Raymond Suttner: 'The ANC-SACP-COSATU alliance has sold its soul'

Raymond Suttner.

By Raymond Suttner

September 27, 2013 -- Weekly Mail & Guardian (South Africa) -- For some time political commentators have been proved wrong when predicting the collapse of the tripartite alliance (made up of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions) and suggesting that splits in these organisations could lead to the formation of a new political party that might displace the ANC.

At this moment, for the first time one can say without any sense of exaggeration, the ANC, South African Communist Party, COSATU alliance, insofar as it exists, has no ideological coherence or significance and provides little political leadership and direction. It may exist as a name but it no longer captures the moral fervour that led millions to place their hopes in them.

The glue that binds survives at the leadership level, where the spoils of office have been spread to a significant number of members of the SACP leadership and a fair number of former COSATU leaders. With the absorption of the top COSATU leadership into the ANC's national executive committee, the relationship is consolidated by the prospect of their being offered cabinet posts or other rewards, which are part of the largesse that the ANC in government can dispense.

At the time of writing, there is a brewing scandal about the allocation of shares by gold-mining company Gold Fields, which sought a licence to mine and appears to have believed that offering shares approved by the ANC leadership would ensure that this would happen, and that a failure to accommodate ANC demands would result in the licence not being granted.

One of the facilitators of the deal was Gayton McKenzie, a convicted bank robber – no longer surprising in these times. He appears to have been amply rewarded for his work.

The most significant beneficiary, from what we know, was ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete: she was granted R28 million in shares, as opposed to the previous R2 million's worth of shares she was initially offered.

There is no evidence of any value that Mbete (or for that matter most ANC leaders who go into business or are drawn into similar "empowerment" deals) brings to this deal. She brings her name and position, which supposedly signifies access to people who make decisions that benefit Gold Fields in ways that far exceed the shares she has been granted.

In this deal, which was supposed to be about empowering the formerly disempowered, there is no condition set by the ruling party that would relate to how the mine should operate; nothing about whether it should provide conditions for the accommodation of the miners that are fit for human habitation, say. There is nothing built into the agreement that would address the needs of surrounding communities – or the afterlife of the mines once they are depleted.

In short, the poorest of the poor are not of any concern. The deal only relates to rewarding the "players", the people who are in the inner circle of the ANC leadership.

This is just one instance, but it is a most glaring instance that exemplifies the erosion of any semblance of moral integrity once attached to the ANC. It has nothing to do with the ANC that once pledged to make "a better life for all".


At the same time as powerful individuals are being enriched, communities are forced to drink and wash in polluted water, live in the streets or inhabit homes with sewerage running through them -- and they are shot at when they protest.

In voting ANC, which many of these communities may still do, they are represented by an alarming number of corrupt councillors. One of the features of our times is the indifference that the ANC and its allies show to their own constituency, the poorest of the poor.

The Marikana massacre is remembered most vividly by the ANC, the SACP and COSATU for the displacement of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the dominant union on the platinum belt. That is what they see as the real crime at Marikana, instead of recognising that there is a problem in the capacity of an allied union led by the SACP chairperson, Senzeni Zokwana.

Startlingly, there has been little attempt to commiserate with or care for the families of the dead and injured, a callousness that stands in sharp contrast with what one would previously have associated with this liberation movement.

Not only was it alleged that the police opened fire and killed people when there were other options available to them, it has now emerged that the evidence has been tampered with to ensure that the Farlam Commission of Inquiry cannot know what actually happened.

Should we be surprised?

That is not to say we should no longer be shocked, but we have seen the way in which the Guptas [a wealthy business family clost to South African President Jacob Zuma] are allowed to operate as if they are above the law in South Africa.

We have seen, in only one case, how nearly R280 million has been used for the private benefit of the president. We have seen how numerous ministers have embezzled funds with impunity and how the president does everything to avoid having his "day in court" to face corruption charges.

The ANC led a variety of forces because it previously offered a political direction that unified a broad range of people. This was because they believed they saw, through the ANC, a plan that could unfold in a way that benefited the people of South Africa as a whole.

The ANC can no longer offer such direction. Its leaders are too greedy. And they have shut down debate.

[Raymond Suttner is a former United Democratic Front, ANC and South African Communist Party leader and underground cadre who spent over 10 years as a political prisoner. Suttner blogs at raymondsuttner.com.]

On the above, see also: RONNIE KASRILS on: How the ANC's Faustian pact sold out South Africa's poorest ...

"In the early 1990s, we in the leadership of the ANC made a serious error. Our people still paying the price ... From 1991 to 1996 the battle for the ANC's soul got under way, and was eventually lost to corporate power: we were entrapped by the neoliberal economy – or, as some today cry out, we "sold our people down the river".

What I call our Faustian moment came when we took an IMF loan on the eve of our first democratic election. That loan, with strings attached that precluded a radical economic agenda, was considered a necessary evil, as were concessions to keep negotiations on track and take delivery of the promised land for our people.

Doubt had come to reign supreme: we believed, wrongly, there was no other option; that we had to be cautious, since by 1991 our once powerful ally, the Soviet union, bankrupted by the arms race, had collapsed. Inexcusably, we had lost faith in the ability of our own revolutionary masses to overcome all obstacles.

Whatever the threats to isolate a radicalising South Africa, the world could not have done without our vast reserves of minerals. To lose our nerve was not necessary or inevitable. The ANC leadership needed to remain determined, united and free of corruption – and, above all, to hold on to its revolutionary will. Instead, we chickened out ...

@ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/24/anc-faustian-pact-…

But I will argue that this is NOT the whole story as argued by Kasrils or by Suttner above! There is a concerted and deep crisis in the leadership and hierarchy of the ANC Alliance, as this article by Kasrils and the one published recently by Raymond Suttner, shows conclusively: 'The ANC-SACP-COSATU alliance has sold its soul', @ http://links.org.au/node/3536 (above).

We must then ask: Why are they (former ANC "big wigs") now attempting to "re-write history" and created a new "Common Wisdom" and now say that it was "in the early 1990s" that this "Faustian Pact" was sealed, and then sold to the People of South Africa?

The very nature of these acts, i.e. "secret underhand negotiations" in Dakar and Lusaka with the blessings of the then-USSR from the MID-1980s - the Gorbatsjov "turn" to stop supporting "Liberation Movements" in the Third World, was/became part and parcel of the ANC´s modus operandi and hence its fear & paranoia at any form of "disclosures" of its past (say from 1960 onwards) and for any call for an "Open Democratic Internal regime" to be suppressed by violence; and the great "cover-up" of the Revolt of the MK troops in Angola from 19882-84 (named the "Matshankiso") can then be swept under the carpet and "blame" can be apportioned to another faction of the ANC bureaucracy/hierarchy/elite.

In fact, my feelings is that this is a reaction to the publication of the revealing book (and articles, @ http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/anc-exile-stephen-ellis - or go to google.search or my "Notes") of Prof. Stephen Ellis: External Mission - The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990 (Hardcover), 2012, Hurst & Co, Ldn. ISBN 978-1-84904-262-8 - THE MISSING YEARS OF THE AND IN EXILE - THE FACTS REVEALED! @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1849042624, whose research shows that the ANC in Exile was far from the splendid record its chief ideologues, like Pallo Jordan or Ronnie Kasrils, claim it to be. I wrote in my amazon.co.uk book review: " ...

The end result, in my opinion, is not fully dissected by Ellis: the role of Thabo Machiavelli Mbeki, the heir-apparent, in Dacar and Lusaka by 1985 is never fully teased out. The covert, secret DEALS that were hammered out in Lusaka, London and the tacit acceptance of a transition of Majority Rule, release of political prisoners etc ends the period. Both the ANC and its counterparts in the military intelligence grew closer and intertwined to become a single corrupt monstrosity that used every means to cover its tracks while seeking new areas of financial operation.

Interestingly, Ellis throws new light on the MYTHOLOGY of the ANC-SACP and its historic falsification of history - the "memoricide" (erasure of all traces of a proper history) that is all to apparent in our youth today. What really brought about "The End of Apartheid?" will be the subject of much further research and proper investigation.

Was it the fact that the Chase Manhattan Bank refused to roll-over further loans at a crucial moment in 1985, thus signalling a cumulative "loss of confidence" in the almost bankrupt apartheid state, the effects of crippling oil sanctions, the loss of air superiority at the Battle of Cuito Cuanivale in Southern Angola, the "Gorbatshov Turn" from the 1980s and the summation, or ending, of all armed struggles by its dependent satraps and clients in the Third World.

The fact that the ANC was crippled from within after the Mkatashingo p.186 passim) and the Pro Democracy Movement in the ANC-MK was put down in blood leading to further demoralization of the troops and the ability of the bureaucrats to embark of "secret deals" with the devil in Pretoria and elsewhere. My own feeling is that it was a combination of the above factors, but the specific weight of each has to be researched further... ".

Read Ellis´work to get the Big Picture!

See also: John Pilger: The racist theory of “separate development” has followed a line that runs from De Beers’s earliest monopolies to Marikana today. It is inspired by a global order of “free markets” upheld by force, @ http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2012/09/apartheid-didn%E2%80%9…; John Pilger’s 1998 film, “Apartheid Did Not Die”, is available at johnpilger.com and @ YouTube