The ANC is vrot, but when will it vrek?

Andrew Donaldson |

27 July 2022

Andrew Donaldson writes on British perceptions of our troubled looting party


THE Times, tried and trusted newspaper of the crusty British establishment, is not usually in the habit of bothering its readership with wild conjecture and flagrantly opinionated journalism like other fish-wraps. Yet, at the weekend, it published an alarming report warning that, one day, South Africa is “going to explode”. 

Wherever, you may ask, do they get these ideas? 

Well, Thabo Mbeki, for one. The former president reportedly told mourners at a memorial service for Jessie Duarte that record unemployment, poverty and growing unrest have put the country on course for its own version of the Arab Spring upheavals. The ANC government, which Mbeki described as “corrupt”, had no “national plan” to tackle the deepening crisis in the country. Cyril Ramaphosa, he added, was directly to blame for this.

“When he delivered his state of the nation address in February, he said in 100 days there must be a comprehensive social compact to to address these matters,” Mbeki was quoted as saying. “Nothing has happened. Nothing.”

Such comments are somewhat hypocritical. Pot, kettle, black, etc. The cancer of state capture, after all, metastasised during the Mbeki era. The rotten arms deal was signed off on his watch. Ditto the 2004 decision not to charge then deputy-president Jacob Zuma with corruption alongside Schabir Shaik.


Eskom began its collapse into obsolescence at much the same time. The Mbeki administration belatedly announced, in 2007, a R200-billion plan to build two new coal-fired plants, Medupi and Kusile, but the awarding of tenders to design and build the plants was fundamentally flawed, with Chancellor House, the ruling party’s “investment” company, emerging as a shareholder in one the project’s principal contractors.

The Virodene affair was another scandal, given Mbeki and then-health minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s enthusiastic promotion of this quack HIV/Aids drug which had as its chief active ingredient the industrial solvent, dimethylformamide.

All this is perhaps effluent under the bridge. Chief concern now is this chatter of an “Arab Spring”. Judging from events surrounding the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference, it would appear such a revolt is now underway.

On Sunday, the Observer led its world news section with a lengthy report on Squirrel’s present leadership challenges. The paper’s African correspondent, Jason Burke, presented his readers with a thorough unpacking of the Farmgate affair, which he described as a saga “embroiling the president in a plot that might be lifted directly from one of the gripping and gritty TV crime series popular in the country”.  ___STEADY_PAYWALL___