ANC at 109: A Muted Anniversary writes Vanessa Banton

It seems apt this year as Covid wreaks its havoc that the ANC’s anniversary celebrations will have to take on a more muted tone. This is unlike in 2012 where supporters in a stadium had to watch as leaders ate cake and drank champagne at centenary celebrations while they looked on.

It was later decided that the cake would be displayed at the stadium, but that it would be eaten in private.

This year, there will be no cake or bubbly. Covid-19 has taken care of that. But as the party turns 109-years-old, it should use the moment to reflect on its current trajectory which has not been a positive one of late.

Allegations of corruption continue to plague the party, with more reports of in-fighting and factional battles.

The ANC has a proud legacy of being the continent’s oldest-liberation movement, but will Covid-19 prove to be the party’s downfall, as it highlights its ever-growing cracks?

In this week’s Friday Briefing, News24’s political editor Qaanitah Hunter highlights that the party appears to have run out of ideas as it deals with its challenges on multiple fronts. News24’s senior political reporter Carien du Plessis asks whether a quieter commemoration of the party’s anniversary will prompt some sober thought about where the party is, compared to where it would like to be.

Also, political analyst Ralph Mathekga seconds the views of Du Plessis and asks the ANC to reflect deeply on the course it is taking and how that reconciles with the broader challenges the country is facing. Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s president, will read the January 8 statement on Friday night.

Hope you have a good weekend.

Vanessa Banton – News24 Opinions Editor

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