Zuma’s Months In Power Are Numbered

The “Zuma Must Go” chants that reverberated throughout the Free State Cosatu May Day rally must have shaken Jacob Zuma, president of the African National Congress.

No ANC leader, in the long history of the Alliance, was ever rejected by the trade union movement in the manner Zuma was humiliated and prevented from addressing the main rally in South Africa,

What must have shocked Zuma more about his rejection was that it occurred in the Free State, the birthplace of the ANC an a province run like a fiefdom by his Premier League strongman Ace Magashule. Magashule himself appeared to have been surprised by the happenings at the stadium as he had probably assured his boss that all was fine in the Free State. To appease his master, the ANC provincial chairman blamed outsiders and even accused the Northern Cape Cosatu region for having bussed the boo crowd to humiliate Msholozi.

Because he is used to living his life on the edge, Zuma went to the May Day against wise counsel to skip the event as Cosatu had already pronounced its loss of faith in his leadership and had actually asked him to step down as president of the country. He should have expected a hostile reception from a worker federation that had called for his head. Foolishly and stubbornly, he took his chances and the consequences were serious indeed. It is the measure of Zuma’s need for Cosatu’s endorsement and acceptance that he took the risk to travel to the Free State to assure himself that he still had the support of the workers in his political struggles to remain in charge of South Africa.

Since the May Day fiasco, things have gotten worse for Msholozi. One of his key supporters in his titanic battle with Thabo Mbeki leading to his victory in Polokwane in 2007 has turned against him. The South African Communist Party has not just asked Zuma to step down, it is actively campaigning to have him removed from office. Last weekend the SACP convened a civil society Imbizo in Boksburg in which 33 organisations called for Zuma to step down. The same gathering passed a resolution that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, as recommended by former Public Protector, be instituted to probe State Capture. It is common knowledge that Zuma’s finger prints are all over the alleged crime scene painted by the Public Protector’s report.

Jacob Zuma has plunged himself into a hole out of which he can’t escape. Spoiled by the ANC that has consistently stood behind him even after committing the heinous of indiscretions, he believes that he is bigger than the organisation. He has survived an alleged rape case, impregnating of a friend’s daughter, violation of the constitution, Guptagate, cabinet reshuffle and many more. No ANC leader in a hundred years has been forgiven so many times as Jacob Zuma. He thinks he can go on forever because he thinks he is invincible. He is wrong.

Although Zuma is not contesting the 2017 national conference elections, he has anointed his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his successor. Dlamini-Zuma has locked horns with ANC deputy president Cyril for the presidency of the ruling party. For seventy years in the ANC history the deputy president succeeded the president. This tradition began in 1947 when Chief Albert Luthuli deputized James Moroka. Even Zuma himself deputized Mbeki before becoming president. However, today he argues that no such tradition exists in the ANC. Ramaphosa was yanked from South Africa’s corporate boardrooms to deputies a compromised Jacob Zuma in 2012 with the view to having him succeed Zuma in 2017. That has now changed as Zuma tries to instal his own puppet to protect him from his many “crimes.”

The wheel is turning in the politics of the ANC and Zuma’s position is becoming increasingly untenable. The once powerful Premier League of Ace Magashule, Supra Mahumapelo and David Mabuza is unraveling. Despite the addition of Sihle Zikalala and the ANC Leagues, this destructive faction is beginning to fall apart. It is reliably learnt that Mabuza has rejected Dlamini-Zuma as president and is no longer attending Premier League meetings as he switches loyalty to the Ramaphosa grouping. The once formidable KZN province is divided, with former provincial chair Senzo Mnchunu running a smart Ramaphosa campaign in the province. Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign is turning weaken by the day, courtesy of campaign manager Bathabile Dlamini, whose troubles in the Social Development department has destroyed her credibility. Dlamini-Zuma herself is not inspiring. She has no personality, no character and no message to the ANC branches and the people of South Africa. She is simply not presidential. She must be advised to avoid humiliation by withdrawing from this race.

The current Brian Molefe soapie playing itself out in the media will be additional ammunition for those campaigning for Zuma to leave office before 2019. It is indeed common knowledge that president Zuma wanted to replace the highly respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan with the highly compromised and Gupta ally Brian Molefe. With widespread opposition to the appointment of Molefe to treasury, Zuma resorted to Malusi Gigaba as a compromise. This has angered a lot of South Africans as Gordhan is considred a bulwark against the raiding of the treasury. Six months before the ANC’s 54th conference, Zuma has not been so isolated. Additional to the SACP and Cosatu positions, the ANC veterans, MK Commanders, business, churches, a united opposition and a plethora of civil society organisations are united that the president must go. In fact, the only support he still enjoys is a diminishing faction in the ANC. This is not enough to keep him in power till the end of his term.

Although his take-off was painfully slow, Cyril Ramaphosa is gaining traction as the only person who can save the ANC from decay and the country from collapse. The former Secretary General of the African National Congress has been criss-crossing the country in a charm offensive and with a consistent message of fighting corruption, rebuilding the ANC and saving the South African economy. His message is beginning to resonate with both structures of his party and the broad South African society that has had enough of Zuma’s failures, misgovernance and destruction.

The support that Ramaphosa has received from Cosatu and the SACP is crucial. Cosatu’s latest decision that Zuma has been banned from addressing its events is a disaster for the ANC president. The SACP, working with civil society, is leading the charge in getting Zuma removed from office. The ANC veterans have disowned the ANC president and the much-talked about State of Capture report by the South African Council of Churches is a serious blow to Zuma and his government that the church organisation had declared as close to a Mafia State.

What is left is for the ANC branches to break ranks with Msholozi and his Premier League. In the next six months these branches will ask themselves some uncomfortable questions. If Jacob Zuma is the outgoing president of the ANC why is he so deeply immersed in the party election campaign? He is supposed to conduct himself as a departing elder in the party to whom those aspiring for office should come for counsel. He is destroying his legacy because when the branches turn against him and his former wife, it won’t be nice. I wish someone would whisper in his ear and advise him to stay out of this fight.

But Msholozi being Msholozi, he will not see it and will wait to be humiliated by fighting a battle he doesn’t need. This I’ll-advised decision will lead to Ramaphosa and his faction emerging victorious in the December conference after which Zuma’s recall becomes inevitable.

Source: Sello Lediga