How long can the Zuma pres­i­dency hold?

Lesotho Times - - Opin­ion & Anal­y­sis -

and state cap­ture is­sues is that the ANC is now more cir­cum­spect and peo­ple in the se­nior lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, trust the ev­i­dence in the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s re­port. It is un­likely that the ANC would go the same route to pro­tect Zuma and his co­horts on state cap­ture as they did pre­vi­ously.

Zuma’s pres­i­dency, mean­while, also has to con­tend with the reper­cus­sions of the at­tempted pros­e­cu­tion of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han. Un­der pres­sure from Free­dom un­der Law and the He­len Suz­man Foun­da­tion, Zuma’s of­fice wrote to Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) head Shaun Abra­hams say- ing he should pro­vide the pres­i­dent with rea­sons why he should not be sus­pended. Two other NPA of­fi­cials, Si­bongile Mziny­athi and Torie Pre­to­rius, who led the failed at­tempt to pros­e­cute Gord­han and for­mer South African Rev­enue Ser­vices of­fi­cials Ivan Pil­lay and Oupa Ma­gashula, also re­ceived let­ters from the pres­i­dency re­quest­ing the same.

“The Pres­i­dent has re­quested the three ad­vo­cates to make writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tions to him, as to why they should not be placed on sus­pen­sion and whether to hold an in­quiry into their fit­ness to hold of­fice,” the pres­i­dency said. Abra­hams, who tried to in­gra­ti­ate him­self with the pres­i­dent by try­ing to pur­sue Gord­han, now finds him­self as the latest high-rank­ing of­fi­cial in the se­cu­rity and jus­tice es­tab­lish­ment to be com­pro­mised and thrown un­der the bus. The ini­tial col­lu­sion be­tween the NPA and Hawks over Gord­han’s pros­e­cu­tion has also crum­bled with an irate ex­change be­tween Abra­hams and Hawks head Bern­ing Ntle­meza ex­posed in court pa­pers.

Zuma’s pres­i­dency is on un­steady ground. He is jug­gling mul­ti­ple le­gal pro­cesses, in­clud­ing try­ing to fend off cor­rup­tion charges as a re­sult of the spy tapes case. His im- proper re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas has been ex­posed and he faces fur­ther le­gal chal­lenges as a re­sult. Zuma’s ap­pear­ances in Par­lia­ment will con­tinue to be tu­mul­tuous as a re­sult of his pres­i­dency be­ing heav­ily com­pro­mised by the ev­i­dence of state cap­ture. While op­po­si­tion par­ties are mount­ing pres­sure against him, his sup­port in the ANC is frac­tur­ing.

Zuma’s al­lies in Cab­i­net and in state in­sti­tu­tions are also un­der pres­sure and could turn on each other — as Abra­hams and Ntle­meza have done. Those who are push­ing back against state cap­ture, such as

Man­tashe in the ANC and Gord­han in the state, are be­ing strength­ened by pub­lic sup­port and civil so­ci­ety cam­paign­ing against Zuma.

The house of cards is trem­bling. It is a mat­ter of time be­fore more peo­ple in the ANC and the state aban­don the Zuma-gupta nexus, and opt to save their own po­lit­i­cal ca­reers. It is a long time be­tween now and the 2019 elec­tions for the cen­tre to hold. If the ANC is to sur­vive, fo­cus needs to shift from the crum­bling ed­i­fice of the Zuma pres­i­dency to the new lead­er­ship that will be elected in December 2017.

The next few months will see a shift in power away from Zuma. From then on, he will be on bor­rowed time. And not a mo­ment too soon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.