The First of Twelve Steps

There is nothing quite like a good intervention. My 16 year old daughter in particular has a great fondness for them and at least twice a week stages one for any member of the family who she thinks might be at risk of poor or dangerous behaviour. No one in the house is spared, including Daisy and Gatsby our respective German and Swiss Shepherds who somehow manage to look appropriately contrite when their turn to have a self-correct session arises.  It goes without saying that I seem to be hauled in more frequently than anyone else in the household does, most likely for something I have said or have written.

It’s not fun. But it can be valuable.

Which is also why I am able to recognise when there is a desperate and urgent need for an intervention. As is the case with the ANC. Because without intending to be as dramatic as my adolescent daughter, it is high time that we staged an ANC Intervention.

I am not an alcoholic and have never attended an AA meeting, but I am a huge fan of the program. It is hard to adequately capture the positive impact that this ecosystem has had on the world. They have saved countless lives of people that I know, and I am of the view that their program is one that most of us would do well to follow. It should probably also be taught at schools, as it values introspection, encourages responsibility taking, as well as ‘ownership’ of what is ours.

I believe further, that the ANC, as an organisation would benefit from the well-known 12 step program. I submit, that in the case of the party, the word “alcohol” could be substituted with the word “Corruption” and “the Constitution” or “Democracy” used in place of the word God. With those simple adjustments made, it is quite remarkable how apt and appropriate it is.

It’s like the 12 step program was designed with the ANC in mind.

Step One of the program is recognising the inability to control that which controls you. Imagine if the ANC could admit that they were powerless over corruption and that their lives had become unmanageable. We might even add that as a consequence that ours have as well, but as the ruling party, it does go without saying.

 Imagine if they came to be aware that  there is a Power greater than themselves could restore us to sanity.  Or if they made the decision to turn their will and the functionality or the party over to the care of God (democracy) as we understood it.

“Alcoholics Anonymous step 4 requires a clear and frank understanding of one’s self. Through the process of discovering the true nature of personal character, a participant learns to understand identify the weaknesses that may have helped contribute to corruption”.

In this step we “admit to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrong.” And to recognise the damage the wrong has caused.

In simple terms it means not blaming “vaccine apartheid “ for the lacklustre vaccine rollout or blaming the people of the country for the 3rd wave. It means apologising to the citizens of the country for crippling the economy and for the unemployment rate. It means recognising that the looting is one of the main reasons for the downward spiral and not pretending that that it is one of a host of other reasons. It means the recognition that the party has been corrupted absolutely by the need for power.

It means looking at South Africans in the eye and acknowledging what the party is responsible for and be willing to “ask God to help us remove our defects of character.”

The news of Jacob Zuma’s 15 month sentence for Contempt of Court should signal a new era. So long as a severe medical condition, or a conspiracy or a 3rd force or international interference or poisoning requiring immediate lifesaving travel to Russia is claimed, it also presents the perfect opportunity for the ANC to begin the 12 step program. It provides the party with the perfect time to turn to say the words we have all been waiting for.

“We are the ANC. And we have a problem.”