Zohra Teke: Hamba Kahle ANC

Zohra Teke is an investigative journalist and independent contributor. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Zohra Teke is an investigative journalist and independent contributor. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Published May 27, 2024


As we stand on the cusp of a historic election, we bear witness to a new chapter of our democracy, and there's no going back.

It's a bitter-sweet moment, if the predictions prove correct. The ANC, for the first time in its history, stands to lose its majority. The once majestic liberation movement with founding leaders who inspired the world, will be part of a coalition government.

The memory of Madiba and the rainbow nation will forever be etched in history. But the vote for Madiba era is now a distant memory. One for the history books on politics.

The writing was on the wall for some time. And that's the tragedy. The ANC could have saved this country and itself. It could have, should have and now its too late.

The party allowed itself to be devoured by greed, self cannibalism, much like the rat snake which eats itself. A cycle of self destruction.

But let's not lose sight of the successes of the ANC - despite its failings as it emptied the feeding trough.

We cannot dismiss some of its notable successes which put South Africa on the world map for achievements other than Madiba.

I am a product of one of the ANC success stories, having been part of the first cohorts of black journalists in the SABC shortly after the fall of apartheid.

It was an amazing time, and I was thrilled to share this with my mentor and editor at the SABC at the time - the late Zwelakhe Sisulu, son of the late iconic ANC leader Walter Sisulu and wife Albertina Sisulu.

Zwelakhe shaped us politically having also been my editor previously at the then New Nation Newspapers too.

How exiled ANC leaders visited him under disguise to avoid arrest is a story for another day.

The ANC in the aftermath of 94 elections was spectacular- full of hope, energy and sincerity.

Yes, sincerity!

The rainbow nation era was a time of celebration, hope for the future, and for millions, it symbolised an end to poverty.

And for a while, even to this day, there's been some achievement in this. Not a brilliant story to tell, but the ANC certainly has some good stories to tell.

But then, access to money - lots of it, transformed the ANC we once loved.

The Madiba ANC which the world knew. The Madiba ANC we felt obliged to vote for.

Did the years of anti-apartheid struggle give those in the party a sense of entitlement?

Did the 'I did not join the struggle to be poor' sentiment be taken too literally?

How else can we make sense of how ANC politicians began to be sucked in by power, money, influence and with that, a lavish lifestyle which turned them into the ruling elite. The petite bourgeois were now the bourgeois.

The rest is history. It's like flying business class. Once you do, you never want to fly economy again.

It's a poignant moment of reflection at the ANC's impending loss at the polls on Wednesday.

As a South African Muslim, I'm also aware that the Palestinian case at the ICJ would not have been possible had it not been for the ANC - a historic, landmark position in the world.

It is the ANC government which took this bold step no other country dared to pursue.

As the world watched with incredulous amazement we boldly took Israel on.

It took courage and shook Israel to the core. The irony is hard to ignore. During apartheid Israel was a key partner to South Africa, supplying it with arms to use against those fighting against apartheid.

In exchange South Africa supplied Israel with uranium and other chemicals.

Israel also offered to supply apartheid South Africa with nuclear warheads. And here we are today, South Africa taking on Israel in the International Court of Justice.

It's also the ANC government which has played a pivotal role in ensuring the HIV-AIDS epidemic ends by 2030- thanks to

the roll out of free antiretrovirals therapy (ART) which began in 2004. That bold step has massively reversed the trajectory of HIV-AIDS and will go down as the most significant health outcome in the ANC's history of governance.

Given all this, its a sad indictment on the party to have fallen from grace. Its legacy confined to the past as a liberation movement. Its failures and corruption now its new legacy. The new dawn now a sunset never to rise again. They had it all. They failed us. They failed Madiba. They failed South Africa.

Its new future role as a coalition partner in government will be an interesting one.

It's impossible until its done, and this election will be proof of that.

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL or Independent Media.

IOL Opinion