Rude awakening – The ANC’s fall from grace in the Al…

It took a coalition government for the ANC to continue to govern Groutville in KwaZulu-Natal, home of illustrious ANC leader Albert Luthuli. This rude awakening is an indictment of the ruling party and a sign of its fall from grace from the liberator party to the fractured party whose poor governance oppresses many and which now needs the help of opposition parties to govern places that for many years were painted black, green and yellow.

Groutville is in the heart of the local municipality of KwaDukuza, where the ruling party has dominated elections since 1994. But the ANC won only 49.56% of the vote in the local elections of November 2021, against 62.76% in 2016 and less than 50%. necessary for municipal control.

ActionSA was the surprise winner, securing 8.47% of the vote in KwaDukuza just months after its formation, securing five board seats. But it was the African Transformation Movement and the African Independence Congress that gave the ruling party the majority it needed to govern.

Many young people in the neighborhood said they were “fed up” with politics, while traditional ANC voters did not vote – tired of the “promises” politicians make in the run up to an election – and that opposition parties convinced their supporters to vote in Numbers.

Mthobisi Ngcobo (29), a resident of Emishini in Groutville, passed his baccalaureate more than 10 years ago. He said many young people in and around the region see no point in getting involved in politics. “We don’t have jobs, we don’t have opportunities. When we vote, the people we vote for forget us and enrich themselves and their immediate family members.

“We live in difficult conditions, even the roads are full of potholes. We hear that Chief Albert Luthuli fought for us…but the leaders we see today are different. They are self-centered and only do things that will develop themselves and their families. It might be better if we had ethical leaders like those of Chief Albert Luthuli’s time,” Ngcobo said.

Vuyisile Nxumalo (36), a resident of Ediphini in Groutville, earns his living by selling roasted chicken legs and heads to passers-by. She supports her family of seven, including her two children, with this money.

“We hear about the great struggle led by people like Chief Albert Luthuli. We take someone from the community and make them a councillor, next thing you see they have mansions and houses in the suburbs. They forget us,” Nxumalo said. “Our lives here haven’t changed for the better. There are no jobs – most young people here don’t have jobs. I would do anything to get a decent job so I could support my children and educate them. The future looks bleak for many of us here.

Chief Albert Luthuli. (Photo: Ranjith Kelly/sahistory.org.za)

Back to basics

Thubelihle Dube, president of the ANC Youth League for KwaDukuza region, said the league was concerned about the party’s electoral losses in recent elections. The ANC must change its course and focus on bringing real change to people’s lives, he said.

“We need an ANC that can go back to basics, an ANC that will strengthen the alliance. We need leadership capable of implementing crucial ANC policies. We need an ANC that can economically empower black people, especially unemployed and/or unskilled youth,” Dube said.

“These things are not limited to KwaDukuza; it is a national problem. We want economic development conducive to the development of our people. Most black people don’t have land, capital to start a business or skills. We need leadership that will compel the private sector to help radically transform this economy.

Some ANC leaders annoy residents by flaunting their “ill-gotten wealth” while failing to render services, he said. They act arrogantly because they think they are untouchable.

A place of learning

Groutville, formerly known as Umvoti Mission Reserve, was established in 1844 by Aldin Grout, a reverend of the American Missionary Society. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Luthuli, its most famous resident, died in 1967 in a mysterious train crash near his home and critics of apartheid firmly believed – some still believe – that security guards apartheid had contributed to his death. The National Prosecuting Authority has been considering reopening the investigation into his death since 2018, as it is widely said that the apartheid-era inquest hastily concluded that his death was an accident without regard to all available evidence.

“We want the truth,” said Albertina Luthuli, Luthuli’s daughter who turned 90 on March 14. “We believe that the investigation by apartheid authorities into my father’s death was nothing more than a whitewash. There was so much evidence that was never considered. We need this investigation so we can have closure as a family.

Albertina, like many residents of Groutville, is critical of the current leaders of her father’s party. “The leadership of that time was different and faced different kinds of challenges,” she said. “After 1994, the challenges we face [are] get to work and get serious about transforming the economy. It is not an easy challenge…I believe that if my father’s generation of leaders were alive today, they would have rolled up their sleeves and taken on the serious task of transforming the economy and all aspects of people’s lives. our people.

Former President Thabo Mbeki opened the Luthuli House in Groutville as a national institution in August 2004. Well-manicured lawns and shady trees welcome visitors to the Luthuli Museum and provide a serene setting to reflect on the accomplishments of the one of South Africa’s most influential political figures. Thulani Thusi, a researcher who has worked at the museum since its inception, said it was an eye opener.

“The main function of the Luthuli Museum is to educate. It also serves as an educational place for the younger generation,” he said. Some secondary schools and universities use the museum as a place of study for their students. “They take advantage of the museum’s collection as direct learning, so students can see the objects in real life and note additional information they can’t find in their textbooks.”

bad leaders

Adre Shandu (84) is one of the few residents of Groutville who knows Luthuli personally. “I knew him very well. I even knew his Zulu name, Mvubi. I think he was my father’s age. We often saw him sitting under the tree outside his house, reading or writing. Even back when he was banned and making a lot of headlines,” she said.

Ben Ndaba (82), a semi-retired Reverend from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa in Groutville, the church in which Luthuli worshiped all his life, said he remembers the time when he and his twin brother Joe Ndaba were growing up under the tutelage of the man they had known as “Chief AJ Luthuli”.

“He had a stature above any leader of his time,” Ndaba said. “That’s why his fame has spread all over the world. If he were to wake up today, he would be discouraged by what he sees. Many of today’s leaders don’t deserve to be called leaders, and their dirty laundry is exposed daily in the media.

“As church leaders, we believe that the leadership of the country should not be chosen on the basis of political parties, but should be chosen on the basis of the ethics and morality of the individual, as well as his or her There are many bad leaders who rise to positions of power because they are catapulted by their political parties. DM168

This article was first published by New Frame.

This story first appeared in our weekly newspaper Daily Maverick 168 which is available for R25 from Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Spar, Checkers, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. To find your nearest retailer, please click on here.

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