Below is an interview Political Analysis South Africa’s Stephanie Naidoo had with Political Analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, on the recent resignation of Dr Makhosi Khoza from the African National Congress (ANC).
Interviewer: In your opinion, what may have inspired Dr Makhosi Khoza’s resignation?
Prof. Seepe: The first thing is, the writing was already on the wall – it was only a matter of time before she parted ways with the ANC. The ANC has created internal mechanisms and structures to deal with disagreements; disagreements in the ANC are not new – they have always been part and parcel of the ANC’s total existence, because what we have in the ANC is the broad church, and the broad church means that there are different strands of thought. So, effectively you would expect that, from time to time, there will be very strong disagreements, but the structures of deliberations were created precisely to contain these disagreements within the organisation, and at times these disagreements were seen as enriching the organisation. But, when you decide to define yourself outside of the ANC, as she has done – it leaves her with no ‘legroom’, or justification for her not to face the disciplinary process of the ANC; and it was very clear that because she was also being celebrated by those who are historically hostile to the ANC, that the verdict was going to be “guilty”. So, it was just a matter of time as to whether she waits for the outcome, or she walks away – so, we chose to walk away; because it is more dignified, than being expelled.
ANC members have said that Makhosi Khoza wanted to be expelled in order to gain sympathy from ANC enemies. Could you comment on this?
Of course, she was was already playing to that gallery; most of the people that were inviting her, are people who are not known to be sympathetic to the ANC. Even the people she said she was going to work with, groups like Corruption Watch, are not seen as friends of the ANC. So, the ANC is justified in coming to that conclusion. As I said earlier, it is not unusual for members of the ANC to disagree, but often those disagreements are handled internally by the organisation
Dr Makhosi Khoza has said that corruption in the ANC has been institutionalised, and that by being vocal, she has been placed in an uncomfortable disposition in the party. The ANC, however, has said that she was using President Zuma as a scapegoat to build national credibility?
There is a problem with that posture, it shows that she is holier than thou; there are many people who are in the ANC, that are not happy about what is happening, so to begin to paint the entire organisation with one brush, is unfortunate. But, it is not surprising; people like her, are the type of people who would enjoy the media attention; but this media attention is going to disappear, as she is no longer in the ANC. She enjoyed the attention because for some in the media, and those in the opposition, there is nothing more exciting than having the ANC at war with itself. But, when you are outside, you are no longer relevant. I mean, you have seen that happen with the likes of Bantu Holomisa; we have seen that happen with the likes of Terror Lekota, and people like Vavi; Vavi was a darling of the media until he was no longer part of the ANC alliance. So, you are only relevant, as long as you attack the ANC from within because, when you do so, you are deepening the conflicts in the ANC, and therefore you will kill it. But, when you are outside, people are expected to assume that posture.
What is your analysis on the prospect of Khoza establishing a new political party?
I think that she would be being too ambitious. She is not seen, except for in the media, as a heavyweight. The only time that some of us came to know of her, was sometime this year when she was having the issue with the SABC; but before that she was a back-bencher, and then promoted to where she was, as the Chair of the Portfolio Committee. But, I do not see that as giving her enough star power to start a new organisation. I mean, even with the likes of Malema; Malema was able to start a new party because he was able to use all the formations that had already existed, and that he had built, in the ANC Youth League, and Makhosi Khoza does not have that; maybe outside of the ANC, but if it is outside of the ANC, it does not matter.
What is your overall analysis?
What is happening in the ANC, for me, is an historical inevitability. The idea of a broad church, as far as I am concerned, was always not sustainable, and what I think is happening is that the glue that has kept them together, has become unstuck and is beginning to show. What I think the ANC lacks, is the courage to wake up to that reality, where it can tell some of its comrades “we have traveled this path together, but I think we have reached a stage where we have to go our separate ways.”