L’Affaire Mgoqi

It seems the ANC is putting their contempt for democracy on public display:

Axed Cape Town city manager Wallace Mgoqi strode into his fifth-floor office at the Civic Centre on Tuesday in open defiance of a council decision on Monday to revoke his extended contract and end his term as the city’s top official…

“I have rights in law,” he said as he stepped through the doors of his executive office at about 7.30am. “The decision taken yesterday was clearly made in a meeting with no legal basis. I have no intention of obeying it (and) I will continue to come to work.”

To put it bluntly, where the hell do Wallace Mgoqi and the Cape Town ANC get off acting like they won the election? They didn’t; and Helen Zille has every right to appoint bureaucrats and functionaries who will actually implement her policies rather than trying to sabotage them.

The unpleasant truth is that ANC’s regard for liberal democracy has become largely instrumental: it serves as a mechanism that will, almost all of the time, ensure undisputed ANC rule. But the ANC has little affinity for liberalism as an abstract principle, and they especially dislike the idea that democracy gives people as much right to reject their rulers as to accept them. As soon as democracy loses its instrumental value (ie. when people vote for a party other than the ANC), the ANC stops talking about “the will of the people” and starts finding ways to undermine it – this Mgoqi stunt and the floor-crossing legislation* are merely the examples that come easiest to mind. It is utterly unsurprising that Mgoqi hails from the same party whose MPs casually boast that “that this power that [Helen Zille] has, it’s just for a short time”. Try to detect any trace of concern for who Capetonians actually want to be governed by in that statement; if there is, I can’t find any.

  • Before anyone points it out, I am aware that it was the DA that originally suggested the floor-crossing legislation. But the DA has at least acknowledged their mistake and tried to correct it. The “original sin” analysis of floor-crossing conveniently ignores the fact that the primary political supporter (and chief benefactor) of floor-crossing today is the ANC. It’s worth taking note of who is on the right side of this issue, and who isn’t.