‘Zuma is SA’s worst pres­i­dent since democ­racy’

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Mathews Phosa has warned that the up­com­ing vote of no con­fi­dence against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma had the po­ten­tial to en­dan­ger the lives of some mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who are sus­pected to be pre­par­ing to vote against party wishes.

In a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with City Press on Fri­day in East Lon­don, Phosa said there were al­ready ANC corpses due to the power strug­gles and po­lit­i­cal killings in ar­eas such as KwaZulu-Na­tal, Mpumalanga, North West and, more re­cently, the Eastern Cape.

He said the po­lit­i­cal killing fields of ANC mem­bers were rapidly ex­pand­ing be­yond KwaZulu-Na­tal and en­gulf­ing other prov­inces. He said peo­ple were killed in some prov­inces be­fore elec­tions or of­ten when they oc­cu­pied lead­er­ship po­si­tions. He also at­trib­uted the killings to the fight for ten­ders and state re­sources.

Phosa was in the province to at­tend the fu­neral of coun­cil­lor Thozama Njobe, the speaker of Ray­mond Mh­laba Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Fort Beau­fort, yes­ter­day. Njobe was gunned down in what is be­lieved to be a po­lit­i­cal hit.

He warned that the lack of tol­er­ance of op­pos­ing views and the scram­ble for wealth through ten­ders by mem­bers of Africa’s old­est lib­er­a­tion move­ment seemed to have be­come a curse.

Al­though Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete has not de­cided whether it would be an open or se­cret bal­lot, Phosa de­scribed the process as a mo­ment of truth for MPs who be­lieved they were “lead­ers”.

“The se­cret bal­lot is a uni­ver­sal right in ad­vanced democ­ra­cies to pro­tect you. It means you talk to your own con­science. When party mem­bers be­come mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, they take an oath to­wards the Con­sti­tu­tion of the coun­try, not their par­ties. I believe the na­tional call should su­per­sede be­cause it is a mo­ment of de­ci­sion.

“If you don’t al­low a se­cret vote, you are ex­pos­ing those mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who vote against the pres­i­dent and [tar­get­ing them] to be killed. The threats are there al­ready. What else do you want to hap­pen? It’s not like we are in­vent­ing the threats – they are there,” Phosa in­sisted.

“The death of com­rade Thozama in­di­cates that the killings are not end­ing there in KwaZulu-Na­tal. The killing fields are ex­pand­ing. In North West, [Wandile Bozwana] was killed. For what? So th­ese four prov­inces have be­come the killing fields of South Africa; where dif­fer­ent views are not tol­er­ated. If you say you won’t be cor­rupted and refuse to sign off on unau­tho­rised ex­pen­di­ture, they kill you,” he said.

As an ex­am­ple, he spoke about ANC MP Makhosi Khoza, who has re­ported that she has been sub­jected to on­go­ing tele­phonic threats. She has pub­licly ex­pressed her con­cerns over the state of the ANC, and said she did not un­der­stand why mem­bers of Par­lia­ment were be­ing threat­ened with se­ri­ous ac­tion should they vote against the pres­i­dent.

Turn­ing his at­ten­tion to Zuma, Phosa said the Nkandla scan­dal was the point when he re­alised that Zuma was not good for the coun­try. Phosa has joined other lead­ers, in­clud­ing SA Com­mu­nist Part gen­eral sec­re­tary Blade Nz­i­mande, who have boldly ac­knowl­edged their er­ror of judg­ment in sup­port­ing Zuma in the past. Phosa said Zuma was the worst pres­i­dent the coun­try has had since the dawn of democ­racy, and the coun­try had been given a wake-up call to not sink this low again.

“I am judg­ing him in terms of Nel­son Man­dela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Mot­lanthe. The is­sue of Zuma is tax­ing on the mem­bers of the ANC. It is ex­pen­sive to the ANC. It is ex­pen­sive to South Africa. That’s why some mem­bers of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee have raised the ques­tion on whether he must go. Ac­tu­ally, some of us have taken a stance that he must go. It is un­equiv­o­cal that he must go.

“The coun­try has been down­graded to ‘junk’ sta­tus. Our econ­omy is not grow­ing and un­em­ploy­ment is high. We will soon face a re­ac­tion from the masses if we don’t take ac­tion as ANC lead­er­ship,” Phosa said.

He said it was not sur­pris­ing that those who de­fended Zuma kept pop­ping up in re­la­tion to the cache of emails known as the Gupta Leaks be­cause they had the same in­ter­ests as Zuma.

“Some of them think they will never be min­is­ters if he goes away. And I think they are right. No one will make them min­is­ters. So they have to de­fend that which made them min­is­ters at all costs.

“How do you ex­plain that the Con­sti­tu­tional Court says the man broke his oath of of­fice – that he did not pro­tect the Con­sti­tu­tion – and then the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the ANC says we must take col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity? You would have to bury me in my grave, I will never do that,” he swore.

Phosa also lamented the fact that law en­force­ment agen­cies in the coun­try had been ren­dered use­less, with the Hawks and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity si­lenced or crip­pled and un­able to act against the Gup­tas and other in­di­vid­u­als, de­spite the over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence link­ing them through the leaked emails. This pro­moted a sit­u­a­tion where there were no con­se­quences for wrong­do­ing in the coun­try, he said.

Phosa said both a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of en­quiry and par­lia­men­tary en­quiry were needed to get to the truth. The pres­i­dent was not help­ing the sit­u­a­tion by ar­gu­ing that he should ap­point a judge to head a com­mis­sion of en­quiry into state cap­ture, some­thing he has been ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in. Phosa added that Zuma’s move was de­lay­ing the process so that, by the time the com­mis­sion fin­ished its job, the pres­i­dent would be “sit­ting in Nkandla out of his of­fice, or in Dubai”.

On the in­tegrity of party branches and their abil­ity to make independent de­ci­sions, he said branches needed to be cleaned out be­cause they had been cor­rupted. He blamed what he called gate­keep­ing within the move­ment, ar­gu­ing that it was killing the party.

He re­called that, at one stage, it took more than a year to re­new his own mem­ber­ship card in his Mpumalanga branch. He was forced to visit Luthuli House, where he was even­tu­ally is­sued with an au­then­tic card.


FORTH­RIGHT Matthews Phosa

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