Hard lessons from Cope

WHILE President Jacob Zuma chooses to call the low-intensity civil war tearing the ANC apart "lively debate", it is heartening to find that the Congress of the People has fully accepted the fractious nature of its leadership and the impact this has on the party's fortunes.

WHILE President Jacob Zuma chooses to call the low-intensity civil war tearing the ANC apart "lively debate", it is heartening to find that the Congress of the People has fully accepted the fractious nature of its leadership and the impact this has on the party's fortunes.

The ANC might argue that given their almost 98 years of existence, it has nothing to learn from the breakaway upstarts. We beg to differ.

The ANC can certainly teach Cope a thing or two about holding a party together under trying times. Oliver Tambo, in particular, did a remarkable job of keeping the party coherent in the face of a total onslaught from all sectors and mutineer tendencies from within.

Unfortunately the ANC in government is turning into a denialist outfit.

The ANC-led alliance might not be about to break, but the continual romanticising of the sharp differences of view in places that matter, and that these divergent viewpoints have the ability to affect the delivery of services, is worrisome to put it mildly.

Differences are not always divisions. But when left unmanaged they tend to cause rifts that could end up paralysing an organisation and, in the case of the ANC, the state.

That is where we as citizens take issue.

South African citizens and voters deserve to have their trust in the parties they chose repaid by these organisations, taking them into their confidence.

In that regard, Cope's public denuding holds some important lessons for the ANC.

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