The Citizen (KZN)

Zuma far from giving up the ghost – expert

- Steven Tau –

It would be a gross miscalcula­tion to suggest it is game over for the under fire President Jacob Zuma, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said yesterday.

Zuma has been under increasing pressure from different sectors of society, with the ANC alliance partners including the SA Communist Party (SACP), trade union federation Cosatu, opposition parties, as well as ANC stalwarts, calling for him to resign.

And the pressure on the president increased even more after he announced his Cabinet reshuffle, which saw the axing of then finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

But, there have been signs to the contrary as well and these were in support of Zuma.

At the Chris Hani memorial, in Ekurhuleni yesterday, Zuma appeared to be enjoying the support of Limpho Hani (Chris Hani’s widow), who said she refused to play into the hands of those asking “What would Chris say today?”

She also personally thanked Zuma for “being a brother to her” and “a father to her youngest daughter”, who was battling cocaine addiction.

Speaking to The Citizen, Mathekga said while Zuma was without a doubt having a tough time in the wake of growing calls for him to step down, giving up was something far from his mind.

“The president is likely to go into the upcoming ANC elective conference, in December, looking very strong.

“I find it surprising that Limpho [Hani] would choose to take a different view from what the SACP has been calling for in recent times … we don’t know if she is breaking ranks with the SACP or not,” Mathekga said.

Another political analyst, professor Andre Duvenhage, said preaching radical economic and social transforma­tion will form part of an ideology by Zuma to get people’s attention.

“This and other ideologies will be to counter what happened at the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada recently, where leaders such as former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe read out a quote from a letter by the stalwart calling on Zuma to step down.

“However, with the planned march to the Union Buildings by opposition parties tomorrow, we can expect some fireworks and high levels of mobilisati­on,” Duvenhage said, referring to the other marches that had taken place.

President Jacob Zuma received a much needed political moral boost yesterday as Chris Hani’s widow, Limpho, pledged her unwavering support for the ANC and revealed a personal favour that Zuma did for her family during their difficult times.

Zuma is facing a barrage of criticism over two credit rating downgrades and increasing calls within and outside the ANC for him to step down.

Speaking at the commemorat­ion of the 24th anniversar­y of the murder of SACP leader Hani in Boksburg yesterday, the widow dismissed any suggestion that she was against Zuma. Instead, the former parliament­arian said she should not be associated with either of the factions currently fighting for the soul of the ruling party.

“I don’t belong to a faction, I belong to the ANC. I am a member of the ANC and there is one ANC,” Hani said.

She stressed that her late husband was a loyal ANC member. The widow blamed the media for the ongoing infighting within the party, saying society had been bombarded by fake news from social media. “The media can make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent,” she said to loud applause.

Hani lambasted the civil society groups that organised the national march last Friday, calling for Zuma to step down. “No civil society marched to support those poor workers. I feel there is a need for civil society and workers to work together,” she said.

Hani thanked Zuma for looking after her family after she told him the difficulty they faced. “I went through this journey because of President Zuma. He became a brother to me and father to my children. He was a pillar of strength to us,” Hani said.

She said Zuma was the last ANC leader to see Hani alive.

The crowd supported Zuma, singing freedom songs bearing lyrics that recognised the legitimacy of his leadership. There was little chance for anyone who intended to make a speech critical of him as the crowd subtly booed the mention of names of his opponents, such as SACP second general secretary Solly Mapaila.

Zuma said his government was mulling a response that would unite and satisfy South Africans to the country’s credit rating downgrade.

He said he called Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi, Reserve Bank gov- ernor Lesetja Kganyago, and Sars boss Tom Moyane to a meeting yesterday to discuss the government response to the latest downgrade by Fitch Ratings. “We met this morning to discuss how we will respond to unite the country as we move forward,” Zuma said.

Earlier Zuma unveiled a plaque for the Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembranc­e at the Elspark gravesite in Boksburg.

Hani was murdered by Polish immigrant Walus Walusz in the driveway of his Boksburg home on 10 April, 1993. His grave site was declared a national heritage site.

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