ANC split 'best thing' for SA says Zackie Achmat

Zackie Achmat. / Business Day
Zackie Achmat. / Business Day

A radical split within the ANC resulting in the governing party reducing its majority to less than 47% could be the best thing to happen for the country when it goes to elections in 2019‚ outspoken activist Zackie Achmat said at Stellenbosch University.

“What I’d hope for is a splitting of the ANC‚ that might still have some decent people [and get them to work with] good people from other small parties‚ and some coalition taking shape‚” said Achmat on Wednesday‚ outlining his preconditions for an ethical‚ clean and accountable government to be possible in the first five years after Jacob Zuma.

“But the ANC has to drop to below 47%. The reason for that would be to enable the smaller parties to go to the (ANC’s) side‚ and influence its direction.”

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Speaking off the cuff in a talk entitled “State Power‚ State Capture and Building a New Politics of Justice and Equality”‚ delivered under the auspices of the Studies in Historical Trauma‚ Achmat said the ANC was currently so entrenched it was difficult and dangerous to challenge it‚ but its prolonged stay in power was compromising good governance and good citizenry in the country.

“If you look at the killings in KwaZulu Natal… If you look in Mpumalanga. If you look at the violence against Abahlali baseMjondolo… it’s a dangerous time in which criminal elements are being used to take out political opponents.”

But‚ he warned‚ by singling out Zuma as the embodiment of state capture and corruption critics were missing the point. He said while Zuma was the face of corruption there were syndicates at all strategic points in government and state-owned enterprises.

“There are criminal syndicates operating within the railway system‚” he said. He further pointed out how‚ under the stewardship of Lucky Montana‚ Prasa derailed into the pockets of carefully targeted overseas corporations and local individuals funds meant for the betterment of the rail system.

Achmat currently serves on the secretariat of the #UnitedBehind coalition which‚ working with communities in the Western Cape‚ is monitoring the rail commuter system in the province with a view to putting pressure for the improvement of the service.

Achmat also said he was privy to information that shows how during Montana’s tenure Prasa operated a scheme which saw copper cables‚ originally meant to be used in upgrading facilities in the railway system‚ find their way overseas where they were sold to syndicates. He said he had documentary evidence to back up his claims.

He said profligacy could be found in almost all government departments and state-owned enterprises‚ but was quick to point out that it was thanks to our constitution‚ the judiciary and a robust media that it was still possible to expose and comment on corruption and state capture.


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