How world sees SA: Be patient as Ramaphosa frees the state, captures the capturers

EDINBURGH — President Jacob Zuma is wily as he is ruthless. He is resisting efforts by his own party to push him aside, no doubt because he is hoping to secure a deal that will protect him, his family and associates from serving jail time for corruption-linked activities. The Zuma family interests are intertwined with the business dealings of the controversial Gupta family and other private sector players. There is a vast body of evidence that has amassed in the public domain that Zuma-linked individuals, including other senior ANC members, have feathered their own nests at the expense of taxpayers. South Africans overwhelmingly want Zuma to go. Under Zuma, South Africa has steadily declined. The longer this protracted leadership battle takes, the more time it will take to get the economy back on track. The Financial Times, a respected global newspaper, notes that Zuma risks embarrassing the ANC further if it can't get him to step down soon. - Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

The party’s culture of unity and collective voting is playing into the hands of Jacob Zuma, who is embarrassing the ANC by refusing to step down as president even though he is no longer the party’s leader.

Nevertheless, it is evident that new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has instituted a freeing of the state and the capture of the capturers.

This is the message delivered to the global Financial Times newspaper by ANC sources who have been commenting to the international media on the end game for Jacob Zuma.

South Africa is getting set for #Zexit, the FT explains, highlighting that Zuma is crafty and ruthless, while Ramaphosa is urbane and possesses negotiating skills that helped bring down the apartheid edifice.

President Jacob Zuma speaks with journalists during the ANC’s 54th national conference in Johannesburg in December 2017. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

ANC insiders say that they have been expecting it to take at least six months to get rid of Zuma as president, while Zuma himself has reportedly indicated that he’d like to stay in office for at least another three months.

ANC veteran Albie Sachs is reported in the FT as saying the leadership crisis is something to be celebrated - there are no tanks on streets.

Ousted former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has said it would be wrong to be discouraged by the theatre - and chaos - of Zuma’s ousting.

The FT notes that Zuma has not been seen for a week.

If Zuma does not step down, the ANC may have to face an embarrassing public spectacle by putting forward a motion of no confidence in parliament.

This will be the second time in a decade that the ANC has dismissed a president. Thabo Mbeki was “recalled” in 2008.

Support for the ANC has declined steadily under Zuma, who is blamed by many for ruining the economy and facilitating the alleged ransacking of state assets in a process known as “state capture”.

The FT underscores that the ANC has consistently endorsed Zuma even though it is now trying to oust him.