How is it possible that a party that started with such fanfare and had such imagination can appear to be self-destructing before our very eyes? I am talking about the Congress of the People (COPE), of course.
Many will remember the excitement it created in promising the birth of an opposition that we could respect. There are millions in South Africa who will never vote for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in their lifetime because we remember too much, are too suspicious of the people in charge of that party and have no respect for many of the DA’s policies. It brought suprise, intrigue and really articulated some of the frustrations felt by previously loyal ANC voters.
Although people have much historic respect for the Independent Democrats (ID) leader, Patricia de Lille, we can’t quite figure out who the other people in that party are. So, it seems we’re not likely to have ID as a real, large opposition either.
Of course, if the Pan Africanists in the various parties that now exist were a little more organised, or AZAPO more visibly convincing, there might be hope there too.
But there has been no such hope. This is why COPE offered an interesting turn in recent SA politics. It was not just the fact that many of the founders came from the same liberation struggle background, it was also that this party offered something new to South African politics.
Even if your loyalty to the ANC was unshaken, you could not really dismiss COPE as insignificant. The ANC electoral campaign clearly took COPE seriously in the run up to the 2009 elections. The amount of energy and attention that the ANC paid to COPE showed, even if just metaphorically, that this was a formation that mattered. Think about how little attention the ANC pays to other small parties – even when these are more established. Now compare this to how much ink was dedicated to the ‘divorce papers’ by Lekota, the speculation on Shilowa, the violent utterings by various ANC leaders as they spoke about their previous comrades who has crossed over, the controversies about who else was organising/raising money for COPE, how hard the ANC fought to prevent COPE from having a name of any sort with leftist associations, etc.
But COPE seems hell bent on showing South Africans that the grand promise was all just an act. How else do you account for the repeated bizzare incidents in the public – from the delayed election presence (which they eventually fixed and spectacularly so), to the endless media mess on whether there should be a Congress or not? Bitter in-fighting does not inspire confidence.
Many people voted for COPE, and as with any other political party, the vast majority of these people are not card carrying members – and will never be. If COPE does not stop irritating and embarassing the people who voted for it in such numbers, they can pack up and go home. The best thing they can do now is to surprise their audiences, and pleasantly so, by staying clear of things that will lose them further confidence. They need to remain an alternative for future elections. This will not be the case if we see more priests (bishops)/uniformed men as compromise candidates, more machismo between the two top leaders, there is more talk of a split, or other boring events typical of mundane politricking.
Come on, people living in South Africa may have very high appetites for soapies and dramas, but we prefer these on our screens not in our political life. With their techno savvy, some of the big money behind them, and their media savvy, COPE really owe us something a lot more imaginative, whether we vote for them or not.
In a previous post, I was particularly tough on COPE for the absent posters so close to the elections. I have also been irritated with the change in the face of COPE, again, so close to the elections. But those posts are there for you to read (and re-read?) another time.
I still think the Dandalas might be a liability to COPE, but would be very happy to be proved wrong. This past weekend one of the papers carried allegations that Hlomla Dandala, the highly talented, popular and gorgeous actor son of the COPE presidential candidate, Mvume Dandala, had been involved in an altercation with some LRC (previously SRC for you oldies) member on a university campus. All I have to say on the matter is that Dandala junior sure does generate a lot of bad press – pre and post COPE associations. So, he is consistent in getting weekend press coverage for alleged dodgy behaviour.
I have completely changed my mind about COPE visibility, at least in Jozi. The Congress of the People may have taken an eternity to appear, and then surfaced with lame Dandala and Lekota posters on street poles. They may also have produced unnecessarily messy confusion with two faces on the COPE election posters.
And I don’t want to even think about why the Manifesto on the website only appears in Xhosa and English, or why a party as slick as COPE does not have a copy-editor so that we don’t have to read a “summerised manifesto” instead of a summarised one on their website. And I won’t say any more about the strange punctuation of dates. (Yes, I am pedantic about these things as well as paranoid about even the appearance ethnic nationalism.)
But now the Congress of the People have taken over entire low flying bridges and metres of space on the freeway (M1) as well as a brilliantly located three-sided advert just before you cross over the Mandela Bridge from Braamfontein into Newtown. This is some coup because the latecomers are suddenly very visible in the city. I don’t know whether this is true outside of Johannesburg since I saw very few eThekwini naseMgungundlovu (in Durban and Pmburg) when I was there a month ago.
Since my last KZN trip predated the huge COPE banners popping up all over Jozi, other cities could also be in the changed environment. Those driven to comment on this posting, please say something about the COPE posters in your city or part of the country, in addition to whatever else you want to say.
In the city of Gold, there is a huge banner along the Parktown (St Andrew’s) exit on the M1 south, which is also visible when you get onto the M1 north from the Empire/Jan Smuts onramp; another equally big one just before the Grayston off-ramp again on the M1 north. But the best one I have seen covers three sides of a building in Braamfontein. It’s just before the Nelson Mandela bridge on the Braamfontein/Wits side of the bridge. From some angle it looks like it is ON the actual bridge.
So, what’s so cool about the specific COPE ad, and the other ones around the city? First, I like that they are on the freeway because, like the UDM ones that were first to grace the M1 freeway in Jozi, you can’t miss them and they say something about the parties advertised as fast paced, on the go parties, like Jozi itself. The UDM billboards are where ads for products usually are, so they are well placed to draw the drivers’ and passengers’ attention without being reckless and driving into the car in front of you.
COPE has that bright yellow that you can’t miss even from the corner of the eye, and even at night, which helps it stand out when placed on a grey concrete slab. The COPE colours grab you, and the minimalist writing is also quite succesful because you can read the message almost instantly. When you start getting bored with the yellow, the bright blue and/or bright red are sure to get you. The simplicity is both striking and very effective. Thankfully, no politicians’ faces on these ones, so they can be used again, if COPE hang around as a party of the SA political scene. This earns COPE a few stars for enviromental savvy.
They get a few extra stars for Lyndall Shope-Mafole as the Gautend premier candidate as well. The former, Director General at the Dept of Communications, was elected onto the ANC NEC early last year, post-Polokwane, so she clearly had the favour of the new leadership of the ANC. Yet, off she went to join the new kid on the block. A mystery?
Next, COPE get five stars for location, intertextuality, and wit. I am re-tempted to vote for them because I am very entertained. Regular readers know I want to be entertained during electioneering. In a good way too. COPE are making me feel a lot more hopeful that they are all they were cracked out to be at the November convention. Then, they offered the possibility of newness, imaginative platforms and politicking.
They have my attention now because I work near the Nelson Mandela bridge; my office is in Braamfontein. I drive on the M1 to and from work most days of the week. So, just like I have been seeing Holomisa’s face on that banner for months, now I see COPE everywhere. This can be both a good and bad thing.
On the one hand, such location is an advantage because you begin to read and visually ingest these billboards and banners even when you’re not thinking about them. Advertisers know about this sort of thing, which is exactly why they use billboards. Or atleast part of the decision. So, the visuals become part of your natural thinking and life environment, holding your attention even when you don’t realise it, I imagine. Does this mean people can end up feeling it’s quite ‘natural’ to vote for a party they have started to think about as part of their everyday life? Is that a serious stretch? It might be. But maybe not.
On the other hand, the placing may be a handicap because we could grow so accustonmed to seeing these banners and billboards that they fade into the background of our lives. That may also mean we forget about them if they are up too early. They really become like all the other billboards up on the freeway. I can’t really tell you, off the top of my head, what else is up on my route right now. Except for the Dark and Lovely ad with Sonia Mbele/Sedibe, which is on a building face opposite COPE’s ad. That is quite strange, but maybe there are no other billboards and banners on my way to work anymore. Maybe the Zuma posters on every streetpole and lightpole on the freeway (with the Indian cricket and the Lyric Theatre ads in between) have me so overwhelmed that I can’t see anything else. Or, more likely, the regular billboards have faded into the background.
I don’t know what the research says about this, so this is just speculation off the cuff.
Back to the election visibility of COPE. The above is all well and good, but because I live in my head somewhat – both an occupational hazard and one of the reasons some of us are drawn to certain occupations (it certainly is not the renumeration that attracts you to academia) – I have been thinking about the third, huge COPE advert that I see often as I go about my way. Wit draws attention, that’s for sure.
The Braamfontein/Nelson Mandela COPE ad is the best placed strategically. First, the building is visible from Braamfontein, from the CBD and from various interconnecting freeways into/and out of the city. Location is key in terms of maximising impact. Then there is the fact that it is placed next to (and from some angle it seems as though it is ON) the Nelson Mandela bridge. The bridge connects the academic (Wits)/activist (NGO filled Braamfontein Centre) part of Jozi with Newtown, Jozi’s cultural precinct in more ways than geographical. The COPE ad and bridge also hover above the Jozi CBD, again in more than physical ways. There is a confluence of meanings to be read just from where the metaphoric meets the physical.
But placing it on Nelson Mandela bridge is no accident, I am pretty sure. COPE is premised on its links with the liberation movement: in the name choices attempted, the party name settled on, the oft-cited liberation struggle credentials of the leadership (except Linda Odendaal, but that is another blog posting that may never happen), the fact that the website spells out the full name unlike other parties that rely on acronyms, the rampant patriotism and appropriating the colours of the flag for the logo, endless references to defending democracy and the constitution and so on.
What are the odds that the physical link with Mandela is accidental?
Now, when you speak about the poster you really have to literally link Mandela’s name with COPE, even though Mandela is an ANC member. This happens in your language. But it also happens at the level of association.
Can you get better credentials in the public imagination than saying your name next to Nelson Mandela (Bridge)? Or resting on Mandela (Bridge)? I think not.
There are other unsavory associations to be gleaned from the location of the COPE-claimed building, of course. The building (and therefore the advert) is not really on Nelson Mandela bridge, it’s actually on its right. On Mandela’s right? The Black DA?
These unfortunate readings are only suggested when you look at the bridge from up close, as you approach the bridge. But by then it is already too late because the gigantic letters spelling HOPE have got you. And we sure need hope in this country, even when we disagree on which party to turn to for that.
a) since I am still an undecided voter;
b) COPE is not paying me to electioneer, and my days of canvassing for the ANC are in the past; and,
b) I am not an intellectual for sale,
I will be thinking about another party to vote for tomorrow, and there will be a blog on that too.
What fun electioneering offers!
What is up with COPE and their presidential candidate? I have read the justifications in the papers and listened to discussions of this on radio and tv, and I still don’t get it. Why does COPE think that having Bishop Dandala as presidential candidate is a good thing? How does this move make COPE more attractive?
As far as I can tell, there are a few broad arguments in favour of Dandala’s election, and I find them all unconvincing. Then I have a few additional reservations of my own about putting my X next to COPE now. I am not saying that I was ever sure I’d be voting for them. But I was considering them for my national X, along with the two other liberation movements I had not considered seriously before. Terror Lekota’s face would have tempted me to put my national X for COPE, for I certainly will NOT be putting it next to Zuma’s face, so my national vote is up for grabs. How I feel about Zuma as state president is no secret, as I have noted numerously in public writing, here and elsewhere. But Lekota’s face I could have lived with, even if I knew the ANC would win anyway.
Before you send me lots of comments about how reactionary I am to say this, let me say upfront that I don’t care who thinks I am reactionary for not voting for Zuma. I won’t vote for a proud misogynist homophobe just to prove I am not reactionary. I am still torn about voting ANC privincially and eventually locally.
Many of my friends have already told me how absolutely dodgy I am to like Terror. And maybe I am dodgy. Maybe it’s nostalgia from when he was Free State premier and he kicked butt. Maybe it is because he is convingly anti-ethnicist and I just love it when he refuses to be bullied by people who claim to speak one language better than he does. I liked that when people were pulling the Xhosa trip when he said “uZuma akabhadlanga”, Terror retorted “that’s nonsense, I speak Xhosa as well as the next person”. He said he meant Zuma has no sense; they said he meant he was stupid. In English it sounds the same, but ngesiXhosa I am convinced it is not the same thing. Akabadlanga is closer to saying someone is crazy than to claiming that they are stupid. Maybe I like that Terror says he has changed his mind about various things, and he may keep changing his mind – like he did before when he moved from BC to ANC. All of this is perfectly fine because we are human beings, and we live in a democracy. But Terror is not going to be president, so that is a moot point.
The last thing I am going to say about Terror today is that he had a lot to do with COPE entertaining me in the first place. As can be seen from previous posts, I like being entertained in the run up to the elections.
With all due respect to Bishop Dandala, why should I vote for him? First of all, I don’t think just because Zuma is deemed “immoral”, that the best way to counter that is having a man of the cloth. I think that makes for predictable, boring politics. Give us someone we can believe in, who has charisma and who grabs and keeps our attention. You are not going to get me to vote for anybody based on a morality argument. That argument belongs in a religious community not in a secular state.
I want a president that is ethical, whether he is moral or not. Frankly, I don’t know what is moral and what is immoral. I do know what is oppressive, violent and as a result wrong. The language of morality is irredeemably religious and extremely shortsighted. Moral people have no problem with the death penalty, or throwing their lesbian daughters out of their homes when they come out.
I don’t care about Zuma’s morality. I care about the political implications of his actions and words. Morality is one of those fuzzy concepts like “taste” or “decency”. These fuzzy concepts can be made to mean anything, and historically they have worked in the most oppressive ways – against slaves, against Blacks, against the Irish, against the Jews, against lesbians and gay men, etc. As far as I am concerned, “moral regeneration”, “family values” and talks about morality, when they are not faith confined, are just conservative rubbish. I don’t even talk morality in church. Leave that kind of stuff to the ACDP.
I am an active Catholic, so this is not even about not believing in religion. Nor is it about that silly business of factionalism and denominations between people who identify as Christian. I would say exactly the same thing about a Catholic bishop, or an Imam or a Rabbi, for that matter.
Secondly, I like living in a secular state. Religion is a personal choice, and I cannot see how a priest in the presidency does not send the same kinds of worrying messages that a soldier in the presidency does. The only cool thing about a priest in the presidency would be the fact that the president goes drag sometimes. Let’s keep the uniformed people from powerful regulatory institutions (church, army, police) out of the presidency, please.
Thirdly, Bishop Dandala was the head of Methodist Church of Southern Africa until recently. The Methodist Church’s stance on termination of pregrancy and same sex marriage is unclear to me. I recognise that members of any faith community differ – just like I am feminist, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-reproductive technologies even though I have not left the church I was raised in. The Catholic church has policies that oppose termination, contraception and artificial insermination, but it also has a sterling record of fascist top leadership. (That was a trick “but”.) I am a walking contradiction in this regard, but my religious political hope comes from people like Sister Bernard Ncube, Father Smangaliso Mkatshwa and Archbishop Mpilo Desmind Tutu. So, I am not judging Bishop Dandala on what he chooses to believe in his heart. Nonetheless, a presidential candidate who wants my vote needs to tell me in a straightforward manner how he feels on abortion and lesbian marriages.
Fourthly, I am not sure that a “new” political face is the best way to go at this point. I am all for change, but too much change at once needs much explanation/clearly articulated direction. Change in an uncertain direction leads to insecurity. People don’t vote for parties they are unsure about. Did COPE not have enough headaches from the Affirmative Action controversies? Are they really as clueless as they pretend to be about how many Black votes that confusion has cost them? Do they not realise how pissed off many professional Black women are about the affirmative action PRACTICE at COPE which reinforces the national standard? Do they really have to make everything new?
Maybe they do, but then this will affect voter confidence. People won’t vote for COPE if they’re not really sure of what COPE stands for. This new kid on the block has a lot of potential, but COPE will need to do a lot to recapture the November excitement. If it manages to do that again, then the party stands a chance of double digit percentages in the polls.
There are many voters whose voting choices are unclear for the first time. COPE is neither giving me hope, nor making me feel particularly excited right now.
I must say that all the legal wrangling between Shikota (COPE) and the ANC is more ridiculous and protracted than a soapie these days. After a highly successful National Convention, the new “ANC splinter” party was prevented by the old liberation movement from using the first name proposed: South African National Congress. I can see the logic here somewhat since SANC does look a lot like ANC and it was a lazy name choice in any event. Besides, the ANC-aligned civic organisation is called SANCO, which looks even more like SANC. It therefore makes sense for the ANC to set their lawyers at Shikota for proposed name no 1, since it would cause confusion eventually. However, I am not entirely sure that the voters would confuse the two so much as it would just confuse the general public discourse outside of election season. You don’t believe me? Humour me and keep reading.
Consider all those poor future students (aka learners) sitting in a history class or later a lecture on SA politics. They would have to negotiate their way through African National Congress (ANC), South African National Students Congress (SANSCO) which then became South African Students Congress (SASCO), South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) none of which are supposed to be confused with the non-political player, South African Computer Olympiad (SACO). That makes ANC … SANSCO …. SASCO … SANCO … SACO. This is all well and good for those of us alive today because we can keep track if we are South Africans and SA residents older than 25. Many of us lived this history. But imagine those who are a few months old right now. It would be a right old nightmare to have to remember that SACO and SANC are not “Congress-aligned”.
Having said that, maybe that was part of the point for Shikota. The fact of the matter is that SANC, if that name had been allowed, would have conjured up the very connections to the liberation struggle that SANC/SADC/COPE as names also evoke. In other words, Shikota is not just any new party. It is one formed by people who also have a Congress-alligned past and contribution, among other things. This is why the ANC is so livid and willing to have the Lobe-Shikota express entangled in legal battles until kingdom come. Or some other such.
Yes, the ANC does hog a huge part of the left in this country. The remaining left (PAC and AZAPO) is so splintered that they don’t even contest this hogging of the entire left legacy by the ANC. However, when some of their own (Lyndall-Shope, Ngonyama, Jack, etc) all fortify the Lobe-Shikota express, and do so without letting go of claims to the same anti-apartheid struggle that they gave their lives to, the ANC has a serious contender for the first time. If I were the ANC and trying to secure power, and to ensure that everybody else in the political landscape remained my poorer cousin, I’d also want the new formation to look like a bunch of “reactionaries”. You just cannot let reactionaries use your history and claim your victories, if you are a comrade worth your salt. Legacies are worth defending, comrades.
And therein lies the crunch. Fact of the matter is: the Lobe-Shikota Express is a mass of comrades, so because the reactionary talk (or cockroach or snake talk bandied about) doesn’t stick, you have to try something else. I would bet that very few people even within the newly conservative ANC believe Terror is a counter-reactionary. Zuma, Malema, Nzimande, Vavi and the whole lot can foam at the mouth as much as they want. But Terror Lekota as a counter-revolutionary? Please! This insults the South African public beyond measure. It is as ridiculous as all this war talk targetting those who disagree with Malema’s big brothers coming out of one side of the mouth, while “we are a movement that values debate” comes out of the other. Forked tongue anyone?
Further fact of the matter is: COPE could very well run off with many of the disgruntled ANC voters (and some members). They are a very real threat. They have the same history individually that their new adversaries, former comrades have. And since the ANC clearly does not have a new campaign for the next elections, then they are going to keep on trading on the past and pulling at our heart strings. Now COPE could do the same if they wanted.
Suddenly, for the first time, the ANC vote could be split. No matter what then ANC says, it is fighting for survival and to maintain its dominance in the hearts and voting hands of most South Africans. Legacy goes with language, symbols and names.
So, the new organisation chose another name. Alas, that too was not to be.
The second name choice: South African Democratic Congress (SADEC), was just plain weird to me. Not only does it have the Sadeco connotations, which I would imagine lefties people would very clearly not want to be associated with (given the IFP roots and connections), but it also makes a person think of the bizzare Southern African Development Community (SADC). Believe me, given the mess in the region (Swaziland’s crazy king, Zimbabwe’s dictator, SA’s recalled presidents and bloodhound youth leaders) is the worst possible choice for a new political party. Everybody calls SADC “sah-de-c”. The ANC did not even need to bother contesting that one because people would definitely be confused in conversation about which sah-de-c was in question. There was a lovely hidden gift for the ANC in this second name. In fact, if Dr Ziba Jiyane (ex-chairperson of IFP and founder of Sadeco), and Lekota (ex-chairperson of ANC and founder of COPE) joined forces, the ANC would not need to label Shikota anything. They’d just have to say to most voters: “friends of IFP” and the voters would stay with the ANC or stay away.
And now comes COPE short for Congress of the People, with weird symbols that make sense only when explained. Also COPE is a pretty lame acronym since it makes me think of being overwhelmed and just managing to put one foot infront of the other. Coping is not what we need in this country right now. We need some vibrancy.
But the ANC has served papers on the group again claiming that only it is entitled to claim the legacy of the Congress of the People in Kliptown which came up with the Freedom Charter. The latest saga is so bizzare as to merit its very own post.
The news reports continue to tell us that the ANC says there is “no crisis” after the deputy president of the country resigned followed by ten ministers and three deputy ministers, after President Mbeki was forced to resign by his party. However, until a few months ago, it was the same ANC that argued that the party is not divided. Why then, if this was so, then, and is so now, did Mbeki need to be replaced by ANC vice president, Kgalema Mothlante, in order to ‘restore unity’ within the party? Which party? The same party that is not divided? Mh. Interesting.
Then we had outgoing President Mbeki declaring that there was no crisis on crime, on HIV/AIDS, on gender based violence, and definitely no crisis in the time lag before announcing the Zimbabwean election results. Well, history sure showed him, huh? There is still a crisis on all these fronts. He is an ANC man, even if the same party he devoted his life to has just humiliated him in public. I want to add “unnecessarily”, but when is it ever necessary to humiliate another person?
Nobody has quite addressed the question of why, with only a few months until the end of his term, Mbeki had to be pushed out? Unless, of course, we all read this for what it really is: a very public flogging and humiliation. It is now clear that the axed premiers, Nosimo Balindlela of the Eastern Cape province and Ebrahim Rasool of the Western Cape province, were a practice run.
With all of this as backdrop, then, forgive me for thinking there is a huge crisis yet again. Whenever we are told there is no crisis by ANC men, there usually is. So, given that the incoming caretaker president is a unifying figure in the ANC, why are so many of his comrades resigning after Mbeki was forced to resign? What are we to make of the allegations that the vice-president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka along with these ministers and deputy ministers had drafted and submitted their resignation letters before Mbeki had even made his speech on Sunday but that he had implored them to stay on?
Where is this fantastic, well-planned, thought-out transitional arrangement that the new bloc claims to have in place? Why are we supposed to be so excited about this unifying new president that has had a significant walk-out of members of his own party before he even makes his first speech? Who is he to unify? The new power within the ANC/alliance with itself? It sure looks like it.
We, the citizens and residents of South Africa, will pay for this in more ways than one. Morale is already very low and there is much talk of the ANC hopefully splitting in some sections of the country. This would be sad indeed, but which ANC would this be sad for? It is too late for the fracture bloc, if indeed it exists, to register for the next elections, which the new ANC bloc should not win if this is how they intend to do things. Unless there is more drama awaiting us in the soapie that is September month in South Africa.
I am also intrigued by the manner in which the leaders of smaller opposition parties in parliament are now scurrying to eat their words, especially the ID and DA, who were quite convinced according to public pronouncements that Mbeki needed to go, are now making senseless comments. So what is new, you may well ask. What do they care whether the ANC is reliable or not in what it promises and claims? Has it not been their business to claim that it is rubbish and unreliable anyway? It is even harder to take them seriously now than it is to take the new bloc seriously.
Along with many other South Africans, I suspect that the walkout is far from over. I was not surprised by many of the names of the resignees. I did expect a few more names than appeared on the list, however. It does matter that those who are leaving cabinet with Mbeki are mostly senior ANC and alliance members.
The resignations as of this afternoon are as follows:
President of the Republic, Thabo Mbeki (ANC)
Deputy president, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka (ANC)
Minister in the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad (ANC)
Minister of Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (ANC)
Minister of Public Works, Thoko Didiza (ANC)
Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel (ANC)
Minister of Defence, Mosiuoa Lekota (ANC)
Minister of Correctional Service, Ngconde Balfour (ANC)
Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sidney Mufamadi (ANC)
Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils (ANC)
Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin (ANC)
Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena (AZAPO)
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Loretta Jacobus (ANC)
Deputy Minister of Finance, Jabulani Moleketi (ANC)
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad (ANC)
That is 15 people out of a total of 40 national departments , but what that really means is that
* the presidency has lost three
* finance has lost both minister and deputy minister (although there are now reports that they resigned on the equivalent of a technicality and are happy to be re-sworn in)
* correctional services ministry has lost both the minister and deputy minister
The remaining ministries have either a minister or deputy minister still in place. Nonetheless, the exodus is not insignificant. It is a strong statement, no matter what the ANC NEC spokespeople would have us believe. It is no small matter when several ANC heavyweights walk out in this manner over something the ANC NEC says is not cause for division.
It makes me wonder what other significant fissures there are in this undivided party. What is next?