In a contemplative yet hard-hitting book, the author reflects on the failure of the ANC, in its 22 years of governing South Africa, to honour the principles and values of the Freedom Charter and to come to terms with the Charter's precepts for running the economy. The negotiations at Codesa, and the compromises the ANC had to make, set the scene. Yet things did not turn out as expected. Mbatha asks:
Were the expectations and hopes vested in the ANC unrealistic? What has given rise to such widespread feelings of disappointment? How do we account for this failure to deliver long-lasting, meaningful and tangible results?
With a series of penetrating questions Mbatha probes the motives of the ANC.
How prepared was this liberation movement to become a democratic government? Did the ANC understand the economy and how to manage it? Did the speed of the transition wrong-foot the ANC? Is there still a role for the Tripartite Alliance?
He muses about the course of events before and since the transition to democracy that should have told us then, and certainly tells us now, where the ANC is going so terribly wrong.
Throughout the text, aptly-chosen observations from the main-players – from the ANC itself and from its detractors – point to the thinking behind the decisions (or lack of decision), about the economy in particular, that have brought South Africa to where it is today.
The book charts the disappointment of an ANC stalwart that, in his own words, 'after 22 years of freedom, part of our dreams seem to be fading away'. It is a searing and honest account, a must-read for everyone who wants to know what really happened.
About the author
Khulu Mbatha has been with the ANC for over 40 years and has held various positions within its structures. He is a self-declared member of the 'group of 101 stalwarts', signatories to the document 'For the Sake of our Future'.
Unmasked: Why the ANC Failed to Govern is published by KMM Review Publishing