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A characteristic of the ANC — which some argue ought to disqualify any political party from government  — is the way in which its leaders seem to claim no responsibility for anything.

This was evident in two separate, unconnected events last week: first, former president Thabo Mbeki’s attack on Cyril Ramaphosa for being so sluggish; and second, mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s attack on Eskom CEO André de Ruyter for not being the “fixer” that Eskom needs right now.

In itself, Mbeki’s assessment of Ramaphosa wasn’t wrong.

But it disclaims responsibility for Mbeki’s own actions, or lack of them, and his party’s role.

This is a man who first chose Jacob Zuma as his deputy president — mitigated, to some extent, by his later decision to fire him. Mbeki’s instinct for secrecy, and his cabinet’s delinquency in not acting on Eskom’s power warnings, are why we’re here.

In Mantashe’s case, it is the fact that he dragged his feet on renewable energy that has hobbled SA’s ability to get generation capacity online.

Unless ANC leaders begin taking responsibility for the mess the country is in, SA will forever be caught in the midst of its bombastic deflection. 


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