Lesson in democracy

With friends like the ANC's partners in the tripartite alliance, the ruling party needs no more enemies.

With friends like the ANC's partners in the tripartite alliance, the ruling party needs no more enemies.

But in the world of politics, where few mean what they say and none say what they mean, the ANC's immediate ex-chairman Terror Lekota has shown his colours.

"It seems we are serving. divorce papers," he said on Tuesday, but was too coy formally to announce his breakaway political party.

The litany of complaints he listed against the new-look ANC had a familiar ring: they were much the same as those being enumerated before Polokwane by the SACP, Cosatu and the youth league.

But back in those distant days the capitalist Thabo Mbeki - with minions like chairman Lekota - ran the ANC with a Stalinist iron grip. He brooked no nonsense from anyone and had consigned the recalcitrant "ultralefties" in the SACP, Cosatu and the youth league to the political wilderness.

Now these exiles have taken over the party, talking democracy but purging perceived opponents even more ruthlessly than their nemesis such as Lekota.

When the dust settles and the inevitable new party is announced, we just hope that the ANC's chastened former stalwarts have learnt a lesson or two in democracy and get around to giving voters what they promise in the hustings.

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