Best of opinions: Zuma could 'steal' December election

2017-07-05 15:51
President Jacob Zuma waves during the ANC policy conference in Johannesburg. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Jacob Zuma waves during the ANC policy conference in Johannesburg. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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WATCH LIVE: President Zuma closes ANC policy conference

2017-07-05 14:56

President Jacob Zuma delivers the closing address at the ANC's national policy conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg. Watch. WATCH

If it becomes clear that Ramaphosa is gaining significant support and might claim victory, the Zuma camp might create conditions which would necessitate the postponement of the electoral conference.

Of course it can’t be postponed indefinitely, but they could do so until they are ensured of victory. The dispute around membership figures is cited as a likely reason for a postponement or even worse, if there were an outbreak of violence amongst ANC members.

Perhaps because of these fears there are now frequent mentions of a compromise slate or list. I believe this would only become a reality if the two candidates were still racing head-to-head much nearer to the end-of-year finish line. I can’t see the Zuma camp agreeing to a compromise if they are convinced of victory. Of course the big question remains who would be willing to become no 2 in that scenario, writes Melanie Verwoerd.

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Enemy at the gates: Let's talk about regime change

South Africa has a two-word formula for stability: constitutional democracy. The governing party of the day can be removed from power without the fundamental constitutional design being overthrown. This, obviously, is not regime change. 

It’s only when political parties alternate at the seat of government that the constitutional democracy is strengthened. The ever-present threat of being removed from power enhances delivery, accountability and citizens’ participation.

Regime change is an expensive military undertaking. It costs resources to invade a country, install a new administration and maintain it by force. 

Democracy is cheaper. A democratically elected government doesn’t need to spend money to buy and enforce acceptance by the people. It is, after all, the people’s government that is in charge at any given time, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.

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There is no way that North Korea is going to relinquish its continuing programme to have a modern nuclear arsenal, whatever demands and sanctions China or America will impose on them. They will merely state the obvious that if other nations are entitled to have nuclear weapons for self-defence, they are entitled to have them too.

So the logic of the brilliant mathematician, John Nash, who was the subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind, no longer applies. He said that games played in a co-operative fashion can lead to a higher level of equilibrium than pure rivalry.

In this case, we have a straight confrontation between two individuals - Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump - neither of whom are likely to back down or seek any compromise with one another. They are both headstrong individuals with unlimited power in military matters. Trump would seek approval from Congress after a military strike, arguing that an effective commander-in-chief must have the element of surprise up his sleeve, writes Clem Sunter.

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