May 18, 2012
Criminalisation of the StateBack
© Reuse this
In this article, however, I want to focus on a narrow but equally worrying aspect of the deep State. I am worried about how internal battles in the African National Congress (ANC) may lead to the criminalisation of the State and how such criminalisation may itself impose deeper levels of decline on the organisational, qualitative, strategic, moral, disciplinary and leadership dimensions of internal ANC dynamics. In fact, my main concern is that what I see as the criminalisation of some of our State agencies is part of a broader problem that both predates and is a product of the reconfiguration of the relationship between State power and party politics since the advent of democracy in 1994.
In addition, the reconfiguration of the relationship between State power and party politics seems to be giving birth to another tendency – the creation of political, security and intelligence networks that are based on the mutual interests of former apartheid Special Branch and intelligence operatives and their former liberation movement counterparts. All this is happening in the context of single-party dominance, a civil society movement that is only now beginning to wake up from two decades of slumber and a citizenry that is beginning to recover from the debilitating effects of being too reliant on the State and the party political space.
In short, single-party dominance and a demobilised citizenry, given a particular arrangement of political variables and configuration of political power, may be the greatest danger facing our democracy. Let me illustrate my point in the most alarmist of ways: those among us who are suspicious about the poli- tical motives behind the decision to review the work of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals, whose own motives I will not go into for now, must bear in mind that there is no court on this planet that can defend our democracy should the day dawn when society has become so demobilised that a faction of autocrats in the dominant party decides not to review but to scrap our Constitution altogether.
We have two choices – we can either hold on tightly to our sense of South African excep- tionalism or, in the belief that the undemocratic things that have happened elsewhere can happen to us, begin to add to those voices that are expressing genuine concerns about things ignoble that seek to entrench themselves in our political culture.
I am being alarmist for a reason. My intention is to scare the country and members of the ruling party into realising that some of the things that are happening in the ANC and some of our security agencies have the potential to poison our political culture and lead to the materialisation of our worst political fears.
As it is, we are trying to build a new nation out of the ravages of apartheid. Apartheid and 46 years of the single-party dominance of the National Party imposed a State-led culture of political violence and intole- rance on our people. The violence of the eighties and early nineties between supporters of the ANC and of the Inkatha Freedom Party was part of this apartheid logic of violence.
I am highlighting this dynamic out of the fear that, if not in future, some factions in the current ANC battle for Mangaung may be tempted to rely on a thinly disguised ethnic agenda and the expertise of former apartheid operatives in a campaign against real and perceived political enemies inside and outside the ruling party. I am being this alarmist because, if the ANC fails in its attempts at organisational renewal, opposition parties remain weak in relation to performing the task of being agencies of restraint, we continue to rely too much on politicians and political parties and succumb to the exceptionalist impulse, the most backward among us will one day take control of the ANC and the State with dire consequences for us all.
Ordinarily, I should be fortifying my argument with examples and the names of those I believe exemplify that which has caused me to pen this missive. Perhaps, I am being cowardly but the reality is that I am too afraid to risk the coincidence of mentioning names and my computer being stolen, my house burgled and cars stolen under the most suspicious of circumstances and being shot at.
Do you remember the song by Sting, They Dance Alone? It was inspired by the disappearance of activists, intellectuals, journalists, students and lawyers who dared to oppose an authoritarian Latin American regime.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Aubrey Matshiqi News
Article contains comments
Updated 1 minute ago Gautrain bus drivers went on strike on Wednesday, forcing certain bus services to be suspended, the Bombela Concession Company said. "Please note that a wildcat strike by Gautrain bus drivers in Johannesburg has resulted in the suspension of bus services from Park,...
Updated 12 minutes ago Electrical and lighting product distributor ARB Holdings on Wednesday reported increases of 27% in its operating profit and headline earnings a share for the year ended June 30, to R203-million and 50.28c respectively. The increase in operating profit resulted in an...
Updated 13 minutes ago The City of Tshwane aims to roll out 171 buses by November as part of the inception phase of its bus rapid transit (BRT) system, with the view to establish additional stages and introduce further buses if there is demand.
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The Built Environment unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a cost-competitive ultrathin concrete pavement surface that, for the upgrading of unpaved roads to paved roads, is more durable than many other pavement alternatives...
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), based at Sutherland in the Karoo region in the Northern Cape province, is promising to become an important instrument for research into dark matter. "SALT is shaping up to be very important for answering questions about...
The South African tool, die and mouldmaking (TDM) industry is being revitalised to locally produce the tools, dies, moulds and fixtures required by the manufacturing sector. Local TDM capability is key to enable the manufacturing industry to remain competitive, says...
Misfortune often finds its roots in the smallest of things. Such as a centimetre or two. Or is that in inch? Perhaps a foot? Swedish or Dutch? The French had reason to blush in May as it became apparent that national rail operator SNCF had ordered 2 000 trains that...
The repositioning of the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta) and its business processes will ensure improved performance in reaching strategic targets and in providing customer service.