Cele and Sitole must go, but that’s not how it works in the ANC

Ideas

Cele and Sitole must go, but that’s not how it works in the ANC

In a government reliant on factionalism, mediocrity will always trump expertise and honesty

Bryan Rostron

Despite overblown rhetoric about coups and, from former president Jacob Zuma’s camp, veiled threats of civil war, the recent mayhem was the result of a decade of uncivil wars. The ANC is split by rival factions. It’s a fracture that runs through all state institutions. The same paralysing dysfunction still plays havoc within the police force, which helps explain the failure to predict or rapidly control rioting.

Quicker than cleaning up the debris or investigating instigators, there is one colossal mess that could be eliminated immediately. From the police shambles, it is clear the rot starts at the top. The police minister and commissioner have proved unsuitable for their jobs. Dismissals or resignations won’t happen — that’s not the way the ANC operates.

In an effective administration intent on being accountable to the public, Bheki Cele and Khehla Sitole would already have been eased out. Instead, reliance on factionalism and a balance of forces tends to reward mediocrity and habitually impedes or punishes ability and integrity. A talent for intrigue is customary in politics and bureaucracy the world over, but in our public service politicking and factional loyalty are at a premium, with consequent turmoil...

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