THE moment has arrived to put an end to the crippling crisis in government and the governing party.
The boil of faction fighting, corruption and state capture has to be lanced now so that healing can start and South Africans can focus their attention on the very serious economic and social challenges – crises, actually – the country faces.
Matters have deteriorated to such an extent that we simply cannot wait for the ANC to replace Jacob Zuma at its conference in December next year.
Three key actors should now draw a clear line in the sand: ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer Zweli Mhize and secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
They have no excuses any longer to explain why they’re remaining schtum. An important line has been crossed. It is time to come out from the shadows.
Another senior ANC figure, chief whip Jackson Mthembu, has already done that with his demand that the party’s senior leadership should quit.
It is unthinkable that he would have taken this extraordinary public step if he hadn’t consulted with Ramaphosa et al. Significantly, Mthembu appears to have the support of the vast majority of the parliamentary caucus.
The national support for a bold move against Zuma and his rent-seeking cabal has grown substantially in recent weeks.
The low intensity war the cabal has been waging against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the legal gimmicks they’re using to quash or postpone the Public Protector’s state capture report had led to an unprecedented national groundswell of popular resistance.
This groundswell includes the ANC membership. More than a hundred ANC stalwarts have broken ranks in a public statement while many black business leaders and professionals who were aligned with the ANC have also voiced their dissent publicly.
But most importantly, ANC branches and regions appear to have switched loyalty.
The ANC’s leadership commissioned a report on the views of the 53 regions recently, a report that has just been leaked. According to the report, most regions are unhappy that Zuma wasn’t dealt with more firmly after the Nkandla scandal and the reports of state capture. Many of these regional structures even demanded that Zuma and the senior leadership resign.
This is a significant change in the ANC’s internal dynamics. Zuma’s enemies were always supposed to be the small urban elite and his supporters in the regions and branches. This doesn’t seem to be the case in all regions of South Africa any longer.
The other conventional wisdom was that Zuma had more than enough support in the ANC’s highest body, the 86-member National Executive Commission, to survive any onslaught.
An ANC insider showed me on a list of names that at least 38 members are not or are no longer in the Zuma camp, with another 11 clearly not as loyal as they used to be. These members and some others would probably switch sides as the power dynamics in the party shift.
The Zuma grouping’s national support is waning with every single revelation about their abuse of power or of state capture and with every public spat between cabinet ministers or top ANC officials.
Yesterday’s bizarre press conference by NPA chief Shaun Abrahams where he embarrassingly had to drop the charges against Pravin Gordhan and two former SARS officials was a kick in the stomach to the Zuma camp. Gordhan, the man seen as the last guardian of the Treasury and the champion of the fight against corruption and state capture, is today standing even stronger than yesterday.
There are very few informed South Africans who don’t believe that Cabinet ministers Des van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane are Gupta surrogates pure and simple and that Shaun Abrahams had a purely political agenda when he persecuted Gordhan.
This state of affairs has gone on far too long and has severely undermined the popular trust in the state and the government and eroded the national mood and the economy.
It is in this climate that the student protests became more militant and hard-core and the general political stability came under more and more pressure.
So, the scene is set for a full-blown palace revolution. The Zuma cabal with all its tentacles and systems of patronage will fight back, but it can’t win any longer.
Perhaps Zuma will be successful in delaying the release of the Public Protector’s state capture report, but the information in that report will no doubt be made public piece by piece, as is already happening.
South Africans cannot wait another year before we do spring-cleaning.
It is crucial that we quickly get rid of elements such as Tom Moyane of SARS, Berning Ntlemeza of the Hawks, Shaun Abrahams, Hlaudi Motsoeneng of the SABC, Dudu Myeni of SAA and ministers such as Van Rooyen, Zwane, Nathi Nhleko, David Mahlobo and Tina Joemat-Petterson before they can do more damage.
Once these elements are out in the cold, the rebuilding of a more decent and clean government and state can begin.
Sekunjalo. The time is now.
Max du Preez
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015