Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mending the fences
The joint statement put out by the Zuma and Mbeki over the weekend, largely brokered by the ANC's NEC, holds a shaky peace between the two split factions of the ANC, but continues to highlight Mbeki's leadership mettle.

Whilst many will argue that this is a desperate act of a divided ANC to mend fences ahead of upcoming regional elections, I also think it is a marked triumph for Mbeki's style of leadership. In previous posts I outlined what Mbeki's response would have to be to burn out the flames of the Zuma issue, and he has played it like a fine philharmonic. He has largely kept out of the fray in the face of Cosatu, the ANCYL and SACP drum-beating, leaving his deputies to fight the battles, and thus has not elevated the crisis further. Now, by pulling Zuma into this joint agreement, he has forced Zuma and his supporters to accept the rule of law in following judicial progress, and has strong-armed the alliance partners back into the party line.

"?We need to respect Mbeki just like we respect Zuma, which means that the anti-Mbeki songs (at Cosatu and ANC mass gatherings) must stop," Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.

This storm will blow over. Hat tip once again, Thabo Mbeki.