Mandela said its not the number of failures that one commits. Its how one learns from each failure to do things better.
JOHANNESBURG – ANC veteran, Khulu Mbatha’s hard hitting book, Unmasked – why the ANC failed to govern, looks set to cause a stir within the governing party.
In the book, which launched on Friday, Mbatha argues that the ANC was not ready to govern in 1994.
A party veteran of more than 40 years, many of which were spent in exile.
Mbatha is perhaps best known for his tenure as former President Kgalema Motlanthe’s special advisor.
In his book, he seeks to put historical perspective to the ANC’s current challenges in government and inside the party.
He concludes that the party was not ready to govern when it took over, and had no specific plans for the country’s economy, while still operating in exile.
“The problems that the ANC confronted outside, especially between 1960 and 1969 made it impossible to think positively about the economy. If you look at the strategy and tactics document, the economy is discussed and described in the strategy as belonging to the enemy, when it’s our workers who will make it possible for the economy to function. And then we looked at those workers and said they are the ones who must destroy this economy because we were fighting,” he said.
It was a real honour to meet you Dr Khulu Mbatha. The interview will be broadcast at 18:03 tonight on 102.7fm
“Hi Khulu, Your book is taken so seriously and appreciated that an extract of it appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Times ZA, they sure didn’t waste time. I don’t know about other books that News papers publish extracts even before a launch. CONGRATULATIONS” from Sophia DeBruyn
03/04/2017 Sylvia Glasser Congratulations on your ground breaking book! The country needs people like you with your intelligence, courage and moral fibre! Khulu Mbatha your reflectivity and ability to honestly examine and analyse make your book an absolute “must read” for ALL South Africans of ALL ages. The timing of this book and the convergence of the launch with the passing of the much loved hero Uncle Kathy are surely a message from the universe! If only others were as brave as you! Sylvia “Magogo” Glasser Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau and Order of Ikhamanga Silver.
Dr Khulu Mbatha was born in the Western Native Township, popularly known as “Western” now called Westbury, Johannesburg. His family was among those relocated to Soweto through forced removals of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He grew up in Rockville – officially known as Moroka.
He started school in “Western” and continued at Jabavu East Community School in Rockville. From there he went to Ndondo Higher Primary, also in Rockville. He matriculated at Sekano-Ntoane High School in Senoane (1974) and was studying at the University of Zululand (eNgoye) in 1976 when the “June 16 uprisings” occurred. Like many of his peers, following these revolts and the disruption of studies, he was forced into exile.
After spending some time in Tanzania he was sent by the African National Congress (ANC) to further his studies in Germany in 1977. Dr Mbatha earned his Master’s degree with a distinction and his PhD with a magna cum laude, both in Philosophy, from the Friedrich-Schiller University, Germany in 1983 & 1987 respectively.
He has worldwide experience in international relations after spending almost 20 years in different countries of Europe and America as a student and a diplomat. At the end of his studies the Secretary-General of the ANC, Alfred Nzo and the Chief Representative to the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Anthony Mongalo strongly recommended that Dr Mbatha joins the Education Department of the ANC in Lusaka, under the Secretary-General’s Office. The department was headed by the Deputy Secretary-General, Henry ‘Squire’ Makgothi (1987 – 1988).
He was appointed by Johnny Makatini, head of the Department of International Affairs, as the organisation’s Chief Representative in Athens, Greece (1988 – 1990).
When the ANC re-established itself in South Africa, after the unbanning, Dr Mbatha re-joined the Office the Secretary-General, under Nzo. When Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as Secretary-General he appointed Dr Mbatha as co-ordinator of the National Executive Committee and its National Working Committee (1991 – 1994).
After the first democratic elections of 1994, Alfred Nzo – the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Dr Mbatha to the ministry to work with him (1994 – 1995). A year later, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), appointed him as Minister Counsellor to South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (1995 – 1996). Again, after serving a full year, he was appointed as Consul-General to Munich in the Free State of Bavaria, Germany (1996 – 1998).
In 1998 Dr Mbatha left the Department of Foreign Affairs to occupy the post of Deputy Director-General in the Department of Home Affairs under Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Later he was appointed as the Acting Director-General (1999 – 2000). He left government in 2000.
In 2002 the Minister of Transport, Dullah Omar, appointed Dr Mbatha as the first CEO of the Road Traffic Management Corporation – the RTMC (2002 – 2005). Kgalema Motlanthe made him his Special Advisor during his tenure in office as President and Deputy President of South Afrifca (2008-2014).
Dr Mbatha is a member of the Reserve Force in the SANDF with the rank of a full colonel (since 2007). Further qualifications were with the following institutions:
Technical Training Department of Liberty Life (1991 – 1992);
African Institute of Technology (1992);
Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, in association with the Department of Economics of the University of Western Cape & the Educational Opportunities Council (1994);
Public Management – University of Pretoria (1995);
Entrepreneurship – South African Initiative of German Business & the South African Excellence Foundation – (2001); and
Finance for Non-Financial Managers – ExecuPrime Training (2006).
Previous positions of directorship:
- Trade and Investments Limpopo – TIL, former Northern Province Investment Initiative – NPii, Non-executive Director (2000 – 2008);
- Sinqobile Equestrian Security Services (Pty) Ltd. – Executive Director & Chairman (2002 – 2014);
- African Sky Innovative Solutions (Pty) Ltd. (ASIS) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2003 – 2013);
- Nsele Trading (Pty) Ltd. – Non-executive Director (2003 – 2007);
- Metro Bus Company and later Metropolitan Trading Company (Pty) Ltd. – Non-executive Director (2004 – 2008);
- Local Committee of the Gauteng Liquor Board (Tshwane Metro) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2005 – 2008);
- Local Committee of the Gauteng Liquor Board (Metsweding Metro) – Non-executive Director & Chairman (2005 – 2008); and
- South African German Alumni Association – Chairman (2002 – 2006).
Current positions of directorship:
- Ivanplats (pty) Ltd – Director;
- Prestige College in Hammanskraal – board member since 2012;
- Ekukhanyeni Relief Project (HIV/AIDS) – Trustee (since 2005);
- Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) – Trustee since 2012;
- Institute of Directors in Southern Africa – Member; and
- Senior Council of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Member (since 2004);
UNMASKED: WHY THE ANC HAS FAILED TO GOVERN – A CRITIQUE BY CHINA DODOVU HELD AT ILANGENI HOTEL IN DURBAN, 12 APRIL 2017
– Program Director;
– Dr Khulu Mbatha – the Author of the Book, Unmasked: why the ANC has failed to govern;
– Mr Prince Mashele – Political Analyst;
– Comrades and Friends;
– Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure indeed to be part of this momentous occasion – the launch of this penetrating thesis entitled “UNMASKED: why the ANC has failed to govern”. In fact, I feel very much honored and elevated for this rare opportunity to make a critical assessment of a book authored by an organic intellectual and a towering giant of our struggle, Dr. Khulu Mbatha.
As we do this critical evaluation, many sad political developments are taking place in our land and the political environment is highly polluted and polarized with dramas and theatrical episodes unfolding especially within the liberation movement itself. We see certain foreign negative tendencies starting to manifest and these tendencies are weakening the capacity of the ANC as a governing party to execute its tasks of leading the society and of fulfilling its historic mission of creating a united, nonracial and prosperous society.
Just within this past week we have witnessed the following developments:
– the acknowledgement of the ANC leadership that there are deeply entrenched divisions even among the Top 6 officials who for the first time openly paraded and expressed their differences in public;
– the physical fightings of councillors in Tshwane on the day that Solomon Mahlangu, a true combatant of MK was executed by the apartheid juntas;
– many people across the color bar, are protesting and calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down after he effected an unprecedented cabinet reshuffle;
– the heckling and booing of ANC leaders during the memorial service of Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe and the Rivonia Trialist Amhed Kathrada, who has written the Foreword of this book we are launching this evening.
– the 24th anniversary of the assassination of Chris Hani marred by vitriolic attacks and disagreements within the ANC-led alliance;
– once more the courts have turned to be the political battleground at the time when the executive arm of government is found wanting, confused and prevaricating;
– the Constitutional Court granting a right of access to hear the case on the secrecy of the vote of no confidence motion and the call by former president Mbeki that Members of Parliament must vote with their conscience and not along party lines;
– today, the 75th birthday of President Zuma, opposition parties declared “a day of national action”, in one of the biggest march to the Union Building to demand his resignation.
Are these unfolding developments part of vast system of cronyism, degeneracy, nepotism and greed that Dr. Khulu Mbatha is referring to in his book?
For almost 5 decades, Dr. Mbatha has been a central figure within the ANC, and as a pedantic administrator, he served at the highest echelons of government. He is one of our most perceptive observers of ANC leaders and their contexts, from the generation of Oliver Tambo, Yussuf Dadoo and Alfred Nzo in exile, to the generation of Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.
This book “Unmasked: why the ANC failed to govern” is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the ANC and presents us with a raft of analysis and insight on an organization that is in serious crisis. It is not only brilliantly written but is a real triumph of scholarship and intellect which is much needed in our society today. Therefore this book is an important addition to the conversation on the ANC’s future.
Dr. Mbatha has succeeded in writing about the ANC, its epoch-making events and its policies in a manner than is not superficial but he gives a forthright and honest assessment of the ANC and its problems in a hard hitting book which pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.
With his fertile mind, keen eye and powerful pen, Dr. Mbatha is telling us in the face the cancer that is destroying the ANC, but he is also telling us that the ANC’s solutions can be found within and beneath, and not in the quackery of demagogues and rogue elements who have captured its soul.
Khulu Mbatha’s powerful argument – that “there are ANC ministers serving today who have no idea as to what policies are being implemented”, is spot on.
I assert that he is correct because of the following reasons:
– in Mandela and Mbeki’s cabinets you had well trained economists like Mbeki himself, Tito Mboweni, Pallo Jordan, Alec Erwin, Kader Asmal and Jay Naidoo. In Zuma’s cabinet you only have Rob Davies who survived the Midnight cabinet reshuffle and Des van Rooyen who has proven to be very inexperienced and incompetent.
– In the Mandela and Mbeki Cabinets too, you had brilliant legal minds who would give proper counsel like Jeff Radebe, Joe Slovo, Dullar Omar, Zola Skweyiya, Mac Maharaj and Kader Asmal. In Zuma’s cabinet only Jeff Radebe and Mike Masutha remain after the dismissal of Ngoako Ramahlodi more than a week ago. For me, it is for that reason that the government loses each and every case in our courts.
It is pity that many appointees happen to be the products of a deeply rotten patronage system that rewards political loyalty and pays no regard to merit or competence. This is because merit and competence were not the requirements for their appointment and they will not be the benchmarks on which to judge these appointees.
– In the last 23 years of governance, the ANC’s economic policy has not only undergone a serious metamorphosis but it has also vacillated from RDP, GEAR and ASGISA to now NDP and the so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET).
For me RET policy is nothing but a hollow and radically sounding proposition that lacks underpinnings, ostensibly to defeat the white monopoly capital, used by those who want to deflate our focus from the filthy Gupta family and to loot, plunder and pillage the public resources and to tag anyone who opposes it as an enemy or enemy agent.
– why would a government minister or senior executive in the state owned companies not be concerned about our downgrade into junk status? Or even celebrate it? Is it lack of knowledge or sheer arrogance which has defined the ruling elite? The truth is that the downgrade will have profound negative economic implications for our country.
If true is to be told, our leaders have made the last 10 years memorable for wrong reasons: theft, pillage, patronage, widespread corruption, precipitous economic decline and very importantly, the crushing of our post-apartheid aspirations. Dr. Mbatha offers us a way out of this mess that will work because it is based on his personal experiences and clear understanding of the political tools of analysis.
Dr. Mbatha argues that the troubles the ANC is facing today are not new. In the depth of his analysis, he provides a truly indispensable insights on the ANC especially during its times in exile especially how it went about to resolve its problems.
He tells us that the ANC convened the two national consultative conferences in Morogoro (1969) and Kabwe (1985) after serious crises had occurred. The conferences helped the ANC to reorientate itself and brought about unity within its ranks. But the conferences also made “the ANC displayed various weaknesses, both subjective and objective, manifested in theoretical and practical instances”.
In the light of the current crisis and the quagmire of ignominy and scandals the ANC is entrapped in, why are its leaders waffling, prevaricating and dilly-dallying to convene the consultative conference as proposed by its veterans and stalwarts?
Is it true that the ANC was never really ready to rule in 1994 as Dr. Mbatha argues? As I was reading the book time and again, I kept asking myself a question. Did the writer say why the ANC has failed to govern or why is the ANC failing to govern?
The truth is that after the adoption of the OAU/Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration in 1989, the ANC established the Ready to Govern Unit to prepare for governance in the post-apartheid South Africa.
Through its basic needs programs to address issues like water, electricity, housing and sanitation, and its welfare, education and health care programs, the government has improved the lives of many people especially the poor.
In many programs, the government has joined partnerships with many key players to ensure that its developmental agenda is people’s driven and centers. It has also transformed the public service to reflect the population dynamics and the new values and ethos.
The key programs that the government has not been successful is the land reform program and the transformation of the economy.
Taking the totality of the situation and the role played by the ANC government since the advent of the new constitutional dispensation in 1994, has the ANC failed to govern as argued by Dr. Mbatha? I don’t believe so. I think that there are both successful and unsuccessful stories.
As Dr. Mbatha argues that “the ANC is suffering from poor leadership and has failed to leave with the times”, the ANC members can take this criticism to the heart and use it as a lucid and witty guide to resolve its troubling paradoxes and contradictions and to extricate it from the morass it is entrapped in.
In the current epoch, we must ask what kind of leaders must take our country forward? What constitutes leadership? What do we mean when we say we have entrusted someone with the responsibility to lead? And are leaders the shepherds or the sheep?
So let’s examine it…….
Undoubtedly, throughout its 105 history, the ANC has produced formidable cadres capable of independent and critical thinking, collective responsibility and resilient to manipulation. It produced cadres who loved and enjoyed politics; cadres who were propelled by a burning desire to serve their organization and cadres who were willing to die for their country.
Apart from being radical and militant, ANC leaders are renowned for their intellectual acumen, adroit political skills and adherence to the principles of organizational democracy: democratic centralism, collective leadership, majority rule and criticism (self- and constructive criticism).
In order to defeat the system of apartheid, leaders of the liberation movement led by the ANC were politically descent, inspiring, honest, supportive, organized, interactive, understanding, God-fearing, trustworthy, hard-working, ambitious, selfless, smart, intelligent, respectful, responsible, independent, faithful and caring. Do we see these qualities in the present generation of leaders?
As anonymous said, shepherds are expected to guide, direct, protect and point to a path. They cannot follow wherever the sheep want to go. Sheep may want to cross a public road in search of greener pastures. But if shepherd notice an oncoming car, should he let the sheep to cross the road or is it his responsibility to ensure they do not cross, even though they agitate to do so?
True leadership is about being willing to swim against the tide; it is about climbing the tallest tree to get a better view; it is about casting your eyes beyond your toes while tripping on the obstacles along the way; being the north star to the wandering travellers; saving the crew of a sinking ship, even when to do so could lead to death.
Even parents do not indulge every whim of their children. It is their duty sometimes to say no, even if the child kicks and screams for whatever takes its fancy and seems nice to have at the time.
To students, teachers are like directors to a cast. Sometimes they must ask learners to do what they might not like doing – homework, reading the classic, calculus, or even punishment for transgressing certain values.
Even in the military, leaders may be called on to issue unpalatable orders which may not be explained until the danger has passed. If an officer spots a sniper aiming at his men, he will not first explain the danger, thereby eliciting panic. He will instruct his troops to take cover and only later to explain the danger.
When the fire breaks out in a public place, those in authority do not shout “fire” and engender chaos. They direct the traffic to an outlet only to explain later to people when it is over.
These are examples of what leaders may sometimes be called upon to do. Leaders may have the unenviable task of doing what is unpopular, disliked, resented and opposed by society.
We elect people to lead us because in them we see qualities that lend themselves to taking decisions or forming opinions that are independent of – if not opposed to – popular sentiments and attitudes.
Leaders should not mirror what the led are yearning for when they know the dangers of what is being asked for. Leaders do not abdicate their responsibility by becoming caves, echoing the many voices. Rather, they trumpet what is right and what is for the greatest good.
In the current conjecture we need revolutionary leadership to move our country forward. We must reaffirm what the American couple and activists, James and Grace Lee Boggs said in 1974 in their book Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century: “Revolutionary leadership, if made clear, involved far more than sympathy for the oppressed or hatred for the oppressor…… revolutionary leadership is not for the fainthearted, the flamboyant, or the fly-by-night, the easily flattered, the easily satisfied, or the easily intimidated, the seekers after excitement or popularity or martyrdom…. (revolutionaries) are those who would give the rest of their lives to it”.
It is my considered view that Dr. Mbatha has succeed admirably in defining the acceptable limits of modern leadership. He challenges a mindless political orthodoxy with a compelling assessment of what the ANC needs to do for itself and for all South Africans as a dominant political party.
Unlike other latest books on the related subject, Dr. Mbatha draws on a remarkably wide range of examples and this book is distinguished by the relevance of its insights and by the precision and clarity of its exposition.
The book asks for self-reflexibility. It asks for honest admissions of moral culpability. Its embedded message is that ANC leaders will mature when they accept blame. This is indeed an important book arguing for ANC’s turning point to realize its historic mission of a creating a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.