Factionalism the order of the day. Is ANC Inc. imploding bit-by-bit?

It was a question asked many times over on Twitter. Why did the Finance Minister or Deputy President not accompany President Jacob Zuma to the Brics summit in India? Donwald Pressly says its a sign the political order is beginning to unravel. The news that Cyril Ramaphosa publicly came out in support of Pravin Gordhan, adds further fuel to this fire. Pressly says factionalism has become the order of the day in the ANC, and they can no longer hide it. He analyses the potential implosion of the ruling party, bit by bit. – Stuart Lowman

By Donwald Pressly*

When a distinguished editor writes that the president of the country “successfully ran for the presidency of the ANC (after being acquitted of rape), which catapulted him to the highest office in the land. Once there, he proceeded to violate South Africa – its constitution, its finances, its institutions, its morality, its ethics and its character”, then you know that things are really bad.

Donwald Pressly, Cape Messenger editor.
Donwald Pressly, Cape Messenger editor.

These were the words of City Press (and former Sunday Times) editor Mondli Makhanya this last Sunday in his moving account of the life and death of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (known until recently only as Khwezi), the woman who had Zuma charged with rape. He was later acquitted. But what was perhaps most disturbing about Makhanya’s piece – who was at the time of the rape allegation, editor of the Sunday Times – was that Zuma never once went out to the baying crowds who were shouting for Khwezi’s head. They were wanting her to be killed. They said she was a whore. “If the brutal rape inside the courtroom was not enough, outside she was being subjected to a mass gang-rape. Hundreds –sometimes thousands – of people would gather outside to curse her as she arrived in the morning and as she left in the late afternoon. Day in, day out, she endured intolerable abuse from the mob that bayed for her blood, shouting out: “Sifebe! Nondindwa! Witch! Bitch! Whore! Devil! Lucifer! Satan!” reported Makhanya.

The future president was unperturbed by the goings-on outside the court. Later a celebrations of the Zuma victory, he sang is famous war song: Umshini Wami. The crowd piled more crude insults on the young woman, who has now died.

This account of the character of our president in the context of this violation of Khwezi, I believe is the most devastating indictment I have seen of him in the millions of words written about him in the last few weeks. He is exposed as the person who has violated South Africa, its body politic and now its economy.

The Sunday Times on Sunday devoted a page to “State Capture Special Report”. It shows a telling picture of President Zuma with Vijay Singh, India’s minister for external affairs. It noted that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas did not accompany the president – as expected. That in itself is hugely significant.

Back at home, a range of ANC leaders including spokesman Zizi Kodwa, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, deputy health minister Joe Phaahla came out in support of Gordhan who faces charges of fraud regarding the allegedly irregular retirement of former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.  Perhaps the most interesting supporter of Gordhan was ANC parliamentary caucus chief whip Jackson Mthembu who said: “As ANC leaders and NEC members we can’t keep quite because if we do so, we’ll be seen as agreeing to this nonsense (of Gordhan and two SARS ex-officials being charged).”

A protestor holds a banner suggesting the African National Congress (ANC) is "For Sale" during a nationwide march against corruption in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Several thousand people joined marches in three of South AfricaÕs main cities on Wednesday to protest corruption in the continentÕs most-industrialized economy. Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg

It is clear that there is a war between the Gupta-family aligned ministers – Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minerals Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Provincial and Local Government Minister Des van Rooyen – and the rest.

Van Rooyen has blocked, albeit temporarily the Public Protector’s report on state capture. Joemat-Pettersson has been fueling the appalling Russia/SA nuclear deal while Zwane has been fostering the business interests of the Gupta family. Gordhan has now exposed through a court action that millions of rand has been allegedly illegally been shipped around by the Guptas. On Tuesday, Nazeem Howa – who has defended the Gupta family to the hilt for years and has been the public face of the Gupta empire – resigned as chief executive officer. He has pledged to give testimony in Gordhan’s trial.

  • Donwald Pressly, editor Cape Messenger. You can follow him on Twitter @DonwaldPressly.
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