Saturday, August 18, 2012
Academic blasts SA as ‘super bantustan’
Rescoop Restless Nation: Making Sense of Troubled Times
Our rainbow nation has become a restless nation. Citizens are faced with poor service delivery and corruption, while a new bling culture has infected both politics and business.
William Gumede takes a fearless look at these and other burning issues which threaten our democracy: self-interested leadership batlles within the ANC, attacks on the constitution, black economic empowerment strategies which only benefit a few, racism and moral bankruptcy. Does the government have the ability - as well as the will - to lead us out of this malaise? Gumede is not convinced.
Yet in his distinctive style, he not only criticises but also offers solutions to our unique challenges. Restless Nation brings together some of his best writing.
Academic blasts SA as ‘super bantustan’
By Mphumzi Zuzile
on August , 2012 in Dialogues
Africa should consider the East Asian states of South Korea and Japan as examples of how countries should be run, says Professor William Gumede at a Daily Dispatch Dialogue held at the Guild Theatre. Picture: MARK ANDREWS
A LEADING political academic and author has likened South Africa to a “super bantustan” with leaders more interested in self-enrichment. When the ANC took power, it did not understand the South African state, Professor William Gumede, author of Restless Nation – Making Sense of Troubled Times, said at a Daily Dispatch Dialogue at the Guild Theatre on Monday night.
“Under the current presidency, people think that the president’s office gives them more power .… Instead it gives you about 30% of that power,” said Gumede, who was also author of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC.
“For the rest, you can persuade people through credibility and honesty,” he explained.
Patronage was the order of the day in South Africa which has a “ super bantustan-led government” – a “patronage society” led by a “patronage organisation”.
“If you promise patronage within our society … you become the president of the ANC,” Gumede said to loud applause.
African states, especially South Africa, could learn a lot about effective governance from East Asian political parties, including those in South Korea and Japan, who were doing better in government than their counterparts on this continent.
“They succeeded because these parties have long-term development plans, something that African parties do not have,” said Gumede.
“The ANC came into power in 1994 but only released its national development plan last year, when they released the Planning Commission report.”
Asian political parties, he said, wanted to be wealthy in the economic context, not in the political context.
He also accused the ANC of not taking education seriously.
“The ANC does not see education as a way out of poverty. How can you hold a national policy conference and not even discuss the issue of textbooks in Limpopo and anywhere in the country?” Gumede asked.
“Asian independent movements were clear where they wanted to be in 30 years or 40 years after independence.”
Professor Somadoda Fikeni, who was also part of the dialogue, said Gumede knew what to write and when to write.
Fikeni commended Gumede for his latest book, Restless Nation, for making sense of troubled times. He agreed with Gumede that the nation was indeed restless.
“The transition has proven far more complex than we thought and there is no electoral or theoretical tool to explain what is happening,” said Fikeni.
He added that South Africa suffered from a deficit of honesty, courage, leadership, vision and commonsense.
“We have a dilemma where we have a dysfunctional state aspiring to be a developmental state,” said Fikeni.
On the Limpopo book scandal, Fikeni questioned the logic of books being dumped.
“Why would people throw books into the river? It is like asking why serial killers kill – I cannot understand.” — firstname.lastname@example.org