LETTER: ANC’s ‘hegemonic control’ is lip-service to rule of law

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Chapter 9, General | 0 comments

The ANC’s reluctance to comply with the Glenister rulings is because they require it to cede control of the anticorruption entity that would enforce laws against serious corruption

27 February 2023 – 17:31


Linda Ensor’s article set out some well-founded complaints by Cas Coovadia of Business Unity SA (“State not engaging business, says Busa,” February 26). Here is a possible reason: 

The ideology of the ANC-led tripartite alliance, which appears to be approaching the end of its 30 years of dominant party status, is set out in the tenets of the national democratic revolution (NDR). The central pillar of the NDR is “hegemonic control of all the levers of power in society”. The aim is to control everything, not just government.

The business sector is a “centre of economic power” in the NDR worldview, and it is not controlled by the ANC. Hence the reluctance of which Coovadia so rightly complains. Hegemony is what the Russian Revolution was all about; it led to the formation of the USSR and to untold misery and suppression while the corrupt Soviet Union lasted.

In the NGO sector the experience is identical to that of business. By way of example: there has been no meaningful engagement with the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) on its thoughtful and constructive positions on BEE, expropriation, education and race relations, other than via official public participation channels that are required by law.

The efforts of Accountability Now to engage on reform of the criminal justice administration have also drawn a blank, despite the suggestions made being based on the binding requirements of the law as set out in the Glenister litigation.

“Hegemonic control” are the ANC watchwords, hence the reluctance to engage. There is lip-service to the rule of law and unwillingness to comply with the Glenister rulings because they require the ANC to relinquish control over the anticorruption entity that would enforce the laws against serious corruption properly. The issuing of plenty of orange overalls to those convicted of serious corruption might please the decisionmakers at the Financial Action Task Force and end SA’s pariah status.

The late Prof Kader Asmal, an ANC grandee and co-author of the constitution, advised that the NDR be abandoned after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the adoption of constitutional democracy in SA. Would that his advice were heeded; it is still very good advice that the ANC would do well to heed, even now.  

The NDR aims a square peg at the round hole of the constitutionalism so overwhelmingly adopted by South Africans almost 30 years ago. Also, the NDR just doesn’t deliver; it has not and never will actually work for the people of SA,

Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now

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