Unthinkable in 1994 has become a serious possibility in 2013

Jan du Plessis says what was unthinkable in 1994 has
become a serious possibility in 2013
From Mangaung to Nkandla – a Journey to nowhere!
In the third week of December 2012 Jacob Zuma was re-
elected as president of the ANC at the 53rd National
Elective Conference at Mangaung (Bloemfontein) in the
central Free State.
Nkandla is the personal country homestead of Zuma in rural
Kwazulu-Natal. It has also been called the "presidential
compound" or "tribal village". It is an extensive complex
housing his extended family, with state of the art electronic
surveillance systems, helicopter landing pad, elaborate
roads, underground bunkers and security personnel. What
brought Nkandla into the limelight are widespread
allegations that much of the country homestead has been
funded by taxpayers’ money.
Zuma’s redeployment by the ANC at Mangaung in
December 2012 may guarantee his continued presence at
Nkandla as president of the country which could put him in
power up to 2019.
This journey from Mangaung to Nkandla explains the
interaction between the ANC as liberation movement and
the ANC as government in power and the current impact on
the country. In particular, it provides a much needed
understanding of the complex interaction between party
and state in the present political dispensation and exposes
the reasons why the current political dispensation has been
failing for the past decade or more.
It has to be understood that the country’s functional decline
is not solely the result of Zuma’s deployment in 2007 and
neither will his recent redeployment in December 2012 fix
the problem. What has gone wrong by 2013 can be traced
right back to the political settlement of 1994.
It is part of a self-destructive process that had been
embedded very deep in the political system by the political
power brokers at the time. The mere appointment of a new
president with a new (old) team will not solve the problem;
what has been emerging now is broad system failure. It is
something entirely different!
At the start of 2013 the country is in deep trouble, however,
this concept will have to be explained. Suffice to state as
introductory comment is the observation that Zuma’s
journey from Mangaung to Nkandla is expected to be a
journey to nowhere. Over the past year or two, the
possibility of a "failed state" has surreptitiously emerged in
the media.
The concept of a "failed state" was mentioned, but not
really discussed, as if the people involved were politically
too scared – or ignorant – in dealing with the implications.
The slow emergence of a failed state, and then very often
unobserved under the radar scan of parliament, implies a
certain fatal decline of a constitutional democracy and the
role of political parties. Even mentioning the possibility of a
failed state situation is not only serious, but has extremely
dangerous implications for any state.
A document like this is not for broad public consumption as
it may endanger the established and comfortable mindset
of the voting public and threaten the perceived and
propagated logical framework of party policy. Politicians
prefer a happy voting public, not a disturbed one. This
document may challenge the existing, fixed mindset – and
that is politically not always welcome! It is a document for
the decision maker, who does not have the luxury of
deferring difficult situations. It has been written for a reader
who thinks and plans for up to 2020 and beyond, for the
current political dispensation is unlikely to continue past
Zuma’s second term in office.
The critical question by 2013 is therefore: if there are
convincing facts and arguments that the current political
dispensation may decay to the point of systemic collapse –
a failed state – in the next five to seven years, what has to
be done? This is a question that can be posed to every
business executive, every activist group in civil society, and
each parent with kids in school or on their way to school. It
is also true for expats with family in South Africa and
families with children abroad. Will there ever be an
opportunity for them to return?
The unthinkable of 1994 will have to be contemplated by
2013. The country may slide into a process of governing
collapse. This does not necessarily imply a civil war, but an
inevitable decay of governing functions to the point of
spontaneous implosion – the key functions of state just
cease to exist! Society just becomes governmentally empty
– a stateless society. This was never considered in 1994;
however, by 2013 it has to be argued as an alarming reality.
If spontaneous implosion of governing capabilities
materialises, what becomes of government? Equally
important, what happens to society and population? When
society arrives at this point, is there still any meaning in a
free and fair election? If the past has not been a success,
what about the future?
Dr Jan du Plessis is editor and publisher of Intersearch. This
is an edited extract from the Intersearch Management
Briefing for January 2013. Dr Du Plessis can be contacted at

Source: politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=352590&sn=Marketingweb+detail&pid=90389

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