Friday, 4 July 2014

Here's how to be radical, Mr Netshitenzhe - Letter to the Mail & Guardian

The Mail & Guardian this week published a letter I wrote to them in response to an article by Joel Netshitenzhe in last week's edition. Read it here or below:

Joel Netshitenzhe, former ANC spin doctor turned sage, attempts to stand above the fray in his call for collective responsibility in bringing about radical change to South Africa.

Would that he had adopted such a disinterested approach when he and his comrades developed the ANC’s cadre deployment policy in the mid-1990s. Had he done so, this policy would never have seen the light of day.
 For one of the consequences of cadre deployment is that it created a small band of insiders, or political commissars, who did the party’s bidding in whatever job they found themselves deployed to, while the rest of us carried on with life under the misapprehension that our views, skills and talents mattered.

When views were aired that did not square with the ANC’s policy narrative they were ignored and sometimes arrogantly dismissed. This has created a breed of outsiders who are more numerous than Netshitenzhe would have us believe, belying his smug assertion that 92% of the electorate supports the National Development Plan.

A significant segment of the ANC-SACP-Communist alliance is vehemently opposed to the NDP, and Zuma’s second term will be a severe test of his administration’s willingness to alienate these outsiders to the point where the alliance splinters.

Another category of outsider is the huge number of small business owners frozen out of government procurement because they do not belong to the inner circle. I have received countless calls from frustrated business people complaining of discrimination due to their outsider status.

Netshitenzhe points to the NDP’s call for an ethical foundation to the state. But we have a President who is ethically challenged, to say the least, legitimising the widespread corruption we see both in the private and public sectors which the framers of the NDP say, rightly, is holding us back as a nation.

It is no wonder, then, that calls for collective responsibility and ethical behaviour fall on deaf ears.

You want radical change, Mr Netshitenzhe? Then do away with cadre deployment, face down opponents of the NDP in the alliance, and allow the law to take its course on Nkandla and the Zuma spy tapes.

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