12 June 2019

South Africa: Resignations By Former Ministers Give the Lie to the ANC Credo of 'I Will Serve'

Photo: allafrica.com
Top: Swearing-in ceremony of Members of Parliament. Bottom-left: Jeff Radebe. Bottom-right: Bathabile Dlamini.

If the rising number of resignations by former ministers shows one thing, it's that the governing ANC refrain of 'I will serve wherever I'm deployed' rings hollow. Despite the deployment humility myth, the back benches of the national legislature are eschewed. That must raise questions, particularly as the Zondo Commission is establishing a special task team into how Parliament exercises its constitutional oversight responsibilities.

The organisational culture of the governing ANC frowns, strongly, on individual expressions of ambition or contestation. It's always a case of "if the branches nominate me", or "I will serve wherever I am deployed", regardless of how publicly the often-bruising lobbying and politicking unfolds. The process has to allow open contestation and lobbying in a regulated framework, also discussed at the 2017 Nasrec ANC national conference, in part to banish slate politics, or the election of a pre-determined group of persons for posts.

The mythological will of the branches in directing the ANC prevails. It doesn't matter if that is the branch nominations for party office, such as president and secretary-general, or for ANC election candidate lists.

And so, amid speculation early in May that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma might become deputy president, her widely reported public...

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