Mbalula dodges accountability as SA’s issues pile up

In a scathing opinion piece, Ivo Vegter’s focus falls on Fikile Mbalula, the secretary-general of the ANC authorities. He highlights Mbalula’s current interview with the BBC, the place he tried to deflect criticism by arguing that the ANC shouldn’t be outlined solely by the difficulty of loadshedding. Nevertheless, Vegter argues that the ANC’s failures lengthen far past the vitality disaster, encompassing a large number of points starting from healthcare and training to corruption and infrastructure collapse. Vegter asserts that the ANC’s monitor document demonstrates a scarcity of competence and integrity, and questions whether or not the occasion deserves to stay in energy.

Fikile Mbalula’s one single difficulty

By Ivo Vegter*

Secretary-general of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula, chides interviewer for outlining the ANC ‘by one single difficulty’, specifically load-shedding.

Fikile Mbalula, former cupboard minister and now secretary-general of the ANC, was one among three South African politicians interviewed for BBC HARDtalk by Stephen Sackur.

The nice comrade tweeted a video of the complete interview, apparently believing, as a pal of mine put it, that he killed it. (If he deletes it, the BBC posted an audio-only recording.)

It was not a formidable efficiency. It amounted to a complete lot of evasion, hand-waving, blaming exterior occasions, blaming colonialism, and defensive guarantees to do higher. I suppose somebody needed to go face the firing squad, and Mbalula drew the brief straw.

Mr Concern Fokol, as he as soon as styled himself, relieved himself of some quotable soundbites, together with an acknowledgement that South Africa may change into a failed state (although he says the ANC is working laborious to forestall that).


I need to deal with only one single difficulty, nevertheless.

Speaking about load-shedding, in addition to the ANC’s document on connecting individuals to the grid, extending social safety to the poor and constructing respectable housing, he stated: ‘In 30 years, we have now accomplished a lot, and but we’re outlined by one single difficulty. We’ll defeat that difficulty. Because the African Nationwide Congress, we’re decided to make sure that load-shedding is one thing of the previous.’ (My italics.)

We’ve been listening to that promise for many years, and no one believes it anymore. The ANC has had 25 years of warnings that Eskom would fall in need of electrical energy demand by 2007, and 16 years for the reason that first bout of load-shedding duly arrived. Apart from constructing two coal-fired energy crops that went billions over price range and years over deadline, principally as a result of they have been feeding troughs for corrupt ANC patronage pigs, Eskom has accomplished fairly close to diddly-squat to ‘be certain that load-shedding is one thing of the previous’.

However let’s go away that apart.

Learn extra: How the world sees SA – GIS on “The misplaced promise of South Africa”

Horde of points

That Mbalula thinks the ANC is unfairly maligned by defining it ‘by one single difficulty’, regardless of all its successes, is outrageous. The ANC’s period of misrule is outlined by a horde of points, none of which mirror properly on the occasion’s insurance policies, the occasion’s integrity, or the occasion’s sensible skill to manipulate.

The three achievements that Mbalula mentions have been all Mbeki-era successes. Since then, it’s laborious to call any difficulty (impartial financial coverage and an impartial judiciary come to thoughts) on which the ANC has not failed miserably.

Let’s think about only a few of them.

Hammanskraal. Expensive Fikile. Cholera impacts 0.05% of the world’s inhabitants. Within the absence of a serious pure catastrophe that destroys clear water infrastructure, it’s a must to be actually, actually incompetent to have cholera escape in your nation.

The one actual shock right here is that it took so lengthy. Solely 23 out of 995 wastewater therapy crops are Inexperienced Drop licensed. A complete of 334 (39%) of municipal wastewater techniques have been recognized to be in a vital state in 2021, in comparison with 248 (29%) in 2013. A complete of 102 (89%) out of the 115 techniques owned by the Division of Public Works have been recognized in vital state, in comparison with 84% in 2013.

Water reticulation and therapy infrastructure has been a looming disaster for years, due to widespread neglect and corruption.

Learn extra: South Africa’s essential ‘Container Hall’ rail line crippled by cable theft


The therapy of cholera is useless easy and dust low-cost: rehydration with oral electrolyte options, or intravenous Ringer’s lactate in extreme circumstances. To have 20 individuals and counting die of cholera requires an extra failure in major healthcare within the space, and this displays a broader failure with ANC government-run healthcare providers.

Outdoors the Western Cape, public well being services are collapsing. The federal government has needed to defend itself towards such claims since lengthy earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are continual shortages of important medicines. Individuals spend many hours, and generally days, ready to see somebody. Generally they die ready. Hospitals are overcrowded, and sufferers are generally doubled up in beds or unceremoniously dumped in corridors.

There’s a vital scarcity of nurses, whereas {qualifications} techniques are in disarray and the non-public sector is restricted by regulation from coaching greater than a given quantity of nurses.

The ANC thinks it may well magically flip all these failures into success by extending authorities healthcare to incorporate those that are completely capable of pay for healthcare themselves and turning into a sole central planner of all the healthcare system. For sure, medical doctors and nurses are deserting that ship earlier than it sinks.


Infrastructure collapse is throughout us. Our ports are among the many worst on the planet. Thieves are stripping railway stations and even stealing the precise railways. Our railways are damaged.

We just lately learnt that solely 18% of Grade 4 learners can learn for that means in any of the nation’s official languages.

Even earlier than the pandemic, Dr Nic Spaull of Stellenbosch College reported that 80% of academics lack the information that they’re speculated to be educating. For instance, 79% of Grade 6 arithmetic academics can not get 60% on a Grade 6 or 7 arithmetic check.

Greater than 60% of Grade 5 learners are incapable of even essentially the most elementary arithmetic – including and subtracting entire numbers or multiplying by single-digit numbers.

Wrote Spaull: ‘Roughly half of South African major colleges (45%) could possibly be described as “cognitive wastelands”, that’s that not a single learner can learn and make inferences. Equally, in 47% of excessive colleges not a single little one might attain the intermediate worldwide benchmark in arithmetic. In contrast, the determine in Botswana is 2%.’

The accountable minister (and dependable ANC cadre), Angie Motshekga, acknowledges that major colleges neglect studying comprehension, and added that ‘the nation lacked concrete proof concerning the simplest interventions’.

Not solely aren’t they educating kids to learn, they do not know how to take action! That, Mr Mbalula, is ‘a problem’.

Learn extra: Cholera outbreak in SA – a purple flag indicating extreme hassle that good governance might have prevented (UPDATED)


Chief Justice Raymond Zondo wanted 4 volumes to comprise all of the corruption uncovered by the State Seize Fee.

In his HARDtalk interview, Mbalula blustered that the ANC commissioned the Zondo report, however that doesn’t change the substance of its findings, or the truth that not a single senior ANC member implicated – Jacob Zuma, Tom Moyane, David Mahlobo, Dudu Myeni, Mzwanele Manyi, Malusi Gigaba, Lynne Brown, Brian Molefe, Gwede Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, Zizi Kodwa, Mozebenzi Zwane, Ace Magashule, and a bunch of lesser-known cadres – has confronted any penalties, inside the occasion or earlier than the courts.

The ANC has additionally not responded in any option to the suggestions and criticisms Zondo directed on the ANC itself, akin to that the coverage of cadre deployment is illegitimate and unconstitutional and was a root reason for state seize.

Unemployment. Sufficient stated. Poverty. Ditto. Each have gotten worse within the final decade or so.

The South African police in 2021 required pressing reform ‘earlier than it’s too late’, and in 2023 stays ‘in disaster’, ‘atrocious’, ‘mismanaged’, and ‘corrupt’. Because of this, crime is ‘uncontrolled’.

The federal government, regardless of protests that it’s non-aligned, has maintained agency friendships, together with high-level visits from side to side, with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, regardless of the latter’s unprovoked invasion and carpet-bombing of a sovereign neighbouring nation.

That this threatens relations with a great variety of our largest buying and selling companions, whereas Russia doesn’t even make the highest 25 buying and selling accomplice listing, appears to not have entered the easy minds of the dogmatically subservient ANC officers liable for what passes for international coverage on this benighted nation.

Learn extra: SA a failing state on the cusp, stirring evaluation from Dr Edward Mienie

Deserving energy

We are able to keep on. Land reform efforts have largely failed, with some 90% of redistributed farms now mendacity fallow. Service supply protests are so routine they not often benefit headlines in native information rags anymore, not to mention in nationwide media. Xenophobic violence is widespread, as politicians scurry accountable the failures of the ANC authorities upon harmless immigrants or refugees from nations worse off than our personal. Digital tv, nonetheless not accomplished, 12 years after the deadline. Financial development is flat, and properly beneath inhabitants development, that means we’re all getting poorer.

Expensive Fikile, the ANC authorities shouldn’t be outlined by one single difficulty. Load-shedding is maybe essentially the most vital proper now, however your occasion’s authorities is outlined by dozens and dozens of points, all of which characterize gross failures on the a part of the ANC. Whether or not the failures are of coverage, of implementation, of mismanagement, or of corruption, doesn’t actually matter to the individuals of South Africa. What does matter is the truth that nearly every part the ANC touches turns to mud.

That’s the level your interviewer was attempting to get throughout when he requested whether or not the ANC deserves to stay in energy. It doesn’t. Not by any measure.

*Ivo Vegter is a contract journalist, columnist and speaker who loves debunking myths and misconceptions, and addresses subjects from the angle of particular person liberty and free markets.

Learn additionally:

This text was first printed by Each day Good friend and is republished with permission

(Visited 417 instances, 417 visits right now)

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles