30 August 2020
One of the tactics used by information peddlers to sow confusion and dissent is to use false information with a tinge of truth. The subterfuge works like a charm.
This trick is well-used by former president Jacob Zuma in his response to an open letter by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Zuma had a few choice words for Ramaphosa, telling him that it is wrong to accuse the ANC of corruption when, in fact, only a few ANC leaders deployed in the government were corrupt. This is a game of tactics.
Those who have been convicted of
corruption and others before the country’s courts for myriad acts of criminality took umbrage at Ramaphosa’s statement that: “The ANC may not stand alone in the dock, but it does stand as Accused No 1. This is the stark reality that we must now confront.”
It was tactically imprudent of Ramaphosa to place an organisation in the dock. That the ANC is complicit in the rise of corruption in our country is
without doubt. Whether the ANC can be accused No 1 is something that, while arguably true, is also moot. But the statement gave the ANC’s rogue gallery, led by Tony Yengeni, the opportunity to have a go at Ramaphosa.
Yengeni is the last person to speak on ethics and rule of law. He is the first
convict in the arms deal. Then Zuma, of state capture infamy and an arms deal trialist, discovered his ability to write open letters.
Zuma states in his letter: “We cannot accuse their [ANC members] movement when it is us as individuals who undermine its [ANC] legacy.” He is right.
Technically, even if 90% of all ANC members were to be corrupt, that would not mean the whole organisation is corrupt. But we do agree with Ramaphosa that the ANC government has dropped the ball in the fight against corruption.
But Zuma then uses Ramaphosa’s tactical error to attempt to delegitimise him. “You write for your own desires, to plead for white validation and approval,” he says, before adding, “with your pen, you desecrate the graves of young men and women who lived and died
cruel deaths in the hands of apartheid security forces …”
Yet, it is Zuma who is awaiting trial for corruption and fraud and Ramaphosa is, on the other hand, appealing to members to fight corruption. The fact that Ramaphosa’s funders remain sealed by the Pretoria High Court means his commitment to fight corruption is itself not beyond reproach.
To be fair to Ramaphosa, he did not, as Zuma’s letter suggests, say all members of the ANC are corrupt. “To be quite clear, I am not suggesting that corruption is only a problem of our movement. Nor am I suggesting that corruption is widespread among our membership or leadership.”
It is simple errors that turned Ramaphosa’s well-intentioned message to fight corruption, a message those not implicated in corruption will not have a problem with. Joel Netshitenzhe, an ANC veteran, did say the beneficiaries of corruption will not give up without a fight. They use the tactical errors of the incumbent to mount a discredited fightback.