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Seun wa Moutse
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Zuma the wrecking ball

26 June 2014, 07:35

Just a month into his second term, President Jacob Zuma is politically exposed and his former friends are calling him names in parliament. Already, many from within the ruling party have begun contesting for his position.

His performance in parliament last week was dismal and underlined what some of us have said sinc3e 2005, when Thabo Mbeki fired him: he is not fit to govern and is not fit to walk in the shoes of Oliver Thabo and Albert Luthuli. His first term of as chief executive of South Africa Incorporated was an absolute disaster. His second will be worse.

His new cabinet is possibly the worst to sit around a table in the boardrooms of the Union Building since democracy dawned. It is a collection of cronies, incompetents and yes-man and women. It is a cabinet in which the few talented and worthy individuals are overwhelmed by the compromised.

Zuma stood up in parliament last week and brazenly told us something we all know – we have run out of electricity. The only reason we still have lights on in our homes is because Eskom is diverting electricity to consumers while the mines and other big users are being starved of the stuff. Expect major outages when the platinum miners go back to work.

Now, you think that a president would send his best people to deal with the sort of energy crisis that we have and are faced with?

Zuma did, after all spend the biggest chunk of his speech going on about energy challenges. How does he solve this clear and present danger?

He has appointed possibly the most controversial, divisive and incompetent minister of his last administration, Tina Joemat Petterson, to the energy portfolio. You have to wonder what kind of sick joke is being played on the electorate. In her report in December, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma should act against Joemat Petterson because of her ‘reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss in confidence in the fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research’

But Zuma went and appointed her to what is potentially the most critical job in his administration. Within days she was telling the world that South Africa will be building a nuclear power plant.

And who will be building this facility? Ah, President Zuma’s new best friends, the Russian government. Let me give you a prediction- in 2030 there will be a commission of inquiry in South Africa investigating ‘corruption related to a trillion dollar nuclear deal.’ This is another arms deal in the making, Mark my words!

You have to wonder who advised Zuma on some of his appointments. Siyabonga Cwele? Faith Muthambi? Nathi Mthethwa? It boggles the mind.

When he has a clear opportunity to do something extraordinary. The man chokes.

Why is an announcement that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will run the National Development Plan not explicit in Zuma’s speeches? As usual, on this issue Zuma has done what he does best, he has poured uncertainty into the milieu.

On the 25th May, announcing his new cabinet, he said: “The National Planning Commission, as well as the performance monitoring and evaluation ministries in the Presidency, has been combined into one ministry to harmonize the planning and monitoring functions’.

He announced that the man in charge of this ministry would be Jeff Radebe.

Last weekend the ANC reacting to the bad news that two international rating agencies found out economic feature bleak, issued this statement: ‘ The Deputy President Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, has been assigned the task of chairing the National Planning Commission and has overall oversight of the implementation and enforcement of the NDP across government.’

What is going on here? Does Zuma’s left hand know what the right hand is doing? I don’t think so. In fact, I think some distance is beginning to emerge between Zuma and his party. It seems to me the ANC wants some leadership, whereas Zuma prefers to keep things murky and divisive while he rules the roost. It is absolutely the wrong way to run a country.

Thankfully, it seems as if some in the ANC are waking up to the fact that Zuma indeed is a liability. As a clearly ailing Zuma hobbled into parliament last week party branches across the country were beginning to caucus about who should succeed him when the party conference is held in December 2017.

The powerful Kwa-Zulu-Natal branch could push for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Zweli Mkize.

But the North West, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo branches are saying Ramaphosa should be given a chance. Ramaphosa needs to send them a signal that he is ready to run.

Crucially, Kwa-Zulu-Natal ANC leaders are saying they are prepared to back Ramaphosa should he be given a chance, but would want to have Mkhize as his number 2. This is where the sticking point lies: a place has to be found for ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, at present the most powerful man in the party.

It will be an interesting race, but Zuma could lobby hard for his former wife to succeed him.

Meanwhile, South Africa will just have to grit its teeth for another five long years with the liability of Zuma. 
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