Things are getting rough for Zuma - analyst

Johannesburg - Fired ministers are now using Parliament as a battleground to fight President Jacob Zuma, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said.

On Tuesday former Finance minister Pravin Gordhan led the grilling of his former colleague in cabinet Lynne Brown and the Eskom board for their flip-flopping over the return of Eskom boss Brian Molefe.  

Gordhan on his debut appearance in the parliamentary committee on public enterprises openly accused Brown and board chairperson Ben Ngubane of state capture.

“You are part of a conspiracy to capture Eskom for the purposes or benefit of the few. That is the reality. Let us not play around with technical questions. That’s the reality,” Gordhan charged.

Ngubane and Brown have given at least three reasons for Molefe’s return including that he did not resign but applied for early retirement and that he was on unpaid leave during his three-month stint in Parliament.  At the time, speculation was that Zuma would appoint him as finance minister.  

“ANC members who got kicked out from the centre of power are gearing up to push for accountability through Parliament, they are saying not in their name,” Mathekga told News24.

Their actions have the potential to gain a life of its own, he said.

Brown and Ngubane also faced the wrath of the ANC at Luthuli house. It said their statements were incoherent.    

“Not only are these latest developments disingenuous to say the least, they amount to perjury. The African National Congress calls on government and Parliament to act decisively to deal with this irrational and untenable situation,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

Last week Brown was summoned to Luthuli house and ordered to rescind Molefe’s reinstatement.

‘Fighting institutions of accountability’

Mathekga said it was getting rough for President Zuma because "this is a new strategy where members are fighting through institutions of accountability".

The ANC has traditionally protected its deployees in Parliament, most significantly during the inquiry into the upgrades at Zuma's Nkandla home.  

It appeared to change tact when Jackson Mthembu was appointed chief whip and agreed to an inquiry into the SABC. ANC MPs led the charge against communications minister Faith Muthambi, a close Zuma ally.  

The Eskom developments come amid talk of another battle looming when the National Executive committee meets. It is expected that there will be another push for Zuma to step down.

It will be the first meeting since the midnight reshuffle that saw Gordhan and four others fired. The reshuffle was not supported by the entire top six leadership.

Zuma banned from Cosatu activities

Zuma is finding himself with fewer friends outside of the ANC; the SACP and Cosatu, that were pivotal to his rise to power, have called for him to step down.

Cosatu has now banned him from all their activities after he was booed and prevented to speak during the May Day celebrations.

“The meeting ultimately resolved that going forward, in respect of the mandate from the workers and in line with the SCEC [Special Central Executive Committee] resolution for him to step down, President Jacob Zuma will no longer be welcome,” Cosatu secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said.

It is the first time in democratic history that an alliance partner has openly banned an ANC leader from its events.

The ANC has refused to comment on Cosatu's statement and said it noted the public statements following its Special Central Executive Committee.

“The ANC has not received any formal communication in this regard, we therefore, won't make any comments until such time there is an engagement with Cosatu,” Kodwa said.

Criticism of Zuma’s government has also come from religious groups. The South African Council of Churches [SACC] said government had “lost moral legitimacy”.

It released a damning report of state capture that it said was pivoted around Zuma.

“A careful analysis makes the case for the following observable trends of inappropriate control of state systems through a power elite that is pivoted around the President ... and is systematically syphoning the assets of the state," the SACC said previously.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should the red carpet portion of SONA be scrapped this year?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's inappropriate given the state of the country
93% - 4300 votes
No, it's part of the tradition
7% - 317 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.