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Ramaphosa's band aid is not enough to patch up ANC

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Port Shepston in preparation for the January 8 Statement.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in Port Shepston in preparation for the January 8 Statement.

Whenever I feel like depressing myself with a bit of mindless twaddle, I google Mzwanele Manyi.

Without fail, the man who once shocked the nation by saying there is an "over-supply of coloureds" in the Western Cape and became an instant "media mogul" will have said something moronic in the week past.

He is the political idiot that keeps on giving.

Manyi has started yet another nonsensical political party. The aptly named ATM party is his second political home in as many months.

Fancy a bet? He will not succeed. He is no political operative. He doesn't have the smarts. He is just a desperate and confused lackey of the Guptas trying to find a new way to make a few bob.

Anyway, I was punishing myself with some Manyi twaddle last week, when the man said something that is perhaps worth paying two cents for.

Asked why he left the ANC, Manyi declared that "the ANC has done all it could do and is now very tired and fatigued".

He is sadly right. The ANC is exhausted - and it now has a conundrum and contradiction at its very core. The reformist "Thuma Mina" brigade sits cheek by jowl with the corrupt Zupta gang in the party with no separation or divorce in sight. Such a toxic embrace can only lead to death.

Nothing illustrates this more than events of the past week as the party once again went into overdrive to celebrate its 107th birthday.

There was Jacob Zuma sitting on stage alongside National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, ANC KZN chairman Sihle Zikalala and ANC eThekwini chair Zandile Gumede as party president Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the Ohlange Institute outside of Durban.

It is just amazing, really. Here is a man who has made the ANC the laughing stock of the world, who has divided the party more than anyone else in its long history, and yet he was being hailed and feted as a hero.

News reports say the large crowd broke into applause several times as Ramaphosa mentioned Zuma. Ramaphosa himself was effusive: "Thank you to the former president for showing a real face of unity that both of us are committed to."

Ho hum. Ramaphosa knows that Zuma has been destabilising the ANC from within since his preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, lost the party leadership contest in December 2017. Ask ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule - he told a Zuma-supporting crowd in February last year that it was only five years to go before they got "their ANC back".

These are mere digressions, though. The value of Manyi's assessment that the ANC is fatigued lies in the fact that people like him and Zuma can still be regarded as useful by a party that speaks of integrity as a core value.

Ramaphosa told the Ohlange rally: "Where necessary, we have taken measures to deal with cadres who have undermined the integrity of the movement and the ethical standards expected of public representatives and ANC leaders. This is among the most difficult of organisational tasks, but we remain resolute in our efforts to stamp out deviant and abhorrent practices."

One must wish Ramaphosa luck in his endeavours. It is indeed a mammoth task. Yet the truth of the matter is that the ANC looks now increasingly beyond rescue. The Zuma years have broken it. It is not a political party. It is a conglomeration of factions - one of which is trying to loot as much as possible before the lights go out.

Ramaphosa's attempts to fix the party are falling on deaf ears within the party itself. That is why there were plans to boo him in KwaZulu-Natal.

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