The Silence of the Lambs in the ANC

The silence of the lambs in the ANC has become absolutely deafening. What, in God’s name, are they going to bleat in years to come, when they are most surely going to be called to account?

I don’t have the energy to list the scandals that have rocked South Africa since around 1994 – from Sarafina to SASSA and everything in between – nor do I have to. Every South African knows.

It is this knowing that is precisely the heart of an outstanding article by Mark Heywood of the Treatment Action Campaign, published in the Daily Maverick this week https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2017-03-05-you-knew.-because-we-told-you.?utm_source=8bit&utm_medium=internal#.WL1BwvLS_3g

Mr Heywood writes emotively to the ANC: You knew. Because we told you. Read it, but prepare to be angered and hurt all over again.

I could not have said it better, so I won’t try. My contribution is just this: When the day of reckoning comes, as it certainly will, what are all the bleating lambs surrounding Mr Zuma going to say to the nation in defence of their silence today (and for the past 20-odd years – but especially and most crucially, NOW)?

If there is anything about life in South Africa today that still causes incredulity on my part, it is that the lambs have not yet morphed into wolves, ready to defend the Beloved Old Party from the sniggering chief.

After all, most ANC loyalists have been doing it for years. Protecting their organisation against all criticism, expounding its virtues, excusing transgressions in the name of the liberation and so many struggle heroes.

So why are they bleating and not howling at the moon? Scared to be the lone wolf?  No need. Wolves operate effectively in packs and they could bring the leadership to its knees in a matter of days.  In the process, win the admiration of millions. Then, rebuild.

The whole sorry mess that is the ANC has literally happened before our eyes.  The unbelievable part is that this tortured mass suicide wasn’t even necessary. The ANC had it made.  Whoever could have imagined how short the glory days would be?

Readers who know my history in opposition, could say that as I’ve never supported the ANC,  my criticism is to be expected.  Not at all.  This is a piece expressing my astonishment. After all, as Maimane and Malema would agree, the imbroglio playing out in all its ugliness and embarrassment serves opposition parties well and will take both of them sweetly into the 2019 election and beyond. Johannesburg and Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay have toppled.  More will, without much effort on the part of the government’s political opponents or its critics.

Forgive me, but I resort to the only poetry that I can recite – and amend – without too much browbeating:

Jacob had a little lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow;

And everywhere that Jacob went

The lamb was sure to go.

It followed him in every way,

Which was against the rule;

It made the people gasp and say

Not to the firepool!

And so the folk began to doubt

But still it lingered near,

And waited patiently about

Till Jacob did appear.

Why does the lamb love Jacob so?

The trusting people cry;

Why,  Jacob loves the lamb, you know,

Especially on the braai.

Break your silence, little lambs, before you’re roasted.

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