When Dali Mpofu left the ANC

This week the media has been abuzz, with the news of Advocate Dali Mpofu’s move from the ANC to the EFF. I’m not going to lie, I also raised an eyebrow when the news broke, and I was really grateful when the City Press published a piece by the man himself explaining why he’s left the ANC.

In his piece Mpofu tells his story or rather his ANC story. Mpofu’s earliest memory of political involvement  was in 1976, when his uncle gave his late sister a copy of Alan Paton’s cry the beloved country. She then shared the book and its interpretation with him. By the second half of that year, Mpofu had participated in a failed school boycott staged in solidarity with the fallen children of Soweto. And so it went on, at the age of 17 ,Mpofu underwent his first stint of detention without trial and torture. He spent his 18th birthday in a cell, months later after his release he was charged with sabotage and arson.

Through all of this, Mpofu says “…since those days, I have sworn by the Freedom Charter, which has now officially been abandoned by the ANC”. A few paragraphs later, Mpofu gives his short answer to the question “why”: “I did not leave the ANC but the ANC left me: still standing but stranded on the road towards that lofty destination where “the people shall govern” and “the people shall share in the wealth of the country”

I admire Mpofu for his bravery; it isn’t always easy to walk away from an organization that you dedicated most of your youth too. For many South Africans, the harsh reality is becoming clearer everyday “This is not the ANC they joined”. So how is it that the ANC still manages to win the majority vote? If so many people are so disgruntled with the ruling party, how are they still in power?

A simple little thing called loyalty.

The wounds of apartheid are still very real for many South Africans. Many families are still living in the hope that they will find their loved ones, or in the very least their graves. Apartheid may be over (on the surface) but for many people, the legacy has lived on all too vividly. As the saying goes, history is written by the winners. And as far as our history goes, the ANC set us free. This is our story and it seems were sticking to it. For as long as this is our story, the ANC will always be the majority party.

My Grandmother has probably voted for the ANC ever since she was eligible to vote in this country and she tells me that she will continue to vote for them. Her story is simple it starts like this “if it wasn’t for the ANC”. My Grandmother has this undying loyalty to the ANC and a very real fear that if the DA ever comes into power, were on a one way ticket back to apartheid. In our house, we do not speak Ill of the ANC.

My mother holds Jacob Zuma and the ANC in the highest regard, strangely enough she is perplexed at the fact that Angie Motshekga is still in the ANC. My mother cannot stand Angie, in fact every time she sees her on the news she often says “Can somebody tell this woman to put some cream on her face or something, why does she look like this?” So while my mother is well aware of all the rotten apples in the ANC, this is not enough to taint her beloved ANC.

For my Grandmother time has somehow both passed and stood completely still. She is no longer stuck in Apartheid anymore, but it seems her liberation party still is, and for their efforts back then they deserve her loyalty and support until she is no longer on this earth and I know that my Grandmother is not the only one who believes this.

At the last election, I remember My Grandmother speaking to another old woman that lives in our area, they both spoke excitedly about the fact they were voting, not only that but that they were voting for the ANC. The other woman said “Even when I’m blind, I will just tell them that I want to put an X next to the wheel and the staff” (She said this in Tswana which made it even more deep)

So we see, that there are generations that still believe that the ANC is the only party that will change their lives, and in the very least keep the white people out of power. I don’t think that I will ever fully understand this. In my mind apartheid is over. The struggle now is not one of racial equality so much as economic equality.

The struggle.

I look at the ANC and I see a party that has served its purpose. The ANC came together in a bid to fight for the rights of the people that were marginalised and dehumanised by the ruling party in apartheid. That is an ideal that they achieved. One cannot deny the fact that the ANC played a vital role in fighting apartheid. So as far as I am concerned, we cannot expect much more from the ANC. There is no way, that Mandela’s vision could be carried through by anyone else, but him.  There should be no shame in the fact that the ANC is unable to take us through our economical struggle. This was never part of the plan.

I think the shame lies in the fact that the ANC refuses to acknowledge the fact that they are falling apart at the seams and in actual fact they don’t know how to deal with anything else other than non-racialism.

People often get very upset when the ANC is critiqued for not fulfilling its promises. Yes, I am well aware that Rome was not built in a day, but I’d like to think that in 20 years, there was a very stable foundation. Is that too much to ask? To have tangible evidence of the future that we are working towards?

Today, I am not worried about the fact that, a black child will be denied access into a “Model c” school. I am concerned that a mother cannot afford to send her child to a “Model C” school. I am also concerned about the fact that people still find the need to send their kids to “better schools”. Equal opportunities for all? What  happened to that? It shouldn’t matter what school I go to, I should have access to quality education regardless of my economic background.

And if the ANC cannot make that happen, then it’s time to step back and let people who can make that happen take the wheel. “Because working together we can do more”

I agree with Dali Mpofu, the ANC has left us. In an attempt to empower black people, they have only divided them even further.What has BEE achieved?  Nothing, because the people who should benefit from it, know nothing of it.

The ANC is now a runaway train that only the blacks “who have made it”, can get on. While the rest, make the ride as comfortable as possible, at the cost of a measly little X.

So, if the ANC can’t do it, who can?

I wish I knew the answer to this, but I don’t. I am a Journalist not a psychic. But as crazy as this may sound, I have a little faith in a man called Julius Malema. Not enough faith to vote for him, but enough to hear him out. As radical as he may seem, I think that Julius means well. His call for economic freedom comes from the right place.

I don’t know anything about the EFF except that the Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Nldozi called me a cheap black and that Floyd Shivambu is too cool to respond to emails. I really don’t know why a man as amazing as Dali Mpofu would join their ranks, but to each his own. I admire him nonetheless.

Perhaps he will be the little flame that sparks the exodus of this defunct ANC. I honestly believe that our country is slowly falling apart at the seams, and it is because all the people that should be speaking up are not saying a word. So Adv. Dali Mpofu, you have earned your place in my “people that count” list for saying something, when everybody has chosen to say nothing. I can also go to sleep tonight knowing that the EFF, is finally in good hands! 


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