It is quite telling that the biggest threat to the survival of our democracy does not come from an outside force or some insidious and secretive insider plot, but from an official, well-documented and proud ANC policy.
Formalised at the ANC’s 50th Annual Policy Conference in 1997, the party’s official strategy of Cadre Deployment has seen a pushing of party-loyal appointees into positions of power and influence for almost two decades now. Over this period, nothing has played a bigger role in the erosion of South Africa’s public service.
Cadre Deployment cuts across all three branches of government (Legislative, Executive and Judicial), all three spheres of government (National, Provincial and Local), and extends beyond government into state-owned enterprises.
The goal is unambiguous and transparent: to expand the reach and influence of the ruling party so that the affected institutions effectively become extensions of the party. In addition, it also offers the president an endless source of “rewards” for loyalists who are prepared to forego independence and critical thought in exchange for good positions.
The result has been a catastrophic breakdown of administrative capabilities in government, and particularly at local and provincial level. The toxic combination of maladministration, waste, nepotism and corruption that inevitably follows cadre deployment at these spheres of government has led to a near-collapse of basic service delivery across most provinces and hundreds of municipalities.
However, at national level, this cadre deployment policy has an even more sinister intention: the capture of critical institutions in order for the ruling party to gain complete centralised control of the state. This not only extends their reach and influence, it also safeguards the president and his powerful clique from prosecution, effectively offering them a license to loot.
Cadre deployment is a direct threat to the principle of separation of powers, it’s a threat to our Constitution and it’s a threat to the normal functioning of our democracy. It is of utmost importance that we safeguard our institutions if we hope to prevent our country’s slide towards dangerous majoritarianism and, ultimately, a failed state.
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Tags: cadre employment