Max du Preez

3 scenarios for SA's immediate future

2017-11-07 09:04
President Jacob Zuma (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images)

President Jacob Zuma (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images)

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There are three ways of looking at the immediate future: the glass is half full; the glass is half empty and losing volume; and there is a hole at the bottom of the glass, so it won't help to try and fill it.

(Sorry, at this point there isn’t a scenario where we could ponder whether the glass is ever going to be really full.)

Should we be depressed because our president has now clearly gone rogue, corruption and state capture are increasing as Jacob Zuma hits the final straight of his term and the state coffers are obviously going to be fleeced more?

Or should we say this may all be true, but what should give us real hope is that civil society has been mobilised on a scale last seen in the 1980s and is pushing back hard?

The situation in South Africa today is that there is a strong critical mass in urban and middle class South Africa screaming against the abuses and maladministration going on under Zuma, but at ANC branch level - where it really counts in the ANC's elective conference in 39 days' time - it seems largely absent.

Mid-December is going to be a real tipping point.

Will the conference take place at all, or will it be postponed due to violence, chaos and legal tussles if Zuma decides that his favoured candidate, Nkosazana Hyphenated-Zuma, isn't a clear winner?

If it does take place and is successful, who will be chosen, Dlamini-Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa?

In the glass half-full scenario, Ramaphosa is elected ANC president with the efficient Naledi Pandor as his deputy, and in January next year will make sure that Zuma is recalled as president of the country.

This glass fills up even more if Ramaphosa fires all the Zuma/Gupta lackeys in the Cabinet and replaces them with competent constitutionalists; if he does the same with the top structures of SARS, the NPA, the Hawks, crime intelligence and state security; and if he pulls a Pravin Gordhan and establishes a united front of labour, business and government to restore confidence in our economy.

And oh yes, if he finally kills the unaffordable Russian nuclear power plans and sees to it that Zuma, the Guptas and other major crooks sucking on the state teat are criminally prosecuted.

I think he would want to do all these things, but he is up against serious vested interests inside and outside the ANC and they will make it very hard for him.

The half-empty and emptying glass scenario applies when Dlamini-Zuma becomes ANC president. She's not incompetent at all and deep down probably knows she has to take the steps mentioned above if she wants to save the country, but the people she would have to act against are her biggest supporters and sponsors, inside and outside the ANC.

What is more, Zuma would probably not allow her to recall him as president of the republic. He and his criminal comrades and cronies will keep on stealing and the top people in the Hawks, the NPA, SARS and state security will fight hard to remain where they are to keep on doing what they’re doing.

This scenario would lead to a final credit downgrade to all-out junk, a much weaker rand and a rapid economic decline.

But there is potentially another scenario where the glass doesn't appear so empty: if the ANC, in an effort to prevent a split, negotiates a result where the "unity candidate", Zweli Mkhize, becomes ANC leader.

Mkhize is not a crook or in the state capture circles, but he probably won't be as aggressive in cleaning the swamp as Ramaphosa. Then again, with his constituency in KwaZulu-Natal, he will probably face less opposition if he does this.

But who will be his deputy? The Hyphenated One? Surely Cyril won’t be prepared to do that job again?

If the conference is postponed, it would mean there is a gaping hole in the bottom of the glass.

Zuma will stay on and retain all his power in the ANC and the country. A sharp rise in instability and an economic implosion would be inevitable.

Then it would be a luta continua all over again, and victory is not certain in the short term.

But, and it's a huge but, the people of South Africa have shown that they're ready for the new struggle and can put up a mighty resistance. And we can rest assured that the Jacques Pauws and other investigative journalists are digging much deeper into the muck as we speak.

2019 here we come!

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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