Fallen black professionals feel betrayed by ANC

Published Jun 16, 2024


A number of former government executives, politicians and analysts feel that the governing party and the government have failed to create an environment where black professionals can be “audacious and bold” in the pursuit of the transformation of the South African economy.

They say that among other policies aimed at reversing inequality, the ANC pushed its transformation agenda for 30 years since democracy.

Despite the party’s policy direction, former Eskom executives Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, and former chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration and the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development, Dr Makhosi Khoza, felt the ANC failed to protect black professionals in top government positions.

Ex-Transnet CEO Molefe stated that the work environment within which black professionals operate, “especially those who are in government and parastatals”, is a toxic space where fears reigns.

He said: “The fear of a misstep. The fear of offending a politician. The fear of making an honest mistake. The fear of being wrong. This results in them holding back and being unable to put their best foot forward and being innovative in transforming South Africa.

“There is not sufficient emphasis on the pride and honour of working in the civil service. Simply put, success is never celebrated.”

Molefe claimed that mistakes and failures were “viciously punished” by those in power.

“The politicians are made to be feared and their interests reign supreme. We urgently need a culture that nurtures, embraces errors and genuinely seeks to correct and align rather than to punish and destroy.

“At the same time, success and excellence must be celebrated and rewarded.”

Illustrating some of the ANC’s miscalculations, he mentioned that the governing party was too quick to “call out the firing squad to eliminate” its valuable and trusted members of the ANC youth league, led by Julius Malema.

“Rather than put measures to correct what they considered errant behaviour, the EFF is the embodiment of the consequences of the failure to embrace the mistakes of those who you lead,” said Molefe.

He also argued that some civil servants suffered because of the impossible situations politicians land them in.

Koko said he held no grudge against the ANC’s dwindling electoral support, adding that he was satisfied that voters punished the ANC “for all the wrongs the party did”.

“I hold no beef for the 40% votes, and I was never entitled to any protection from them. The Cabinet of the ANC dismissed me from Eskom. The Labour Court interdicted the Eskom board from implementing the unlawful decision of the ANC Cabinet.

“This 40% party cannot be trusted with the rule of law … Lastly, what must happen is that, in the next local government elections, they must be finished off,” said Koko.

Dr Makhosi Khoza says the government has failed black professionals.

Dr Khoza told the “Sunday Independent” that she had been persecuted not only as a politician, but also as a scholar, for her stand against ANC corruption when she chaired some of the committees in Parliament.

“Those implicated in corruption and those deemed incompetent are promoted. Yet those of us who are ethical, experienced, hard-working and highly qualified, are demoted and punished …

“This is the brief story of my persecution. I’m not an exception, it is a norm. I know countless black professionals who are unemployed today. They are engineers, medical doctors, mathematicians etc,” said Khoza.

She mentioned that In 2017, Cambridge University Press published over 500 pages of her book, “Uzalo: IsiZulu Grammar Textbook”. However, she felt her work was deliberately being sabotaged by some of her former colleagues.

“Incredibly, the system I developed is key to elevating all the nine RSA official Bantu languages as tools of prestige and prosperity. UKZN admitted that my extensive work on the isiZulu grammar logic system was a breakthrough.

“To my shock and surprise, the University of KZN also demanded that I apologise before it could consider working with me.

“I believe the ANC used me as an example to send a clear message on what happens to independent-thinking natives who do not consent to the ANC abortion of the mission to liberate them,” Khoza said.

Independent political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe blamed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, arguing that it has proven to have been the most disastrous since 1994.

“Its anti-black agenda led to the marginalisation and purging of African professionals. These were replaced by mainly white professionals, (or ones) of Indian origin. It did not end there. During its tenure, we also experienced the decimation of black businesses. This took many forms,” said Seepe.

Seepe said he felt that the government's failure to honour their invoices on time for services rendered was another concern.

Sunday Independent