that unity.

Comrades who had known each other for three decades and shared hardship, pain and joy were free to turn on each other.

So it could be with the current ANC leadership, whose pre-Polokwane glue was the desire to get rid of our pipe-smoking former philosopher-king and whose post-Polokwane glue was to quash Jacob Zuma’s corruption charges and carry him into the Union Buildings.

Now that these missions are fulfilled, new divisions will emerge. Ideological cleavages will develop. Old rivalries will be resuscitated.

Personal interests and factionalism will come to the fore.

One need only look at the bickering over the premiership decisions and the appointment of provincial governments to see what might lie ahead. The petulant behaviour of party national chairman Baleka Mbete, when it became clear she was not returning to the deputy presidency, is another example.

Over the next year, there will be insurgencies in the provinces and regions as those factions that believe they lost out try to regain their grip on power.

But this is normal. It happens wherever power is at stake.

As much as her behaviour was despicable, Mbete’s gut response was understandable.

The only reason we see it as abnormal is that the ANC puts up a facade of unity and a notion of a cadreship that is immune to the temptations of the modern, open world.

Even though many of the ANC’s documents and its thinkers have acknowledged that the reality of materialism and personal advancement do influence the behaviour of its members and elected public officials, there is a denialism that prevents the organisation from managing it.

The ANC must realise we live in the real world. A world where people have ambitions and desires. Practical management of predictable outcomes will be the answer.


emsa2189 said at May 10 2009 11:32AM

Yes,you're right;there is a Sotho saying that says:"E bona mahe empa leraba hae le bone."[greed tempts and rules no matter the aftermaths.]The ANC's big task is to put a big wedge to block this desease that is greed.

EEJIT said at May 10 2009 2:43PM

If Mr Makhanya is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, it would appear to me this batch of new ruling party MPs in general, have significantly more grassroots support than the outgoing members. This be good news, as a constituency brings with it Accountability.The divisions, ambitions, displays of personal interests, factionalism that he speaks of however, are typical of any political party and not newsworthy nor is the fact that the ANC are putting up a united front. I say give the new okes a chance. We can throw stones when deserved.

Ocasukile said at May 10 2009 6:06PM

You say "Mathole Motsega was hogging the airwaves and the conference circuit, preaching obscure philosophies about past civilisations."

Is this an accurate description of what Matsega was doing or are you also adding your opinions?

In my book when you say Mathole Motshekga was "hogging airwaves" you mean he was taking up time that could de used for something else. What do you base this on?

I also understand "obscure philosophy" to be not much different from "mumbo jumbo", a derogatory epiteth for something we disagree with and despise.I also have heard Motsekga on air . I felt unqualified to comment about the academic standing of what he had to say.

Do you feel you are an expert on what Matsega had to say [Anthropology and traditional religion] and hence qualified to make a judgement or have you become like some of the unintelligetnt bloggers who ridicule anything they do not understand, particularly when in their limited knowledge it is seen to be out of line with western beliefs?