Dumisani Hlophe said that the African National Congress (ANC) failed to play smart political game after it assumed power in 1994. Talking at the Sowetan Dialogue that took place in Pretoria, Hlophe said that apartheid system (which the ANC found in government) has swallowed the ruling party.
“I don’t think the liberation forces led by the ANC have played the political game better post-1994. I am not convinced that walking into government structures they retained their urgency of being liberators‚” he said.
“You walk in as a liberator and suddenly you want two BMW X5s before you can build the bridge. Most liberation heroes post-1994 got swallowed into the values of the existing system rather than continuing to be the agents of transformation.”
The dialogues discussed whether the ANC’s substantial decline of support in the August 3 local government polls was an indicator that the party will lose power in the 2019 general elections.
The three panelists who led the dialogues – Hlophe‚ Ebrahim Fakir and Kealeboga Maphunye – agreed that the ANC could retain its power despite the loss of support in the recent elections.
Fakir argued that the call for the state to take over land without compensation would not change the economic problems facing South Africa. He warned that giving more power to a government which was inefficient was not a solution.
“You have a president who took for himself R248-million. You give the same kleptocratic class a greater amount of power over control over resources in the economy and society‚ what will they do?” Fakir asked.
“Do not think that symptomatic changes are suddenly going to change the trajectory of the nature of colonial-inherited economy. Only transformation can do that…”said Fakir.
He added that both government and private sector were driven by selfishness.
“Selfishness and stinginess is the problem we face today in two classes – the leaders of the private sector and the political elite. These are people who are stingy and selfish who are supposed to be punished. I am glad that the voters punished the one class this time. It is now the private sector’s turn to be punished.”
The ANC experienced a decline in support in the local government elections.
Support fell from 61.95% in 2011 to 53.91%‚ while that the main opposition‚ the Democratic Alliance‚ rose from 23.94% to 26.9%. The ruling party also lost key metros like Johannesburg‚ Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.