Malala: Don’t focus on ANC conference noise. The real threat is SA’s institutions

Justice Malala.
Justice Malala.

A fractured ANC, in which the provinces are no longer unified about who to elect, could prove to be a remedy to state capture.

This was according to political commentator Justice Malala at a recent function hosted by Sasfin Wealth.

Malala said that the ANC needed to think very hard about the discontent around it and the policies it was using to garner support.

The ANC was an establishment in this country, and, looking at the global political trend in democratic countries, was becoming anti-establishment, he said.

So, over the next few years, according to Malala there could be an anti-establishment type of future president like EFF leader Julius Malema or DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

The EFF and the DA were likely to gain ground and Malala forecast that there would be a swing towards the opposition. Nonetheless, he didn’t think that they could win the 2019 election.

There was a lot of talk about the ANC losing the 2019 election – “I am not one of those people who believes this. The ANC will stay at just over 50% but if the ANC continues pretty much on the path its on it may definitely fall below 50% here in Gauteng and the Northern Cape and find itself increasingly in the opposition benches. If the ANC stays united it could only lose the national election in 2024 not in 2019 – that’s because of history.”

Malala believed that if Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma won in December, then a section of the ANC could walk away from the party. It would be a section that was built around people like Pravin Gordhan and Cyril Ramaphosa.

This breakaway might mean that the ANC would not get the absolute majority that he believed it would get if it stayed united.

A fracture in the ANC after December would lead to a new political landscape.

A breakaway party might go into coalition with the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement and perhaps others, and we would have a new dispensation in South Africa.

Malala didn’t think the only issue about December was who was elected, the repercussions of that election would be key.

South Africa’s worst-case scenario emanated from a report put together by the South African Council of Churches called the “unburdening report”, which was submitted it to Parliament four weeks ago.

It held that South Africa was on the verge of becoming a mafia state if nothing was done about the threat against the independence of state institutions.

The Public Affairs Research Institute recently released a 72-page report into the study of state capture. It found that “a silent coup has taken place in South Africa” and was very specific, implicating the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma’s son.

The worst-case scenario was buttressed by having a president who was in the hands, or pockets of the Gupta family and yet nothing happened to him.

This is what Malala deemed as a period of no consequence in South African politics.

In his view, the fate of Zuma lay with the national executive council of the ANC, made up of 110 people who decide who stays and goes, as they did with former President Thabo Mbeki.

The national executive committee had only one meeting between now and December, and it was too late; “there won’t be a motion for him to step down.”

If Zuma’s preferred candidate, Dlamini-Zuma, won in December then he would finish his term and remain president until 2019.

The delegates at the December ANC elective conference were absolutely key because Zuma had 60% of the delegates’ votes at 2007 conference, and 75% of the delegates’ votes in 2012.

Zuma remained in power because, for the past 10 years, he had the support of those delegates.

“If Zuma remains powerful in the ANC it means that he has some considerable power in choosing who goes to conference in December.”

If that happened, the institutions and rising populism would likely continue in the same vein.

Malala said that the ANC elective conference meant that there would be a lot of noise.

“We should all tighten our seatbelts, as the noise will not be dissipating anytime soon,” Malala said.

Malala assured the bankers in attendance not to worry.

A lot of what would be going on was election-based and was apparently healthy, because people must compete for votes, a reflection of a working open democracy.

What was worrying, however, was the state of institutions in South Africa. People should trust them instead of being dismayed and surrendering to their abuse by those in power.

“Tomorrow, when one receives a letter that they are being audited by the South African Revenue Service, would it be because they invited Justice Malala to speak at their event or because they simply didn’t do their taxes?”

If these institutions continue to be under threat, then South Africa is in trouble.


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