Zuma’s friends out­side the ANC

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

With fewer friends in the ANC than be­fore, former pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has in­creas­ingly looked out­side the party for sup­port dur­ing his on­go­ing brushes with the law. The glue that holds these pro-Zuma for­ma­tions to­gether is their de­clared com­mit­ment to rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion as the pol­icy they in­sist the ANC gov­ern­ment should cham­pion.

Given that the slo­gan gained sig­nif­i­cant ap­peal within the ANC un­der Zuma, the po­ten­tial to fur­ther di­vide the party is higher and the ANC and its al­liance part­ners are not im­pressed, more so with the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions around the cor­ner. Some of the struc­tures are said to be op­er­at­ing within the ANC.

At a lo­cal eco­nomic sum­mit in Dur­ban last week, ANC pro­vin­cial in­terim leader Sihle Zikalala warned against an up­surge of so­cial for­ma­tions de­cry­ing ex­clu­sion from the lo­cal econ­omy. This is the cam­paign theme for one of the no­to­ri­ous pro-Zuma group­ings, the De­lan­gokubona Busi­ness Fo­rum.

“Gov­ern­ment can­not ac­cept crim­i­nal el­e­ments and bad be­hav­iour to un­der­mine eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion agenda,” Zikalala said. Rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion was not “syn­ony­mous with hooli­gans and loot­ing”.

With­out men­tion­ing De­lan­gokubona by name, speaker af­ter speaker con­demned “the el­e­ments of crim­i­nal­ity that are dis­rupt­ing the lo­cal econ­omy”. The group stands ac­cused of de­mand­ing 30% of the value of con­struc­tion projects, par­tic­u­larly in eThek­wini, with­out do­ing any ac­tual work.

Nu­mer­ous busi­ness peo­ple and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have told City Press that the fo­rum re­sorts to in­tim­i­da­tion tac­tics when their de­mands are not met, in most in­stances putting a stop to projects. The lat­est one to be af­fected is the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand Ham­mars­dale in­ter­change on the N3 high­way.

Some have claimed that the group is be­ing used as a third force of sorts in the busi­ness world, in­ter­rupt­ing projects on be­half of ma­jor play­ers who have been un­suc­cess­ful in bid­ding for ten­ders.

Labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu’s KwaZulu-Na­tal sec­re­tary, Ed­win Mkhize, said the ANC is “tak­ing some mea­sures to heal it­self, but while it is do­ing so there are some seg­ments hold­ing it be­hind”. Mkhize said “some of the or­gan­i­sa­tions sur­round­ing Zuma do not op­er­ate within the am­bit, cul­ture and tra­di­tion that we know in the ANC”.

“If we are not care­ful, we will have a sit­u­a­tion where we have some­thing that we can­not stop in the fu­ture. Some­times, even when some­thing works in your favour, if it is wrong, you must be able to say that this is not right.

“The ANC must not al­low struc­tures that will just be formed and por­tray them­selves as pro­gres­sive and op­er­ate within the ANC, when they ac­tu­ally are not the re­sem­blance of the tra­di­tion and cul­ture of the ANC, be­cause that thing will def­i­nitely cause di­vi­sions,” he said.

SA Com­mu­nist Party pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Themba Mthembu said if the ANC lost sup­port in the up­com­ing elec­tions, it would largely be be­cause of third forces.

In ad­di­tion to De­lan­gokubona, other for­ma­tions who have thrown their weight be­hind the former pres­i­dent in­clude the Na­tional Fu­neral Prac­ti­tion­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of SA (Na­fupa SA) and the SA Na­tives’ Fo­rum.

DE­LAN­GOKUBONA

De­lan­gokubona’s na­tional chair­per­son, Tha­bani Mzul­wini, said their “main prin­ci­ple is look­ing out for peo­ple”.

“We are not a po­lit­i­cal party and we are not anti gov­ern­ment, we are just in favour of peo­ple get­ting what they de­serve. If gov­ern­ment does not do right by peo­ple, we take them to court.”

He said the fo­rum places par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and looks at the cause holis­ti­cally, even from an ed­u­ca­tion per­spec­tive. He cited as an ex­am­ple a case in Dur­ban’s Umlazi town­ship, where a dis­pute be­tween the SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union and gov­ern­ment re­sulted in school­ing be­ing in­ter­rupted.

“We have taken it upon our­selves to en­gage the MEC of ed­u­ca­tion to tell him to in­ter­vene, be­cause kids must go to school. School­ing is a fun­da­men­tal part of achiev­ing rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and be­com­ing fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent.”

He said the 30% de­mand is out­lined in the Pref­er­en­tial Pro­cure­ment Pol­icy Frame­work Act and that wher­ever gov­ern­ment con­ducts busi­ness there must be “con­trac­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion goals”.

Ac­cord­ing to the act, those bid­ding for prod­ucts and ser­vices worth R30 mil­lion or more must sub­con­tract at least 30% of the value of the con­tract to ex­empted mi­cro en­ter­prises or qual­i­fy­ing small busi­nesses.

“Politi­cians are op­posed to this be­cause when they agree on con­tracts or give out ten­ders, they then re­ceive ma­jor kick­backs. That is why they are against us,” said Mzul­wini.

“We are in­sulted in the me­dia, but we are ready for any­thing be­cause we know the truth and are will­ing to die for it.”

Mzul­wini said the fo­rum’s mem­bers are ac­quir­ing skills nec­es­sary for their kind of work.

“We ne­go­ti­ate with peo­ple. If they don’t hear us and meet the de­mand, we then stop work on those sites. Those sites must close shop and no work must be done un­til we can find each other.”

SA NA­TIVES’ FO­RUM

While other or­gan­i­sa­tions ral­ly­ing around Zuma jumped at the chance to speak to his sup­port­ers out­side court last week, the SA Na­tives’ Fo­rum opted to re­main anony­mous.

They did the same dur­ing a night vigil a day be­fore Zuma’s court ap­pear­ance, where some speak­ers crit­i­cised the ANC, par­tic­u­larly Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Gaut­eng-based Sham­p­ene Mphaloane and Khathi Dikobo are lead­ers of the non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

They said the in­ten­tion be­hind their West­ern Cape High Court ap­pli­ca­tion for a per­ma­nent stay of Zuma’s pros­e­cu­tion is to be­come a part of his­tory by achiev­ing “a landmark judg­ment”.

We are pre­pared to fight it all the way to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, said Dikobo.

The so­cial jus­tice for­ma­tion is also de­fend­ing Khanya Cekeshe, a stu­dent ac­tivist jailed for five years for set­ting fire to a po­lice van in Braam­fontein dur­ing fees must fall protests in 2016.

In fu­ture, said Mphaloane, the plan would be to avoid rep­re­sent­ing in­di­vid­u­als and take on is­sues af­fect­ing groups, par­tic­u­larly con­sti­tu­tional mat­ters and pol­icy fail­ures in gov­ern­ment.

Dikobo said that, as an ex­am­ple, the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion had a low rate of pros­e­cu­tion, de­spite the num­ber of cases that land on its desk.

In cases where the law was flawed, the NGO in­tends to put pres­sure on Par­lia­ment to make changes.

Dikobo said the or­gan­i­sa­tion is self-funded and would rather not take money from donors as this would make it vul­ner­a­ble to “in­fil­tra­tion”.

NA­FUPA SA

In re­cent months, this group has been crit­i­cised for its rad­i­cal stance on big play­ers in the fu­neral in­dus­try. It is lob­by­ing for un­der­tak­ers that are not black owned to be barred from do­ing busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly in town­ships.

The group has en­dorsed the call for rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, go­ing so far as to present Zuma with nu­mer­ous awards for his con­tri­bu­tion to the cause.

Last week, Na­fupa’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Nkosentsha Shezi, called Zuma the fa­ther of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion when he ad­dressed thou­sands of Zuma sup­port­ers out­side court.

PHOTO: TE­BOGO LET­SIE

IN FULL CRY Ja­cob Zuma sup­port­ers marching to the Dur­ban Mag­is­trates’ Court on Fri­day, April 6, where the former pres­i­dent ap­peared on charges of cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing

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