By Pinky Khoabane
ON either side of the ANC presidential race, the two leading contenders face fears stemming from association with two forces. For Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa the association with white monopoly capital (WMC) has created a fear that the second phase of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) will not be fulfilled. It is feared he will protect this small group of people who own just about everything in the economy including media and thereby deny the Black majority the economic justice for which much blood was lost. We’ve written enough on this platform to show how WMC operates and controls just about every aspect of our lives.
On the other side, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s association with President Jacob Zuma and by extension the Guptas is a noose around her neck. Dlamini-Zuma, it is feared, will protect Zuma post his presidency, from the ‘783’ corruption charges against him. It is also feared she will allow the Guptas to continue with alleged “state capture” and looting of state funds.
Incidentally these issues will be before court this week. The Democratic Alliance (DA) is in two legal clashes against the President this week. The first is to compel the court to force Zuma to abide by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action to appoint a judicial commission into state capture which will be headed by a person chosen by the chief justice. The President is arguing that the recommendation was unconstitutional as only the president can establish a judicial commission. The sooner this judicial commission gets underway the better. It should, as has been suggested by some commentators including the ANC, look at the broader scourge of state capture. We all know that the concept of buying and influencing government representatives has been going on since time immemorial – the broederbond’s hold on the Nationalist Party probably being the most extreme. But it has happened even in post democratic SA, as far back as 1994.
On Friday the Supreme Court of Appeal will hear an application Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) brought for leave to appeal against a High Court judgement that a decision to drop corruption charges against him was irrational.
On either side of the presidential race have emerged disturbing events in the past week or so. The first were the leaks of the deputy president’s private life. In my view the incident itself, apart from simply embarrassing him, would bear little or no effect at all on the presidential race. As I’ve said before, the branches on the main, know for which candidate they will be voting. It is the response to these allegations however, some of which have been proven to be true – that is of grave concern. The Deputy President claimed that there is a smear campaign and what has emerged is that those who dared question his conduct have now been branded all manner of negative terms as a means of scaring them into silence. The Deputy President has as yet to address these private matters which in a statement a week ago when the scandal broke and later in Parliament, said he would. It says there are those whose private life is private and are above scrutiny while the rest’s dirty linen can be bandied about on the front pages of newspapers.
We have a tendency to set very bad precedents and double standards in this country, many of them sadly, assisted by WMC media. Former Health Minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang’s private medical records were published by the Sunday Times to no outcry – the doyens of freedom of speech and media freedom told us it was in the public interest to know the state of a health minister’s liver.
The second incident was the announcement that Dlamini-Zuma would be sworn in as a member of parliament this week, driving speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle. This just reminds us of Eskom’s former CEO Brian Molefe’s saga where he had supposedly resigned to become an MP but returned to Eskom and was later fired.
Frankly, Dlamini-Zuma’s move to Parliament plays in the hands of those who say once in power, she will protect Zuma from facing the law and by extension the Guptas. These are unsubstantiated claims of course but as they say, why let facts ruin a juicy story. But why arm the enemy? It is an unnecessary move – unless required somewhere by law for an ANC presidential candidate to also be an MP – she was doing very well running a campaign which was independent of the state and Luthuli House – unlike some of the presidential candidates whose campaigns are literally run from Luthuli House and campaign managers operating from some air-conditioned offices in the lush suburbs of Johannesburg.
The next president of the ANC must tell us how they will lift the millions out of poverty, address the high unemployment levels especially among the youth, break-down monopolies in order to allow new entrants into markets dominated by WMC, and at a party-political level, how to unite the ANC for victory in 2019. These are the bread-and-butter issues which plaque the majority of South Africans.