Du­els to so look out for in 2017

In 2016 we were treated to egos, big­ger egos and super­egos akin to en­ter­tain­ment wrestlers. It was a dirty game of first blood, a hard-core wrestling match where the win­ner was the first to make their op­po­nent bleed. And some of the bat­tles will def­i­ni­tel


Pravin Gord­han VS Shaun Abra­hams, Tom Moy­ane and Bern­ing Ntle­meza

Last year Hawks head Ntle­meza and Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) head Abra­hams worked to­gether to for­mu­late charges against Gord­han, but with­drew them af­ter civil or­gan­i­sa­tions poked holes in them. Only Ntle­meza has voiced an ob­jec­tion to the dropping of fraud and theft charges against Gord­han, so, rea­son­ably speak­ing, that chap­ter seems closed. But there is still an­other smok­ing gun: the ‘rogue unit’ al­le­ga­tions. The ini­tial anx­i­ety to charge Gord­han on the rogue unit be­fore Christ­mas last year ap­pears to have died down. This sig­nals a more cau­tious ap­proach in 2017 from the Hawks and NPA

Pravin Gord­han VS Tom Moy­ane

Ide­ally there should be a close re­la­tion­ship be­tween the fi­nance min­is­ter and the head of rev­enue col­lec­tion. But 2016 was the start of a cat-and-mouse game be­tween Gord­han and Moy­ane. The lat­ter re­fuses to ac­count to Gord­han, while the min­is­ter wants to as­sert his author­ity. It got so bad that some even pon­dered re­mov­ing the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice from the Treasury and plac­ing it un­der, say, state se­cu­rity. Bizarre as it is, ex­pect more of the same in 2017

Robert McBride VS Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko

McBride and Nh­leko fin­ished 2016 in much the same way they started it. Nh­leko, widely seen as one of Zuma’s sweep­ers in Cab­i­net’s se­cu­rity clus­ter, is de­ter­mined to boot out McBride as head of the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate. He has charged him with pro­tect­ing for­mer Hawks head Anwa Dra­mat from charges of ren­di­tion. The re­silient McBride is not budg­ing and the charges and coun­ter­changes are likely to con­tinue in the se­cu­rity clus­ter

Kebby Maphat­soe VS Siphiwe Nyanda

Maphat­soe’s con­tro­ver­sial lead­er­ship of the Umkhonto weSizwe Mil­i­tary Veter­ans As­so­ci­a­tion (MKMVA), which led to it be­ing viewed as a fac­tional group sup­port­ing Zuma, con­trib­uted to a resur­gence among other Umkhonto we Sizwe veter­ans, who say they are con­cerned about the direction of the party. The two groups held sep­a­rate an­niver­sary events in De­cem­ber, and 2017 could see the ques­tion of who the real MKMVA veter­ans are be­ing fur­ther in­ter­ro­gated Pravin Gord­han VS The Gup­tas Whose bank is it any­way? That seems to be the cen­tral ques­tion Gord­han has posed to the Gup­tas as they press that he use his po­lit­i­cal mus­cle to whip the ma­jor banks into line for shut­ting down the ac­counts of busi­nesses linked to the fam­ily. But be­fore the courts de­cide on that, there is also a small mat­ter of 76 sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions that are at the cen­tre of the banks’ boy­cotting Gupta money. We are go­ing to spend a lot of time in court in 2017 just to get this one done and dusted

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma VS Cyril Ramaphosa

The two are shap­ing up to take over the pres­i­dency of the ANC and pos­si­bly of the coun­try. Dlamini-Zuma is be­lieved to be sup­ported by the sup­port­ers of her for­mer hus­band, who are still in the ma­jor­ity in the party. With Cosatu and (likely) the SA Com­mu­nist Party be­hind him, Ramaphosa will give her a run for her money. The dark horses in­clude min­is­ter in the pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe, Baleka Mbete, Lindiwe Sisulu and an­other fierce Zuma critic, Mathews Phosa. The cam­paigns are all tak­ing place be­hind the scenes as we en­ter 2017, but the fog will start clear­ing around midyear as we ap­proach the ANC pol­icy con­fer­ence

Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane VS Thuli Madon­sela

There must be a good rea­son why Mkhwe­bane be­lieves that her im­me­di­ate task in of­fice since tak­ing over in Oc­to­ber is to clean out Madon­sela’s closet. But, of course, ven­tur­ing into any spec­u­la­tion at this point would be grossly un­fair. Madon­sela thinks Mkhwe­bane risks por­tray­ing her­self as Zuma’s pro­tec­tor and not the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor. Mkhwe­bane thinks Madon­sela should not rule from the grave and just shut up – a rel­a­tively dif­fi­cult thing to do when Zuma is on a cam­paign to dis­credit Madon­sela’s work on the State of Cap­ture re­port, which im­pli­cates him. Among the re­port’s bind­ing re­me­dial action is that a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry be set up to in­ves­ti­gate Zuma and his friends. Zuma has taken the re­port for re­view and the rul­ing and his re­ac­tion to it will be one of the big­ger sto­ries of 2017

Parks Tau VS Her­man Mashaba

If you are a Gaut­eng res­i­dent and ea­ger to quickly for­get about the pre­vi­ous ANC ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der Tau, tough luck. DA mayor Her­man Mashaba won’t let you as he con­tin­u­ally trots out fail­ures un­der Tau. It is now Tau’s role as leader of the op­po­si­tion to find faults in Mashaba’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and not the other way around. As we saw in Tsh­wane re­cently, the ANC will be waiting to make a meal out of any blun­ders by Mashaba and other DA may­ors

The Op­pen­heimers The Gup­tas VS

If you be­lieve Gupta sym­pa­this­ers like Jimmy Manyi, Andile Mngxi­tama and a few peo­ple in the ANC, this is the real bat­tle at the cen­tre of all other non-bat­tles. In that nar­ra­tive, the Gup­tas rep­re­sent trans­for­ma­tion and the ad­vance­ment of the ANC’s na­tional demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tion, while the Ru­perts and Op­pen­heimers are the faces of es­tab­lished mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal that frus­trates the Gupta-like black em­pow­er­ment. But the spin has been hard to sell be­cause the only ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Gupta eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment (‘GEE’) ap­pear to be Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s fam­ily, friends and as­so­ciates

Pres­i­dent Zuma VS Derek Hanekom, Aaron Mot­soaledi and Thu­las Nx­esi The Ru­perts

Did the min­is­ters dig their own graves at the last ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) meet­ing in Novem­ber when they called for Zuma to step down? Or was it a case throw­ing a pre-emp­tive strike in an­tic­i­pa­tion that Zuma had plans to get rid of them any­way? The an­swers will be clearer as 2017 takes shape. For one, hard­lin­ers in the Zuma camp think he should have no mercy and axe the min­is­ters be­cause it would be un­ten­able for him to work with peo­ple who do not have con­fi­dence in his lead­er­ship. But ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe will also be watch­ing closely. He has al­ready said that there were ‘no min­is­ters in the NEC’ and that every­one was an or­di­nary mem­ber of the struc­ture, so no one should be vic­timised for their views

Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng VS Jack­son Mthembu

Is 2017 the year we fi­nally get rid of Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng at the SABC? If you are a sup­porter of Mot­soe­neng, Mthembu can­not be trusted be­cause he tried to ‘cap­ture’ the SABC dur­ing a meet­ing with Mot­soe­neng in Rivo­nia. But Mthembu is al­ready su­ing for defama­tion over this state­ment and is con­vinced that cor­rupt el­e­ments need to be weeded out of the pub­lic broad­caster. The fight over the broad­caster comes to a head in Fe­bru­ary when the ad hoc com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing the SABC cri­sis presents its re­port. But, Mot­soe­neng has proved to have nine lives and will be fight­ing to re­tain his po­si­tion

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