Ed Herbst on a ‘panicking’ ANC: Beating yourself up – in and out of court

Veteran journalist Ed Herbst

JOHANNESBURG — Recent chair-throwing incidents at the ANC Eastern Cape elective conference have prompted veteran journalists Ed Herbst to reflect on what exactly is happening inside the ANC. He subsequently identifies how panic is perhaps setting in amid funds starting to evaporating after years of non-stop super-snouting at the taxpayers’ trough. Then, there are also those endless court losses that the ANC-run government endures (again, at the expense of taxpayers). Is it a sign of a party in its final kicks before death or is it business as usual? – Gareth van Zyl

Blood-stained floor tiles, broken chairs, stun grenades and bloodied delegates characterised the ANC Eastern Cape’s elective conference on Saturday night.

One delegate was taken to hospital on a stretcher, while seven others were rushed from the scene by ambulance. – Lizeka Tandwa News 24 1/10/2017

Every provincial party conference seems to end in chair-throwing and legal action. The unhappy losers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have lawyered up. Since the Zuma slate seems to be on the losing end here, it is beyond irony that Zuma, who moaned about his political opponents running to court with every complaint, seems to be instructing his party comrades to do just that. – Tony Leon The Times 4/10/2017

It will, I believe, become an enduring and iconic pictorial tribute to the real nature of the ANC’s glorious National Democratic Revolution.

Supporters of South African President Jacob Zuma’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) cheer at a rally to launch the ANC’s local government election manifesto in Port Elizabeth, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A woman delegate, her head bandaged, her ANC T-shirt covered in blood stands in the background clearly traumatised as ambulances take away the victims of the violently chaotic ANC 8th elective conference in East London recently.

This was an ANC exclusive, a proud scoop in its ‘Good story to tell’ because, in almost half a century of reporting on and reading about political meetings I have never known any other political party to beat up its own members and, more specifically, its own woman members.

This is how the ANC rolls.

In his early days in National Party politics, P W Botha was notorious for violently breaking up United Party meetings with fellow thugs but, even during the occasional outbreaks of broedertwis with the HNP and the Conservative Party, it would never have occurred to him to assault women attending political meetings. The idea of assaulting female members of his own National Party would have filled him with justifiable revulsion and utter incredulity.

The same goes for the AWB and I covered quite a few speeches by Eugene Terreblanche.

Thus speaks the spirit of ANC patriarchy.

Unique contributions

Beating up female supporters of your own political party therefore joins a series of unique contributions to political discourse by the African National Congress which have become part of its brand. They include:

So, what was the catalyst for the recent demonstrations by the ANC in East London of its unique brand of political couth?

My subjective sense is that it can be largely attributed to the news that the number of social grant recipients now exceeds the number of people with jobs combined with the ANC-created bankruptcy of state-financed entities like SAA and the SABC. Both were once held in high regard by the Whited Sepulchre branch of the ANC’s ‘Broad Church’ as secure snouting sinecures but have now been overtaken in the popularity stakes by Eskom – ask Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh and Matshela Koko, they’ll tell you.

An Eskom Generation sign sits on display at the Grootvlei power station, operated by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., in Grootvlei, South Africa. Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Is it not a rare privilege if your stepdaughter can crack a few million, you get to lie like a cheap watch or a Cape Times front page lead on Carte Blanche and you know that Minister Lynne Brown has your back because she says you are innocent until proven guilty?

Super Snouter

It would be remiss of me not to mention Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s department which continues to reward the ANC’s faith in it as an upper echelon Super Snouter with irregular expenditure of R715 million in 2016-17 and, of course, Lucky Montana’s PRASA is fondly remembered for the largesse it dispensed to the Snouting Party’s charmed inner circle.

There is clearly room for improvement though in the ANC’s hotly-contested Super Snouter stakes, given the staggering statistics quoted by the AG in parliament on 4 October:

  • On the watch of the Sobbing Sage of the Saxonwold Shebeen  and Dr Ben Ngubane, irregular expenditure at Eskom increased from R106 million last year to R4 billion this year
  • The snouting at Transnet was relatively minor in comparison – from R25 million last year to R922 million in 2017


Despite this sort of rear-guard action, it is now dawning on the ANC’s illegally deployed bottom feeders, rent seekers, tenderpreneurs and compradors – not to mention their demanding Blesser Babes – that the gravy level in the trough is sinking rapidly. They are realising with a growing sense of panic that, sooner rather than later, the apocalyptic vision of Mzilikazi wa Afrika – Nothing Left to Stealwill become a reality and that by then the Zuptoids will have scarpered to Dubai leaving behind an empty patronage pantry for their betrayed  fellow snouters.

My Luthuli House Browse Moles assure me however that, as we speak, the legendary intern team which selects SABC board members is working round the clock on a solution – a revised edition of the ANC’s Election Rigging Handbook.

This will contain a lot of valuable data gleaned from the failed attempts to rig elections in Tlokwe and KZN. If at first you don’t succeed …

The courts

The second venue which the ANC has selected to beat itself up in is, of course, the courts.

In this regard the African National Congress comes well prepared and well-armed with your money and mine and a very effective game plan – what Kemp J Kemp calls the ‘Stalingrad strategy’.

I have been reading Redi Thlabi’s book on Khwezi and thus watched with a growing sense of revulsion and a rising level of bile as Kemp, desiccated and defeated, acknowledged what all decent South Africans, the frustrated majority, have known all along – that the legal plagiarist, Mokotedi “Kokkie” Mpshe had no justification in dropping the charges against JZ783.

(Capetonians have not forgotten how Jeff (C.l.i.t) Radebe tried – and failed – to strong-arm Jeanette Traverso into appointing Kokkie to the Western Cape bench).

Before that it was Jeremy Gauntlett acknowledging that JZ783 held the Constitution in contempt as did the ANC parliamentary caucus.

And before that it was the ANC’s desperate attempts – using your money and mine – to withhold from the South African public what information the so-called ‘Spy Tapes’ contained.

And before that it was the Mbeki administration’s attempts to withhold from the South African public the information of how Zanu-PF had, with the assistance of the ANC, rigged the 2002 Zimbabwe election.

What the African National Congress can say with absolute historical rectitude, though, is that it is living up to its antecedents – Quatro, the Shell House massacre, more than three hundred thousand HIV-AIDS deaths and countless concomitant orphans, the Marikana massacre and 23 years of voraciously venal looting of the public purse leading to increasing unemployment and poverty.

If, now and then, the ANC suffers a few self-inflicted legal blows, so what? It is a least spending its own money – one hopes – when the various factions, complaining bitterly about the DA’s ‘abuse of court procedure for base political ends, do exactly the same as they try to get closer to the blood-stained rim of the trough.

For the favoured few, Dubai beckons.

New BEE dynasty

The Zuptoids will continue to play the Bell Pottinger, White Monopoly Capital race card with JZ783 passing this baton to the NDZ camp. This is ironic, because all the ANC did, as R W Johnson points out, is replace the alleged WMC dynasties – the Oppenheimers and the Ruperts – with an equivalent dynasty of its own, a BEE dynasty created in a much shorter period and with much less effort and much more political intent.

President Jacob Zuma

The world of the new ANC—BEE elite is a small one: when Bridgette (Radebe) took over Alexkor, the mine actually fell under the supervision of her husband.(Jeff) Only a month after the Impala deal with Bridgette, Anglo Platinum announced a similar deal with Bridgette’s brother, Patrice Motsepe, head of African Rainbow Minerals, so despite all the talk of giving economic power to the African masses, the two biggest platinum companies had concentrated their deals on just one already privileged family (for Patrice and Bridgette are the children of a Tswana princess).

However, Bridgette is also the sister-in-law of another BEE mogul, Cyril Ramaphosa, giving that family a degree of financial and political influence rivalling the Oppenheimers. (P407)

In the end it’s all corrupt smoke and mirrors and, invariably, the poor suffer because that’s how the ANC operates.

Ask that poor soul who went to the ANC elective conference in East London and ended up with her head bandaged and her made-in-China T-shirt, on which no import duty was paid, covered in her own blood – she’ll tell you – and tell you all you need to know about ANC patriarchy and the ANC’s unique ethos of assaulting its own women members when it isn’t murdering them.

And, if you need more evidence, consider the fact that the ANC’s Matthew Wolmarans, heavily implicated in the 2009 murder of fellow ANC councillor and corruption whistle-blower Moss Phakoe, has just taken his seat in parliament alongside  arch misogynist Mduduzi Manana.

But wait, there’s more.

As Helen Zille points out in her recently- published book, the ANC through its Sanco branch and with the assistance of a captured police force, does not hesitate to burn infants to death in order to assure local political hegemony and to ring-fence the trough.

Here’s the relevant passage on page 216 about the funeral of the three children of Nomboniso Thiywe whose home was deliberately set alight because she tried to open a Democratic Alliance branch in Cape Town’s Langa township, an ANC stronghold.

I often try to think back on the funeral scene, but my mind draws a blank. I know we pitched a marquee on the flattened plot where the tragedy had occurred and that a large choir sang soaring hymns in magnificent harmonies. I can’t even recall the children’s coffins, perhaps because the sight of a tiny coffin is such an assault on the natural order of things. The only thing I recall was Nomboniso, draped in her black blanket of grief, swaying backwards and forwards with a vacant expression in her eyes, while her mother, her burn wounds bandaged, wept beside her.

Nomboniso withdrew from political involvement. She was never the same again

The African National Congress has never denied this account because it would be pointless to do so – the evidential proof of its involvement in this unspeakable evil is overwhelming.

  • Ed Herbst is a retired veteran journalist who writes in his own capacity.
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