The war for the sullied heart of the ANC continues.
Last week, Cyril Ramaphosa was feeling quietly confident of the support that he holds within the ANC party structures.
So much so, in fact, that he had “come out guns blazing against growing evidence of a nascent plot against him because he does not fear it”.
That confidence would have rattled the likes of Ace Magashule, who decided to go on the offensive.
Here’s the Daily Maverick:
On Friday evening, speaking in his home province of the Free State, Magashule [below] hit back. He told SASCO members that “I am not a product of white people. I am not a product of capital… there are people who are products of the white man in the ANC”.
He also said that “there is no ANC leadership which I am part of that is going to stop me and many others from meeting President Jacob Zuma”. Yes, he used the word “President” again, without including the word “former”. He then went on to say that he was quite happy to go to the Zondo Commission investigating State Capture to explain what he knows.
You know you’re running out of ammo when you have to resort to the old ‘White Monopoly Capital’ angle. In fact, it’s straight out of the Zuma playbook:
There is the claim that Ramaphosa is almost the agent of white people, a rather crude racialisation of what is a political dispute within the ANC. This is exactly what one would expect from the man who helped ensure that both Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen entered the national Cabinet while allegedly in service of the Guptas.
These factions are happy to tear the ANC apart from the inside, which is surprising only for the fact that the 2019 elections are just around the corner.
Then again, desperate times call for desperate measures:
It is surely damaging to the ANC for the secretary-general to respond to the president in the way the erstwhile absolute ruler of Free State chose to. Magashule, Zuma, and the rest of their motley crew must know that by weakening the ANC they increase the possibility of the venerable movement losing power, forever.
But it may be that Magashule, and those around him, simply have not much choice, and space for manoeuvre. What they did during the era of State Capture looks a lot like it was criminal. As Ramaphosa becomes more and more politically assertive, and as the police and criminal justice machinery becomes more independent (the Hawks has a head who is almost universally respected, and Ramaphosa is still to appoint a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority), so Magashule, and Zuma, have more to fear.
It is obvious that they have cases to answer. Zuma is already facing criminal charges; it appears that it may be only a matter of time before Magashule does as well.
With the wolves potentially circling, Zuma found time to nip off to Doha to meet with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. He failed to adhere to protocol with regards informing the presidency, which has led many to question the reason for his trip.
If we were to assume the worst – and with Zuma, that’s always best practice – it leads us here:
It is well-known that Qatar has money, and plenty of it, and is looking around for allies at the moment after being effectively blockaded by its four neighbours. One of the people believed to have arranged Zuma’s Doha visit is Gayton Mckenzie [below]. He also allegedly accompanied Zuma to Russia in hope of being involved in a massive gas deal.
While one should be careful to over-speculate in a situation like this, it seems unlikely that Zuma and McKenzie arranged this trip with the sole purpose of improving Ramaphosa’s health, political or otherwise. It is also likely to be claimed that Zuma was really looking for resources, money, to continue his fightback against Ramaphosa.
The bottom line is that both Zuma and Magashule are being backed into a corner and, given that they lack anything resembling moral fortitude, they will do whatever it takes to escape the legal ramifications of their criminal behaviour.
Whilst Ramaphosa does not have the power to fire Magashule, it’s clear that a showdown is brewing:
It seems likely that both sides have much to lose. Of the two, Magashule is likely to be a more desperate one, because he may feel he is fighting simply to stay a free man. This suggests that the most likely outcome of the current standoff is a long-running period of political contestation, likely to weaken the ANC as a result.
If the DA could play their cards right (which is asking plenty), the ANC could take a real knock at the polls next year.
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