Painful cost of paranoia

The internecine wrangling within the ANC is destroying South Africa stitch by stitch.

The internecine wrangling within the ANC is destroying South Africa stitch by stitch.

Today we read that provincial and regional party officials removed the mayor and city manager at Emfuleni. Two-thirds of the ANC's 43 branches in the Vaal then passed a vote of no confidence in the regional and provincial party hacks.

Last week a paranoid Mbeki hid himself overseas and in government offices rather than trying to quell the paroxysm of xenophobia that gave lie to the dream of a Rainbow Nation. Presumably the thin-skinned Mbeki could not bring himself to face the inevitable jeers - or the cheers for his rival if he had been statesman enough to rope in Jacob Zuma.

Wherever you scratch, the ANC's internal battles are ripping this country to shreds.

Enough already. If the party's top dogs can't manage the transition from one hierarchy to another like adults it's time they consider the national interest above their narrow political point scoring.

Mbeki has retreated so far to the distant recesses of the Union Buildings that he has effectively given up any pretence of being the powerful, hands-on president he once was. And this is happening at the time we need him most in the past 14 years.

So with humility, sadness and the greatest respect, we reluctantly observe that his once illustrious tenure is ending in the ignominy of us all.

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