Expect blood on the walls in 2017

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ANC members at the Siyanqoba rally at Ellis Park Stadium in July. Provinces are setting targets ahead of the party’s 2017 conference. Picture: Lucky Morajane
ANC members at the Siyanqoba rally at Ellis Park Stadium in July. Provinces are setting targets ahead of the party’s 2017 conference. Picture: Lucky Morajane

The good news is that it was the last time we saw Jacob Zuma delivering the keynote speech at an ANC January 8 birthday celebration.

The bad news is that there are twelve months – potentially, but not likely, even 36 months – during which he can continue his scorched earth campaign on our society.

I went to the ANC’s January 8 celebrations between 1984 and 1987 when it was still in exile. Watching Sunday’s proceedings, I could not help but wonder: will there still be such a gathering in 2022?

I found Sunday’s vivas and long lives and amandlas and the theatrical performances of the men in camouflage – if you’re under 40, you couldn’t have been in Umkhonto we Sizwe – almost tragically comical. Like an old man with a ponytail, tattoos and a gold chain.

It’s 23 years later, comrades, the revolution is over, spent. Try being a modern political party if you really want more equality and less poverty and unemployment.

If I were you, I wouldn’t be able to look the landless, homeless, uneducated and poor in the eye.

The one thing we do know after all the words and songs and dances, is that the ANC is today still more divided than ever in its 105 years. Expect blood on the walls in 2017.

A day after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa did his most emphatic attack on Zuma (without mentioning his name) and finally positioned him as a candidate for the succession, the ANC Women’s League came out with a declaration that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was their only candidate.

She is also the candidate of the Gupta family, the Youth League and the Premier League, Zuma’s rural power base – not because she necessarily supports them, but because she is NOT Ramaphosa; because she is a Zuma that will, they hope, extend the time they have to eat.

It was interesting to hear ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe saying on Friday that there was a strong tradition that the president of the ANC should also be the president of the country.

Less than 24 hours later, the leader of the Women’s League and member of the Cabinet, Bathabile Dlamini, declared that this tradition should now be changed.

Of course it is about Zuma being replaced as ANC leader at the elective conference in December. Should the new leader then also become the president of the country, or should there be two centres of power with Zuma staying on as president of the country?

So there our president stood on Sunday, haltingly reading from the National Executive Committee’s statement.

From his mouth, the condemnation of patriarchy, sexism, homophobia and tribalism sounded about as false as if PW Botha had praised Fidel Castro.

Ditto for the warnings against factional battles, the buying of delegates, the greed of politicians and their families and corruption.

The NEC was talking to you when they wrote these things, comrade Zuma. They had you in mind when they asked that the Constitution be honoured and promoted, the one you had disrespected so often.

There was no sign in the statement of Zuma’s favourite recent mantra of the last few months blaming everything on “white monopoly capital”. It was only mentioned later by Cosatu.

But don’t hold your breath. Zuma will revive it soon with the aid of his sycophants in the Youth League and on social media. It is still their best way to divert the attention from the Gupta state capturers. Racial mobilisation is a handy tool.

Because no, the Guptas, the Zuma clan and other snouts in the state trough have not had their fill yet.

There’s a lot more money to be made; foreign bank accounts to fatten.

The wars for the Treasury and against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and ministers like him are far from over.

But 2017’s number is 783. The court will soon have the final say on whether Zuma should face criminal charges, and there can be little doubt that it will order: charge him!

Unfortunately for Zuma, 2016 had proved that even if Shaun Abrahams wanted to protect Zuma, he wouldn’t dare defy a court order.

If he did, he would surely be struck off the roll and would have to vacate his position.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Zuma wings may have been clipped, but clearly not that of the state security apparatus or the Hawks.

My prediction is that Zuma is going to rely on them more and more. They’re his only hope to escape going to jail and paying vast amounts of money back.

Don’t be surprised if we started seeing dirty tricks and information leaks trying to sully the names of Ramaphosa, Gordhan and others in that camp.

And what about a Cabinet reshuffle in the weeks ahead?

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