Once again, the ANC, like most of us, was caught off-guard last week with the announcement that one of the finest sons of our soil was making his comeback at Megawatt Park as CE. In March, the ANC found itself in a similarly embarrassing situation with the midnight cabinet reshuffle that plunged the economy into a crisis that was unfortunately celebrated by certain senior party leaders.
I had always thought the ANC was the strategic centre of power, where crucial decisions are made. The events of the recent past have disabused me of this notion. One gets a sense that there are two Luthuli Houses running our affairs. Perhaps it is time that the Luthuli House in downtown Joburg be called Lower Luthuli House and the other one be called Upper Luthuli House. The two Luthuli Houses will have to work out a system of co-ordinating decision-making so that the lower house is not always found wanting when it comes to issues that affect public life, such as the composition of Cabinet and key appointments in our state-owned enterprises.
Lower Luthuli House has been embarrassed enough by the strange decisions made at the level of government in the recent past. If it wants to reclaim its position and role in society, it will have to act fast. My sense is that SA still needs the ANC, but not any ANC. The country needs an ANC that is cohesive, drives coherent policy positions and stops behaving like a party in exile. Running the affairs of the state comes with huge responsibilities.