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By Alec Hogg
At 2pm yesterday, en route to the Pietermaritzburg Airport, I pulled the Europcar off the road. The ANC’s nationally broadcast press conference on the fate of its version of the ill-fated King Charles I was too good to miss. Because SA president Jacob Zuma, who until a couple months ago seemingly ruled by divine right, was now effectively being read his political last rites. Zuma is expected to formally resign today.
The half hour or so was filled with ironies, primarily that the blow was administered by Zuma’s once staunch ally, former Free State premier Ace Magashule. Recalling Zuma, he said, was a collective decision. The party which had deployed him into the presidency was now “undeploying” him from the Union Buildings. The only debate was the ANC wanted him out now while Zuma wanted to stay three more months.
The ANC’s new secretary general, one of Zuma’s staunchest allies, weakly tried to explain his switch in loyalties. But as if to compensate, gave Zumanomics a punt by emphasising that Zimbabwe’s disastrous experiment with land expropriation without compensation remained official ANC policy.
That foolishness is sure to hearten the suddenly back-footed opposition parties. As will Magashule’s assertion that disciplined ANC members do not question the collective – nor, when they vote in Parliament, do they allow their consciences to determine their decisions. Old style Soviet ideas didn’t die with the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.