The African National Congress now widely regarded as most divided political party in South Africa

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by Yacoob Cassim

The African National Congress is now known to be a party that has lost the respect it had gained in previous years and its illustrious struggle credentials. The ruling party has become the most divided movement which was even more evident at the “State of The Nation Address” in Parliament last week. The president’s decision to deploy the army as security in the National Assembly was certainly going to provoke a hostile reaction. President Jacob Zuma had known the reaction by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julias Malema would be to prevent him delivering the address and called for the removal of military personal.

The President also knows that as he is in charge of running the country and is accountable to the public; his decisions are going to inevitably impact our economy. The matter of what had happened was so bad that even the Democratic Alliance said they were not going to participate in the Debate although their walk out has also been interpreted as a political ploy. The truth about what had happened is that the ANC is now known to be ruined by the presidency of the party.  The incident that occurred on Thursday was possibly the most embarrassing moment in our country’s history.

Police in waiters uniforms dragged out the rioting EFF MPs from the chamber while non-cooperative parties like the Democratic Alliance followed in protest. Meanwhile yesterday Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe defended the “State of The Nation Address” delivered as timely, appropriate and poignant. He had also bemoaned the ensuing events on Thursday night saying “Our Parliament must return to our former glory.”

Radebe had certainly hit upon the truth that last week’s SONA fiasco had left the country in dispute. However he had failed to acknowledge both Zuma’s and the ANC’s failures in tackling the crisis before it began. Zuma had brought this matter on himself from the moment he entered office as President. Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen had stated “That’s why he droned on in that monotone, he put his own benches to sleep, and he made this nation weep.”

“His members slept, because they know, just as the nation knows, that he will never, ever deliver. The nation wept, because they knew that this was just words written on a page written to Luthuli House apparatchiks, going through the motions.”

So if Zuma will never be able to deliver on what he has promised, why is he still President? The future of what happens as regards to Zuma remains to be seen as to his presidency over the last five years. The President is known to be a great manipulator in maintaining that the ANC remains subservient to him.

It is one reason why the ANC has remained a divided party with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlimini Zuma set to go up against one another in an epic duel. How this plays out is certain to determine Zuma’s faith as well as factions within the Ruling Party.

However that priority seems to have ended up in the dust bin as the President and his associates are only interested in enriching themselves and those closest to them such as the Gupta family. However this year is certain to be a very interesting year in politics. In Polokwane there was an incident where the home of an ANC caucas leader was burned to the ground. This is a sign of ANC leaders facing factional divisions among themselves and it remains to be seen how this will play out in terms of its many fragmentations.