Former Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, who is a known critic of the Jacob Zuma administration, said the South African President was not the only one to blame for the series of crises that the country had encountered during the past two terms in office.
South Africa is enveloped in an economic cloud at the moment. Growth remains stagnant, unemployment remains high and poverty continues to spread. However, the one aspect that has ruined the Zuma Presidency is the small matter of clean governance or the lack thereof.
While the buck traditionally stops with the Head of State, Manuel said he was convinced others had been directly involved in or had spearheaded the crisis development facing the country.
“I wish that I could attribute all of this destruction to the person of the President, but he doesn’t act alone. And in fact, mainly gets others to act on his behalf,” Manuel told guests at the Eric Molobi Memorial Lecture this week.
The ANC is preparing for its 54th National Conference this year and the potential for the party to self-destruct has come under the spotlight. There are already allegations of mass manipulation ahead of the conference, which Manuel pointed out as being a glaring example of just how significant the rot in the governing party was.
That kind of rot cannot be attributed to one man alone.
“My hunch is that there are prospects of fresh manipulation of numbers…and if this is so, the likelihood of the conference collapsing into a heap at the point of credential stage on days one and two are actually incredibly high,” added Manuel, suggesting that the end was nigh for the ANC.
Among the greatest problems facing the ANC ahead of this year’s conference are the challenges on the legitimacy of the PEC’s in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces. That alone threatens to collapse the conference. He, like many, predicts the ANC will be plunged into total chaos this December.
“If the conference does proceed, the same awful situation will play out – big strong slates with much higher stakes,” said Manuel.
“We need an ANC that wishes a leadership change for the better; we need an ANC that will place a premium on ethics and hold its leadership to account; we need an ANC that will recognise that it has lost its way; moreover we need an ANC that is capable of developing and articulating a vision for the future for all South Africans as directed by its own and the South African Constitution.”