Living in the Future; Making the ANC Irrelevant

‘Don’t worry darlin’, now baby don’t you fret/ We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet.’ So sang Bruce Springsteen. In the spirit of the Boss, it’s time to live in the future, and not let the bastards keep us down.

I am tired of hearing about the ANC presidential race, as their destruction of SAA, education, public trust etc, continues unabated. When you’re on the Titanic, the name of the captain is not highly relevant.

One thing I am convinced of: the ANC, because of its inherent ideology of ‘party first’, has no mechanism of reform. It will crumble – the only question is what it takes down with it.

In other words, for the few remaining patriots out there, the fight for the future of the country must not be fought on the turf of the ANC. Instead, a creative minority of non-partisans must begin solving our country’s problems outside of the world of political parties.

What would such a future look like?

The first problem we have in this country is a lack of civil trust and cohesion. So, first of all, we need a social unity outside of politics. And this unity cannot simply be economic and business-oriented. It needs to be spiritual – inclusive but transcendent of our ethnic differences. We need to feel a kind of rootedness within our own borders amongst our own neighbours. How do we get this? I don’t know. Maybe we need time, and for our church and traditional leaders to take the lead again, instead of looking to speak to and about the ANC constantly.

Secondly, when it comes to government failure, we need to find ways to outflank the corruption and ineptitude. We need innovators who can propose new ways of educating the youth outside of the state system. We need innovators to find new ways of delivering healthcare. Driverless cars and trucks could be a game-changer in how transport infrastructure is managed. When the government is faced with competition, they will have no choice but to appoint people who can deliver.

Thirdly, as citizens we should just look to implement the best parts of the National Development Plan ourselves. Why can’t business speak directly to labour in creating a new employment compact? The opportunity is there as Zuma alienates the unions and the SACP. Why can’t the JSE Top 40 create their own ‘sovereign’ wealth fund and re-build our country? There is no use in waiting for some mythical ANC saviour to arise – even Mandela was unable to deal with the inertia of the party. Neighbourhoods and cities should organise to solve local problems. We need to be guerillas in a new struggle of nation-building.

Fourthly, let’s negate the madness of the EFF before it becomes a real problem. Where are the citizens forming an emerging farmers’ movement, who can then organise to be mentored by current commercial farmers, and then lobby for land from state and private owners to ensure once again we are a net food exporter? That is surely what farming land is for?

Finally, lest anybody think I have a grudge against the ANC, I would say that this was exactly the vision of Chief Luthuli, who imagined the ANC dissolving once apartheid had ended, so that its factions could focus on Parliament instead of shenanigans in (cruel irony) Luthuli House, the ANC’s den in Jo’burg.

Yes, it would be nice if we had a functioning government. And yes, most of the items above are probably impossible. But – do you want to live in the future or not?

The Springsteen song (which was actually about George W Bush winning re-election) mentioned above ends with the line, ‘My heart’s been torn asunder,/ Tell me is that rolling thunder,/ Or just the sinking sound of something righteous going under?’

We’re slipping under the waves; it’s time to fight for the future. What other option do we have?