The recent compilation of the candidate lists for ANC parliamentarians leaves much to be desired.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to consolidate unity with the Jacob Zuma slate, which has the sole intention to loot South Africa.
The ANC is like a patient who has been diagnosed with leprosy – the leprosy of corruption – and the only reasonable cures are consultative conference and electoral reforms, both rejected by the patient, the ruling slate.
We are left with a bleak future, with winning elections but entrenching thieves in all departments of state.
Some people harbour illusions that Ramaphosa has a general panacea for our problems.
It might be true if we assume that Ramaphosa will be like Deng Xiaoping in China or Mikhail Gorbachev in the former Soviet Union (although Gorbachev’s reforms led to the collapse of the state, and the Soviet Union is no more while Russia continues).
If Ramaphosa follows Chinese reforms it is possible to lift South Africa from its current state.
But ANC party discipline has evaporated, the ANC is captured, and the branches are used mostly as voting machines for various slates between elective conferences or general and municipal elections.
So Ramaphosa does not have the privilege that Deng had.
Ramaphosa has been in the ANC’s national executive committee from 1990 since the first elective conference in South Africa.
So most of the current problems have been created in front of his eyes and there is no evidence that he fought against the wrongs. Maybe he was laying low?
The national executive committee deteriorated in front of him; it got rotten to the level where the smell of defecation could be felt in Dubai and India.
Can Ramaphosa clean the sludge? There are no guarantees.
In the ANC top six we have DD Mabuza, the former premier of Mpumalanga, who used money for building a school to buy election votes on the way to the Nasrec elective conference.
We have the secretary-general, Ace Magashule: a close ally of the Guptas, the man who presided over fraudulent ANC provincial elections in 2012 before the Mangaung elective conference and who was taken to the Constitutional Court where the election results were annulled.
We then have as national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, the former secretary-general, the man who interrogated the banks on behalf of the Guptas after they closed Oakbay accounts.
And there is Jesse Duarte, whose brother has close links with the Guptas.
So Luthuli House is still technically feeding from the trough of the Guptas.
Is there anybody there who can meet the requirements of Through the Eye of the Needle, the ANC’s 2001 document that outlines the attributes that will help identify a true leader? I have my doubts.
It looks like in the entire national executive committee (estimated to be 86 members) we might have very few who can meet the requirements.
The fact is, a majority of the members are implicated in state capture, the VBS bank heist and Bosasa Security, while the few who are not directly implicated are guilty of watching fraud without reporting it to the police.
Maybe they can be forgiven because the police were captured too, and it would not have added value to report to them.
But according to law they were supposed to report to the police and open the case, which they did not do.
The reality is that as a political party, and especially as a governing political party for 25 years, the ANC is much too top-down, bureaucratic and centrally controlled.
There has been no reform of the methods of control of the ANC from the days when it was a secret, underground organisation in South Africa, with a military arm in exile as well as inside the country engaged in a struggle of life and death against a ruthless oppressor state.
Too much of the political culture that was inescapable in the struggle still continues in ANC, despite South Africa’s transition to universal franchise.
We are still contaminated by the dictatorial culture of the apartheid state, our enemy, and the top-down military discipline that was required to fight it.
Although it was necessary for the ANC to learn the tactics of the communist states in the war against the apartheid regime, we have to unlearn those tactics now that they are harmful to the country.
A party headquarters with tentacles in all departments of the state does not encourage a professional and competent civil service.
It encourages only loyalty to party HQ, benefits are distributed in line with loyalty to the bosses, in line with the ruling slate within the ruling party.
In the same way, it is our shame that ANC MPs are slaves of Luthuli House, and unaccountable to party members and to the voters.
This is a heritage from the communist past in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – which led to the downfall of those regimes.
Albert Einstein was supposed to have said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Are we mad?
• Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views