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CAPE TOWN — Cyril Ramaphosa must take his Long Walk Back to Freedom now and not bet on winning the ANC party leadership contest at December’s conference, says DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Speaking at the Cape Town Press Club yesterday, he told assembled hacks and spin-doctors that the increasingly foul stench emanating from the ruling Zuptoids has polluted the entire party. Only an election and an entirely new government could bring about any kind of effective clean up. I guess being in the ANC today is similar to having been a white South African overseas during the worst apartheid years – or being in the PR industry as the racism-inciting Bell Pottinger Group fouls the global professional waters. However loudly you protest or try and distant yourself in truth and conviction, you’re going to get tarred with the same brush. Except perhaps Maimane is missing one critical thing in his exhortation; Ramaphosa and other ANC reformists may be fiercely critical of Zuma and his Zuptoids, but they want to re-claim the party of the Freedom Charter. They want to restore credibility to the slogan of “A Better Life for All”– and may prove captive to their powerful historical allegiances. – Chris Bateman
By Donwald Pressly*
The ANC is now so infected with the smell of corruption that Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane wonders why Cyril Ramaphosa hangs around in the governing party.
When the DA leader was asked whether the result of the no confidence vote suggested that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was in an unassailable position at the upcoming ANC elective conference, he nodded. He said the party was already so infected, riddled with corruption that Cyril Ramaphosa should leave the governing party now. He should lead a breakaway ahead of the December conference.
Maimane said that people of like minds should work together, not necessarily in the same political party, with a view at looking at forming coalitions in the future.
While Maimane would not be drawn on whether he believed that Julius Malema was simply biding his time – flirting with the DA before heading back to the ANC, Maimane said that Malema’s party would have to consider how it fostered its policies of socialism and land expropriation going forward. He did not believe, however that the work with the EFF was a waste of time.
Asked about an early election and the basis of his election manifesto, Maimane said he was a democrat. “I believe there are enough South Africans who are hankering for change. That is what they want. Otherwise they wouldn’t be taking to the streets…wouldn’t be marching in their numbers.”
The ANC caucus in parliament “and the ANC itself” was protecting President Jacob Zuma, implying that the only way to change that was to remove the ANC’s electoral majority. South Africa would have to live with whatever outcome there was to such an early election but it was important that “the people be heard,” he said. Maimane placed a motion before parliament last week for a snap election to be held.
Pressed on a R400,000 donation made by the Guptas – through their company Sahara – to the DA in 2009, he said. “At that point the donation came from Sahara…the difficulty was at that point…the issue was not about the exchange of influence and finance. In fact we made it quite clear…having had this conversation…the Guptas then requested that Helen Zille (then DA leader) give them a blue light brigade from the airport…and she said we simply refuse.”
“I think the quantum was far less than that (R400,000)…the donation came from Sahara.” Since then “their (the Guptas) influence has grown…there is no doubt they have captured many state owned enterprises.” In response to another questioner, he later said the total donation was returned to the Guptas.
He said it was a principle that any money donated to the DA “cannot exchange any favour from government whatsoever”. Private funding was a conundrum for political parties, he acknowledged, as it was needed to sustain democracy. At the same time the principle of transparency was at stake. “That is why we are debating (this issue) in parliament…The best way to destroy the opposition is to destroy their funding.”
He noted that First Rand and Nedbank had been called to account when they opposed the government. They were summoned to the ANC headquarters Luthuli House and told they would lose their government contracts.
He believed “the post ANC world” would see a realignment of politics. It would bring parties that agree on five values: Constitutionalism, the rule of law, an inclusive economy, a market based economy and the principle of non-racialism. “The idea of building a capable state,” he said, was also key. The parties should also be joined together in an intolerance of corruption.
The key issue in the 2019 election would be “jobs, jobs, jobs”.
Asked if Dr Makhosi Khoza, the ANC MP who was on Thursday kicked out as public administration committee chairperson, and Pravin Gordhan would be given seats in parliament by the Democratic Alliance, he said these issues could be sorted out by an election. He could not pledge seats to anyone as the DA believed in democratic elective processes.
- Donwald Pressly is editor of Cape Messenger.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.