Is ANC's dogmatic past coming back to haunt them asks former political prisoner

Paul Trewhela is a South African journalist, communist, and former political prisoner and chats to Koketso Sechane, standing-in for Eusebius McKaiser on CapeTalk and 702.

Roughly 60 years ago, the ANC took the radicle decision to confront an oppressive armed state with the armed struggle, says Trewhela.

He adds that the ANC was initially non-violent, but took the decision to confront the state with violence.

That was a colossal decision to take, and it was made entirely in association with the South African Communist Party.

Paul Trewhela, former SACP member and former political prisoner

Research has found that members who were convicted in the Rivonia Trails, including Nelson Mandela, were actually members of the SACP says Trewhela. He adds that the events that unfolded took the ANC away from the philosophy of its founders.

Trewhela says that the ANC’s structure was top-down:

There was no room for critical discussion essentially in the ANC in exile, and those who did have critical opinions or a different opinion on the way forward were oppressed.

Paul Trewhela, former SACP member and political prisoner

Fast forward to now, and the ANC still seems to be in the same predicament.

At the 702 Town Hall meeting, Karima Brown was in conversation with presidential hopeful Baleka Mbete to discuss the ways in which she plans to strengthen the country economy.

Mbete had no plan for the economy and even said that she will use state machinery, says Karima.

She’s coming in off the back of the same parties’ economic policies that have not resulted in the kind of jobs that we see, that has not resulted in more people being included in the economy.

Karima Brown, Veteran Journalist and Talk Radio 702 host

Brown adds that Mbete said very little and failed to outline, even in broad policy terms, how she plans to get a stagnant economy, with structural challenges up and running.

She spoke very briefly about her focus on agriculture as well as her focus on rural economies but with incredibly little detail.

Karima Brown, political analyst and 702 host

One can conclude that Mbete has not given the economy thought says Karima. She adds that we need to find out from these candidates how they're going to address matters that involve money, corruption, and the renewal of the ANC.

These characteristics are not my characteristics of the ANC. This is all to be found in the diagnostic report of the security general Gwede Mantashe which was tabled at the ANC’s policy conference.

Karima Brown, political analyst and 702 host

To hear more on the ANC past and present click on the audio below...

Listen to Karima talk about Mbete's brief statements at the 702 Town Hall Meeting here...


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