Supra Mahumapelo dares ANC's solidarity over Mkhwebane
Supra Mahumapelo has come out unequivocally backing the public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane on the pending parliamentary process instituted to review her fitness to hold office.
Mahumapelo's backing of Mkhwebane, against a motion instituted by the opposition DA, is informed by a view that she performed a "marvellous" work in her term of office.
Mahumapelo, a national executive committee member of the ANC, has been vociferous that the ruling party shall not support a DA motion. But the ANC has so far distanced itself from his beliefs, adding that they are personal and not organisational.
History beckons that the ANC negotiated the transition to democracy with its vilest opponent, the National Party (NP), under whom many Africans were slaughtered. They include Hector Pieterson, Steve Biko, Neil Agget, Chris Hani, and David Webster. NP was also complicit in Boipatong, Sharpeville, Bisho, Maseru, and Matola massacres.
But the ANC, appreciating the conditions and challenges to its historic mission, collaborated with the NP in a government of national unity. The public protector and other chapter nine institutions are direct outcomes of this intercourse.
The last vote of no confidence against Jacob Zuma led by the DA had some ANC members voting secretly with the DA. Such that 177 MPs voted for Zuma's removal, while 198 voted for his stay as president.
Out of the 249 ANC MPs approximately 26 seemingly supported the motion of opposition. So, Mahumapelo's anti-opposition collaboration chant is both ahistorical and regrettably romantic.
For the ANC to distance itself from his comments does not necessarily delegitimise the broadcasted narrative since the ANC did little to ask him to withdraw the divisive statement.
But expecting Mahumapelo to confine his postulation within the ANC is missing the point. A leader like him wants to reach out to a wider audience in and outside the ANC.
The public protector office is another combat zone in which factions inside the organisation continue to wrestle. The biggest political games have been disposed from here and the mutilation of several political fortunes.
So, the public protector is also a fortune pulveriser, a trait which often tosses the office deep into the constantly bubbling factional reservoir of the ANC.
Mahumapelo's pre-emptive praises of Mkhwebane "doing a sterling job" displays a devil's advocacy in the face of President Cyril Ramaphosa enthusiasts. Simultaneously, it crystallises a nonconformist alternative inside the organisation. It also warns ANC insiders wishing to support the removal of the public protector [that they be seen] as "counter-revolutionary forces".
It will be interesting to see how many ANC MPs will wear their individual moral conscience to defy the party's parliamentary caucus.
The Mahumapelo crusade is not unique. Remember minister of finance Tito Mboweni's mocking of the ANC national conference resolution on nationalisation of the Reserve Bank?
Further deepening the organisation's corrective paralysis, analytical distress, and public relations conundrum. Hence the ANC could only conscript the public to bouts of tautology in calling on members "to subject themselves to organisational discipline".
Love him or hate him, Mahumapelo's daring spectacles makes him a mobilisation epicentre of a power block rumbling in the intestines of the ANC. As Karl Marx once said, ''history repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as farce".
*Fafuli is a National Union of Mineworkers official