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President Jacob Zuma (AP)
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The ANC will not save South Africa from President Jacob Zuma. We are on our own.
That was the clear message from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s media briefing on Wednesday, after an extended meeting of the party’s national working committee.
Those who still believed the ANC of Zuma had the ability to dig deep and make hard decisions in the public interest, based on the values of its founding mothers and fathers, should rip the blinkers from their eyes and face the brutal truth; the same truth that motivated Julius Malema and Mosiuoa Lekota to leave the ANC and form their own parties.
The ANC of OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu has been captured by Zuma’s corrupt network of patronage politicians and civil servants. Yes, we were silly to have hoped that the ANC would do the right thing and recall Zuma, either in Parliament of through a special meeting of the national executive committee.
Zuma and his cronies will fight to the bitter end to protect him from prison, and to enrich themselves and their own patronage networks.
Truth be told: the state has not been captured by the Gupta family, but by a corrupt and morally bankrupt ANC, with Zuma at the top.
The ANC Ahmed Kathrada spoke of is dead. The ANC that Pravin Gordhan wants to save is unsalvageable.
To recap: a finance minister who had managed to stabilise the economy and the currency goes on an international roadshow to woo investors who want to invest in government bonds to fund service delivery projects. He lands at Heathrow and receives a text message from the president: come back home. No reasons are provided.
The minister attends a few meetings and takes the first available flight back home.
Asked why he had recalled the minister from abroad, the president tells two separate meetings that the minister had gone rogue, lobbied foreign investors to topple him and met with Lord Renwick. Three days later the president fires the minister and replaces him with a minister who admits to being a friend of the Guptas and whose former adviser frequented the Gupta compound and bought a house from them.
Mantashe tells Talk Radio 702’s Xolani Gwala that the new list of Cabinet ministers didn’t come from the ANC, but from "somewhere else". Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he disagrees with Zuma on firing Gordhan. Treasurer general Zweli Mkhize says the ANC is no longer at the centre of decision-making in the country.
South Africa puts two and two together.
The SACP, Cosatu and ANC stalwarts call on Zuma to resign in the best interest of the country. The markets fall and the rand weakens.
The country holds its breath and, like a battered spouse, remains hopeful that the ANC will eventually do the right thing and censure Zuma in some way or form.
But nothing of the sort happens. On Wednesday morning, Mantashe tells the country that it was all one big misunderstanding: Gordhan was actually fired because of an "irretrievable breakdown" in his relationship with Zuma.
The intelligence report Zuma spoke about "complicated" matters. And how dare the SACP speak out about these secret matters in public?
In fact, says deputy secretary general and popular ANN7 analyst Jessie Duarte, Zuma had wanted to fire Gordhan since November last year and they knew about it! She stops short of saying: "What’s the big deal, guys?"
Yes, adds Mantashe, it was them, the officials, who had dissuaded Zuma from appointing disgraced Eskom CEO Brian Molefe in Gordhan’s place. No applause.
The fact that Mantashe was made to embarrassingly admit it was a "mistake" for him, Ramaphosa and Mkhize to speak out against Zuma’s wrecking ball confirms the stronghold the president now has on the party.
Zuma’s only censure was to "acknowledge shortcomings" in the "collective management" of the reshuffle.
Zuma is in charge and there is no way for the ANC to remove him from power. The party simply does not possess the ability.
Those of us who believe the president should step down in the interest of our children, our country and our future, are on our own.
- Basson is editor of News24.
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