President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is currently on the hot seat. The battle to remove him from office has taken a new twist with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) recalling him on 13 February 2018. It is expected that as a deployee of the ANC he should comply with the recall or face removal from office through a vote in parliament where the ANC has a majority and where he has stark detractors in the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Zuma has reportedly asked for a six months’ notice but may more likely to face the music of Parliament much sooner as suggested by decision of the ANC Caucus of 14 February 2018. The implications of his removal may be unpleasant for Zuma as he may very likely face trial on corruption charges after his ejection from the Presidency by a vote in parliament.
Several issues are in play around this political deadlock in South Africa. For some locals, Zuma is that radical who was bold enough to push for more economic freedoms and power for black South Africans. However, it is alleged now that he always intended to do this by using the Guptas, a super wealthy Indian-born South African family, as middle-men, a simply unreasonable and counterproductive approach.
What guarantees does anyone have that after taking over the South African economy, the Guptas will happily hand it over to black South Africans? Was there a written contract somewhere, or was this deal just some informal agreement decided upon over a glass of wine?
The alleged Zuma plot to hand over the economy to the Guptas “temporarily” has therefore created panic in the eyes of the black middle-class who saw the future of their now post-apartheid complaisant white bosses being threatened with economic disaster. This explains in part the lessening black support base of the ANC in urban areas. And it is exactly in his loss of support from his black support base where Zuma’s moves were most counterproductive.
In his attempts to hand over the economy to the blacks in this somewhat unusual style, Zuma opened a crack in the ANC and the white lobby has sledged hammered through it in effect sponsoring the election of the already natural successor to Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Current Vice President of SA, to the Presidency of the ANC. Ramaphosa has emerged as the clear favorite over his recent rival for the post Dlamini Zuma, the ex-wife of Jacob Zuma, who had earlier been promoted by Zuma.
Ramaphosa is reportedly a hardline capitalist and will more than likely be the black-face of the capitalist powers that be. So now, more than 23 years after liberating themselves from white apartheid rule, the ANC to whom the indigenous blacks gave their trust, might by its own internal divisions and the lack of discernment from its leaders, have returned the blacks to square one: white economic domination.
And how the white-controlled media of South Africa has played the situation so well!
Moreover, how does Zuma reconcile his “noble” intentions for the blacks with more than 700 counts of corruption and his attempt at encouraging nepotism within the ANC and Government? There is an argument going around among pro-Zuma supporters that Zuma’s corruption is nothing compared to the injustices committed by the whites during the apartheid and therefore that it is hypocritical that many focus on his mistakes but turn a blind eye to the gruesome acts perpetrated by the whites during the apartheid era.
While there have been some remarkable economic achievements by the ANC, it has, in more than 23 years, simply failed to develop a systematic plan to empower the blacks. It is important that the ANC should hold itself together immediately because once it collapses it might be difficult for blacks to obtain the economic power they so desire. The temptation to be corrupt and to take money from the super wealthy like the Guptas family is what will end ANC rule in South Africa. How fast ANC leaders have forgotten where they came from! The problem is how do we improve the welfare of South Africa’s black population going forward especially concerning the still white-dominated distribution of farm land. In this and many other challenges the nation faces, a solution must be found in a way that is fair and that will not harm the economy. 23 years was enough time to have methodically answered that question and applied its findings. The ANC’s time may be up.