ANC can't afford to walk around with a swagger over DA's misfortunes
And as the DA tries to come to terms with the damaging blows of the past fortnight, the political landscape has the potential to change quite dramatically.
As some political parties try to capitalise on the DA’s leadership crisis, speculation is that the EFF and Freedom Front Plus stand to benefit the most, biting off chunks from the left and right flanks, respectively.
What’s far more critical though is how the ANC reacts. So far, the governing party has been remarkably discreet, and that’s probably because it has problems of its own - problems that will require more than a Band-Aid to prevent any further haemorrhaging of support come the next election.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and his party face crises on several fronts - an economy on a downward slope, debilitating corruption, an unreliable electricity supply, mounting crime and escalating unemployment.
So the party can’t afford to walk around with a swagger over the DA’s misfortunes.
But perhaps the biggest problem for Ramaphosa is that while he scrambles around for solutions to the nation’s pressing problems, he’s not sure who he can trust anymore.
While he tries desperately to spread a message of hope, close lieutenants like ANC secretary-general Ace Magashula and his cronies are virtually cutting the grass from under his very feet.
And it’s not as if Magashule is undermining his leader surreptitiously - he’s quite open and unapologetic that he would have preferred Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be sitting at the helm at the Union Buildings.
What Ramaphosa also needs to be wary about is the calibre and credibility of people who go around speaking for the ANC and the country on international platforms.
Take the case of former national assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, whose interview with TV station Al Jazeera was so painfully pathetic, I cringed with embarrassment.
Here’s a sample of her politically nincompoopish responses to presenter Mehdi Hasan.
Asked about the World Bank’s research finding that SA was an unequal society, Mbete replied that the World Bank was not God.
What about some of the failures of the governing party? “Wrong things have happened but that doesn’t mean it is all gloom.”
Why didn’t she speak out against the looting of state resources under her watch? “Things were not happening in full view of everyone. There are many things I’m only learning now on how bad things were.”
What about the ANC’s failure to accept responsibility for rampant crime in South Africa? “We can’t blame the problems of SA society on the ANC. Criminality has been in SA for more than three centuries, especially after the colonialists came and brought crime from Europe to Africa, so you can’t say the ANC brought criminality.”
To think that she was once touted as a candidate to become president.
Cry, the beloved country!
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.