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Is Zuma about to fall?

17 March 2016, 11:44 Adriaan Basson, News24

The shocking revelations by a brave Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas have confirmed what we’ve suspected for a long time: President Jacob Zuma is not in control of South Africa.

Zuma has outsourced his constitutional duties to rule South Africa in the best interest of all citizens to the Guptas – in an uncanny parallel of what he and Schabir Shaik did in KwaZulu-Natal when he was MEC for economic development.

In the Shaik case Zuma received hundreds and thousands of rands from his “financial advisor”. Shaik paid for everything – from a car valet to the bond on Zuma’s children’s’ flat in Johannesburg. In return Zuma assisted Shaik in obtaining contracts.

That’s why Shaik went to jail, albeit only for a short while.

The Guptas have taken their quid pro quo to another level. Zuma’s son Duduzane is a multi-millionaire courtesy of the Guptas’ business empire. Duduzane’s Mabengela Investments is a shareholder in the Guptas’ biggest companies, from mining to media.

Therefore it is impossible for Zuma to cut him loose from the Guptas.

Ferial Haffajee, editor of City Press, writes that Duduzane was the first person to make contact with Jonas about the soon-to-be vacancy of minister of finance. That was before his father fired Nhlanhla Nene.

Duduzane and the Guptas knew what was coming. “The old man wants to make you finance minister” the Guptas told Jonas according to Haffajee, who interviewed the deputy minister.

Zuma will try his best over the next few days to wash his hands off the Jonas scandal. Expect a response like “they are doing these things without my knowledge” or “I’ve given nobody the permission to headhunt ministers; that was my decision.”

That will not be good enough. If Zuma is not willing to publicly distance himself and his family from the Guptas – business interests included – we will know that he is a captured president. A bought president.

What can the ANC do?

Jackson Mthembu tweeted: “Who the hell do they think they are?” Vytjie Mentor is busy revealing all the details about her Saxonworld visit on Facebook. It is clear that at least a section of the ANC has had enough of Zuma and the Guptas.

They realise just how deep Zuma is nestled in this mess and that the party has to rescue itself from a compromised president.

The question remains whether there are enough members of the national executive committee (NEC) who feel this way. The NEC meets this weekend and Zizi Kodwa, ANC spokesperson, has confirmed they will be discussing Jonas and the Guptas.

Plenty of NEC members have Zuma to thank for their jobs and this is an election year. Will the ANC take the risk of recalling Zuma before the local government elections? Can this save the party from embarrassing defeats in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria? Or is the ANC scared this might cause instability before the election?

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s name has not been mentioned in recent days for no reason. But this campaign is driven by Gauteng and the province on its own is not strong enough to dethrone Zuma.

But with the help of the Eastern Cape (Gwede Mantashe), Limpopo (Cyril Ramaphosa) and half of KwaZulu-Natal (Bheki Cele), the ANC may just have a new leader by the end of the weekend.

If the ANC does not act firmly against Zuma this weekend, the party never will and Zuma will in all likelihood serve out his term until 2019.

Jonas’s revelations have shown just how naked the emperor really is.

  • Basson is editor-in-chief of Netwerk24 and incoming editor of News24. He is the author of ‘Zuma Exposed’ (Jonathan Ball).

- News24

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