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By Alec Hogg
SA’s 2016 municipal election results were tough on the Jacob Zuma-led ANC. But whatever pain loyalists are feeling, it is nothing compared with the way the outcome would have been received within a certain heavily guarded compound in Saxonwold.
The results are a potential catastrophe for SA’s champions of crony capitalism. For one thing, the Gupta family would have been a significant investor into the ANC’s wasted R1bn election war chest. For another, after rashly predicting an ANC landslide, Gupta Media has thrown away what little credibility it had left.
But severe as they are, those blows can be ridden. Not so the sucker punch which threatens to push a desperate ANC into coalition with Julius Malema’s EFF – or see thousands of deployed cadres ejected from cushy jobs in the big three Gauteng metros. After profiting so handsomely from his attacks on the “Zuptas”, it would be inconceivable for Malema to cut any deal with an ANC unless Zuma and the Guptas are off the stage.
So it’s a binary decision for the battered ruling party. Agree a conditions-attached alliance with Malema, retain control of Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and keep thousands of cadres happy. Or remain loyal to Zuma and his business “friends”. It cannot have both.
Worst of all for the ANC, if the DA is given the opportunity to establish a ruling coalition it will apply superhuman effort to fix the mess. And once that happens, as we have seen in Cape Town, residents are unlikely to vote for a return to the old ways.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.