Events over the last couple of weeks, even by South African standards, have been remarkable. First, the Constitutional Court vindicated the faith many have in the rule of law when it committed former president Jacob Zuma to prison. His processing at the Estcourt Correctional Facility in KwaZulu-Natal signalled a scarce victory for the rule of law – only to be dashed by the subsequent violence fanned by his supporters and executed by a combination of thieves, thugs and the desperate poor.
Analysis on exactly what happened is still being done. But whether it was part of a planned coup, whether it was an insurrection or spontaneous, it is clear that the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa is not able to fulfil some of the basic contractual obligations the state holds towards its citizenry.
The violence showed that the state, which holds citizens’ collective power in trust for the greater and collective good, is close to being paralysed by inaction and poor decision-making. The absence of police during the televised anarchy is emblematic of this. Add a spluttering economy where the state is the single biggest hindrance to progress, and failing local governments, and it is indisputable that the ANC should have no claim to be the governing party.
Ramaphosa’s government is charged with executing the mandate of the ANC, given its electoral victory in 2019. But this should happen in accordance with the Constitution and in the national interest. The party of Nelson Mandela has however clearly shown that it cannot – and it will not – put the interests of growth, safety and delivery at the centre of governance. The cold, hard facts bear it out.
For many it might be sacrilege to say the end of the ANC is nigh. But objective facts show if it isn’t already done for, the end is coming inexorably closer.
Pieter du Toit – News24 Assistant Editor