IN a week of the ANC’S shambolic handling of the transition of power between the head office Luthuli House and the State, postponements, and fake news replacing fact-checked journalism, very little makes sense in South Africa anymore.
And it is due to weeks of futile and messy negotiations by the ANC leadership in trying to remove President Jacob Zuma from office. They call it “managing the transition” which the president of the republic challenged, according to a leaked audio recording of ANC Treasurer Paul Mashatile’s address to investors following a meeting of ANC’s Top 6 last week Sunday.
In the recording, Mashatile, who was addressing investors at the Mining Indaba last week Tuesday, says among other things: “Very interestingly, on Sunday, President Zuma says to us, ‘what do you guys mean by transition?’ He said this is a strange word which you guys have coined…..” They then explained that it was about managing the transition of power from Zuma as head of state to Cyril Ramaphosa as head of ANC.
Mashatile then promised that the President of the Republic would be recalled at the special National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which was to be held the following day, if he refused to resign.
Clearly Mashatile didnt know that the NEC meeting would be cancelled shortly after his address, with Ramaphosa explaining that he and the head of state had had direct and “constructive discussions”.
These have been ongoing and yet another special NEC meeting is scheduled to happen this afternoon where Zuma is said to now vacate the stage.
Tensions are high on both sides and so too is the irritation.
The anti-Zuma group – who include business, the many NGOs which have cropped up in the past few years campaigning relentlessly for his recall, the media and opposition parties including the opposition in the ANC – have all run out of patience with the indecisiveness of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC) in dealing with Zuma’s issue. Once Cyril Ramaphosa emerged the victor from the 54th ANC National Conference, Zuma’s exit was seen as a done deal. The only outstanding issue was what form it would take, we were told.
But this was not to be.
But it is the opposition within the party that has turned the tables on Zuma leaving him with very little space for manoeuvring.
Opposition parties have called for yet another motion of no confidence in the President which the Speaker of Parliament scheduled for after what was supposed to be the State of the Nation Address (SONA). That too was cancelled.
This morning, the opposition are said to be meeting to determine what action they must take in ensuring Zuma’s departure.
Everyone is in on the action. Last week two protests took place outside Luthuli House with anti-Zuma and pro-Zuma supporters pitted against one another.
This week another group emerged saying it too would mount a “Shutdown” protest demanding that Zuma leave.
In between all of the shenanigans in our country has been a propaganda machinery in full swing. Last week was one of those where for just about every news article published on what was branded Zexit (Zuma Exit), there was a rebuttal of the story, mainly by the ANC, followed by a retraction from the news media.
It’s been one busy January, but will today be the end for President Jacob Zuma? Will it be a beginning that Cyril Ramaphosa hopes for – a revival of the ANC of the days of Mandela as he’s constantly been saying – or will we see the ANC lose the anti-Ramaphosa group to other political parties? The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has already “welcomed” 76 new members from the ANC. Talk on social media has been to vote for Themba Godi’s African People’s Convention (APC) or the Andile Mngxitama’s Black First Land First (BLF) come 2019. Meanwhile, all Ramaphosa wants to do is get rid of Zuma without losing ANC members in droves. It’s tough and interesting times ahead!