ANC tenderpreneurship impossible to remove: analyst

Patronage – also known as cadre deployment and ‘jobs for friends’ – is rooted in the essence of the ANC, to such an extent that it is impossible to remove it, says Nomura analyst, Peter Attard Montalto.

Nomura was recently in South Africa to gauge the political and economic climate, following weeks of manouvering and revelations. Key among the political turbulence is the concept of state capture – whereby president Jacob Zuma is accused of allowing his personal relationship with the Gupta family interfere with the governance of the country.

According to Nomura, Zuma’s power is dependent on a wide network of patronage, which has seen him exchange political capital (contracts, high-raking positions, business) in exchange for retaining his position as president.

Notably, the research group sees the pro-patronage faction of politicians in South Africa as the majority, securely in the controlling seat, and it is held above all – including the constitution.

Read: Leaked documents reveal shocking plunder in South African municipalities

“We believe that patronage is so strongly rooted into the ANC that it will be
impossible to remove – patronage of people (cadre-deployment), patronage of contracts
(tenderpreneurship), patronage of inclusion (BEE) and patronage of wealth (outright
corruption),” Nomura said.

“There are better and worse paths from here, but they all involve patronage and rent extraction. Patronage outweighs policy and it outweighs constitutional democracy.”

According to Nomura, despite attempts by the side of ‘cleaner politics’ – espoused by finance minister Pravin Gordhan – to promote policies free of patronage, there has been almost no shift away from the status quo, and there has been no shift in the power structures that make up the ANC.

Instead, the party has started to see its pro-patronage faction split between those who are for Zuma (who benefit the most from his particular method of patronage) – and those who are opposed to him (who see his methods and being detrimental in the long-term).

However, Nomura has warned against believing the hype.

“Markets should not confuse rhetoric and spin from others within the NEC, trying to sound like the party needs to move on from the current period of ‘capture’ to being anti-patronage. We don’t think this is real,” the group said.

Read: How Zuma’s faction is starting to unravel

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ANC tenderpreneurship impossible to remove: analyst