🔒 Hartford: Zuma’s targeted 2/3 majority, finmin Floyd could happen after May 29

With under seven weeks until South Africa heads to the polls, there has been a seismic shift in the political arena. For the first time in 30 years of democracy, the ruling ANC faces the prospect of relinquishing its sole control over the national government. However, the emerging scenario suggests that while the ANC’s dominance is on the wane, its influence could persist through coalition partnerships. Only four contenders have dared to stake their claim for the presidency, including the incumbent Cyril Ramaphosa, firebrand Julius Malema of the EFF, and the enigmatic Jacob Zuma of MK. The dynamics of post-election coalitions, particularly Zuma’s push for a constitutional overhaul, present a complex and uncertain future for South Africa’s governance. As the nation braces for electoral outcomes, the spectre of historic alliances and power struggles looms large, underscoring the critical juncture at which the country stands.

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By Dirk Hartford

In 48 days, 27.7 million eligible voters (15.3 million women) will potentially go to the polls to elect a new government in SA.

One can now say for certain that after 30 years of democracy, the new government will no longer be exclusively ANC-controlled. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

But that does not mean that the new government will not be made up of people who are steeped in the ANC’s culture and traditions.

In fact, for the gamblers amongst us, at this stage, I reckon the odds are 1/2 that this will happen.

For starters, only five people have had the audacity to say they aim to be President after the elections.

One of these (Mogoeng Mogoeng) claims to represent God’s wishes. But no political parties so far seem to support him, despite the DA/Inkatha-led multiparty coalition (and the host of new independent parties swirling around it) having no Presidential candidate of their own.

The others are the incumbent ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, the EFF’s Commander in Chief Julius Malema, MK’s Jacob Zuma and BOSA’s Mmusi Maimane.

Ramaphosa will not be President because of an outright ANC victory, but he might end up President through whatever coalition the ANC enters into after the election.

Malema aimed for power but knew he would not get it. His latest utterances suggest that he would be happy to do some coalition deal with the ANC if Ramaphosa is not President and his EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu becomes Finance Minister.

This brings us to Zuma—the real game-changer in this race. Zuma has raised the bar and said MK’s goal is a two-thirds majority in this election to change the constitution.

Is that even possible? Well, let’s put it this way: it’s not impossible. If MK and the EFF and Ramaphosa’s ANC enter into a coalition post-election, it could happen.

In such a scenario, it’s extremely unlikely that Ramaphosa would continue to be President. The ANC would have to sacrifice him to bed down with the EFF and MK. In all likelihood, Deputy President Paul Mashatile would be thrust into that position.

None of this could have been imagined four months ago when MK had not launched. Since then, it’s been MK doing all the running, and its recent court victories against the ANC and IEC have and will encourage it more and more.

This week, the Electoral Court’s decision will allow Zuma to appear on the ballot paper and go to parliament if he decides to do so.

The Electoral Court’s judgement overturned the IEC’s decision not to allow Zuma on the ballot because of his criminal record.

The man whose objective is a two-thirds majority to change the constitution was in contempt of a constitutional court decision – the highest court in the land. He was sentenced to 15 months.

So why did the Electoral Court overturn the IEC decision? The reasons have not been given yet, but in a nutshell, the law says that a sentence of 12 months or more disqualifies you from participating. Zuma only served three months of his original 15-month sentence.

And who gave Zuma this get-out-of-jail-free card that enabled him to overturn the IEC decision? None other than his mortal enemy, President Cyril Ramaphosa, used his Presidential power to grant Zuma a remission of his sentence.

The paradoxes don’t end there. Zuma is not only the titular head of the new MK party, but he also remains an ANC member, and he has declared his aim of rescuing the ANC from the clutches of the constitutionalist Ramaphosa.

And is he alone in this endeavour? Far from it. His well-resourced MK party is growing in leaps and bounds — not only in KZN, where it will likely emerge victorious but also in several other key constituencies nationwide.

Apart from MK, many Zuma supporters in the RET faction inside the ANC and government are biding their time and have not yet broken cover.

The RET faction and the Ramaphosa faction have been at odds inside the ANC since Ramaphosa so narrowly defeated Zuma at the Elective Conference six years ago.

If it appears that this situation is, in Winston Churchill’s famous words, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” it is because it is. And it isn’t as well.

For those familiar with the internal shenanigans of the ANC of the past 30 years, this is all “same/same but different”. Both Malema’s EFF and Zuma’s MK are the ANC’s errant stepchildren still doing what they were doing inside the ANC – fighting for power.

The future and fate of the country truly hang in the balance depending on who coalesces with whom after the election.

Now, more than ever before, the constitutionalists in Ramaphosa’s ANC need to stand up and be counted and embrace coalition partners who will assist in upholding the constitution and the rule of law in post-election South Africa.

Or else face a future that an apartheid-era political leader, now relegated rightfully so to the dustbin of history, once described as “too ghastly to contemplate” in SA

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