Mantashe’s criticism of the EFF – a response

A fortnight ago, in the course of a diatribe trained on the DA and the EFF, the General Secretary of the ANC, inter alia, said the following: “The worrying factor in this regard is the EFF’s use of anarchy and destruction as their modus operandi.

It fits into the paramilitary content of their strategy, which shows early signs of a rebel movement designed and calculated to undermine democracy and state institutions,” Mantashe said.

Anarchy is defined as ‘a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems’. Synonyms of anarchy, in the context of the current ANC led government, include disorder, chaos, lawlessness and mayhem.

Rather than try to remove the ‘splinter that is in the eye’ of the  EFF, the general-secretary of the ruling party would do well to first remove the ‘log in the eye’ of the party he leads which is also the governing party. Put differently, are the hands of the ANC sufficiently ‘clean’ and ‘innocent’ of anarchical conduct, thereby entitling its General Secretary to accuse the EFF of being anarchists?

The elements of anarchy

Firstly, ‘a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority’. Disorder is the absence of order.

 Is there order in South Africa today? The question is answered in the negative when consideration is given to the current disorder and conflict that prevails in the National Prosecution Authority, where political interference has just about rendered the NPA worthless as part of  the organ that is supposed to exercise the Authority entrusted on the NPA by the Constitution.

The role of the President in the chaos that reigns in the NPA cannot be underestimated, commencing with the wrong appointment of Menzi Simelane as the NDPP, an appointment which was later outlawed by the Constitutional Court; the disregard of the probity status of Nomqcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi and now of the current incumbent; the persistence with Richard Mdluli as head of crime intelligence despite very serious criminal offences hanging over his head.

It is a state of disorder (anarchy) when the government can fritter R30 billion in wasteful expenditure and no one is held to account; it is a state of disorder when the people of Mothutlung are shot and killed for demanding the right to access to water; it is a state of disorder when a six year old falls into a pit latrine at school because the latrine is in a state of disrepair; it is a state of disorder when Bheki Cele, fired by the president as police commissioner just under four years ago as a result of the Public Protector’s findings against Cele, is ‘promoted’ by the same president to the position of deputy minister; it is a state of disorder when the person who was suitably qualified for the position of Chief Justice is overlooked and a person with lesser judicial experience is appointed instead. The list is endless.

Secondly, ‘absence or non-recognition of authority’. The Supreme Law of the land is the Constitution, and it is submitted that the Constitution is the Authority that ought to govern us using human beings as instruments of that Authority.

It follows that those human beings who are appointed as organs of that Authority are in turn bound by the dictates of that Authority. In order words, those human beings cannot enforce that Authority unless they themselves are subject to the same Authority, not only in words, but in conduct and practice.

It is imperative for them to be exemplary followers of that Authority, such that the rest of the citizenry will be encouraged by the exemplary conduct of those entrusted with the exercising and enforcement of that Authority.

Are the current instruments of the Authority (namely the ruling party) governing in accordance with the Constitution? It is generally recognized that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land to a point where not even the actions of the government of the day can overrule or supersede the Constitution.

 Is the presence or recognition of the Constitution as the Authority felt or even respected, to a point where an objective assessor can categorically state that there is law and order in our country? i.e. is there absence of disorder, lawlessness and mayhem giving rising to anarchy?

While there may be no presence of classical anarchy in the strictest term of its meaning, (i.e. where everyone in society does what everyone pleases, and the rule of law is violated or absent), it can be argued that despite the presence of the Constitution as the Authority that governs our land, that Authority has been violated and continues to be violated by the ruling party.

 One example suffices. The office of the Public Protector, as a chapter 9 institution in terms of the Constitution, has to be accorded the necessary respect and cooperation by all the citizens of the country, including government as the instrument/organ that carries out the powers and obligations of the Authority.

The Public Protector’s office is one of the organs/instruments at the disposal of the Authority to ensure that the Constitution is upheld by all government leaders and agencies without exception.

The Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla upgrades has been met with hostile opposition by the ruling party of Gwede Mantashe.

 Led by the president himself, several leaders within the ruling party have defended the president and the upgrades whilst weakening the office and authority of the Public Protector’s report, and by extension the Constitution in the eyes of the public.

This is anarchy. The prevarications, the delays, the justifications and in recent times, the search for scapegoats all point towards, and confirm that the ruling party thinks it is above the rule of law, above the Authority that is the Constitution.

 To pretend that they owe allegiance to the Constitution is nothing else but subterfuge. This is ‘legalized anarchy’, pure and simple.


Gwede Mantashe lives in a glass house. Thus he is not at liberty to throw stones. Accusing the EFF of anarchy is rich coming from one who leads a party that conducts itself and governs in a manner that can be at best be described as misrule and at worst, anarchy.

Neither he nor his ruling party have the moral rectitude to accuse the EFF of being anarchists, he and his ruling party have long morphed into anarchists. The tragedy is that his arrogant attitude blinds him where objective assessment is concerned.

To return to the ‘log’ and ‘splinter’ lesson, that lesson proceeds to say if Mantashe wants to remove the ‘splinter’ in the EFF’s eye, he must first remove the ‘log’ in the ANC’s eye, only then will he be able to clearly see the splinter in the EFF’s eye and be able to remove it.

I hold no brief for the EFF, and these thoughts should not be misconstrued as defending the EFF.