Despite its incompetence and corruption, the ANC’s continued support for the policy of cadre deployment (Tribune, July 10), has parallels with the government in England 300 years ago as Jonathan Swift recorded in Gulliver’s Travels published in 1726.
In Part IV, Swift explained that political ambition depended on exploiting three methods. “The first is by knowing how to dispose of a wife, daughter or sister; the second by betraying or undermining a predecessor and the third is by furious zeal in public assemblies against the corruption of the court.”
Starting with Ramaphosa, how many of those in leadership in the ANC have deployed such methods? And as Swift went on to note, once positions have been procured, “these ministers having all employments at their disposal, preserve themselves in power by bribing the majority of a Great Council [or] at last, by an expedient called an Act of Indemnity they secure themselves from after-reckonings and retire from the public laden with the spoils of the nation.”
Former ANC heavyweight Smuts Ngonyama, summed that up well when in 2008 he said “I did not join the ANC to remain poor.” Tokyo Sexwale and countless others have benefited grandly following their retirement from ministerial posts.
Swift’s reference to the grooming that occurred within the ruling party is particularly relevant regarding the ANC: “The palace of the Chief Minister is a seminary to breed up others in his own trade. By imitating their master, they become ministers of state in their several districts and learn to excel in the three principal ingredients of insolence, lying and bribery.”
In an earlier chapter (A voyage to Brobdingnag) Gulliver’s remark that “ignorance, idleness and vice are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator” is applicable, particularly where many eThekwini ANC councillors are concerned.
Over the centuries, it is a sad reality, as Ambrose Bierce, a contemporary of Mark Twain observed, that to a large extent “politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage; a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.”