ANC party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa is wrong to say President Jacob Zuma “continues to enjoy overwhelming support from the majority of members of the ANC and society at large”.
Cracks within the ANC widen every day. The party is divided over whether to support Zuma in his attempts to wrestle National Treasury away from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Let’s not forget that’s what this is all about. It’s between those who want to protect the state coffers and those who want to loot.
From Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa downwards, ANC leaders have come out in support of Gordhan. In doing so, they side against Zuma, implicitly or explicitly. Few doubt that Zuma and the controversial Gupta family are behind the prosecutorial harassment of Gordhan.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams bears the trademarks of a puppet: weak-willed and intellectually feeble. Now that some of the Guptas’ suspicious financial dealings have been exposed in court documents, there is increased pressure to take sides.
The pro-Gordhan camp within the ANC has been swelled by, among others, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, chief whip Jackson Mthembu, party treasurer Zweli Mkhize, former treasurer Mathews Phosa, Derek Hanekom, Ahmed Kathrada, and Barbara Hogan.
How would polarisation pan out in the ANC’s top six? Stephen Grootes speculates in the Daily Maverick: “Zuma and Jessie Duarte and probably Baleka Mbete on one side, with Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe, and possibly Mkhize on the other”.
A further sign of a rift is the party’s statement on former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture. Bear in mind how strenuously Zuma and his “weekend special” temporary finance minister Des van Rooyen tried to hobble the finalisation of that document.
Well, on Friday the ANC said it hoped the release of the report, “with its binding recommendations, will assist the ANC and SA to gain clarity on the allegations and point to the resolution of the reported challenges”.
Zuma wants to bury it, while the ANC wants it released?
Analysts say Zuma still has majority support in the party’s national executive committee and in the Cabinet. But such arithmetic fails to take into account seismic shifts in public mood. Gordhan’s disclosures have been likened to a “nuclear bomb”.
The ANC suffered setbacks in the recent local government elections. Mayors, councillors and officials lost their jobs. Massive corruption at local government level is grinding to a halt.
The same greedy, self-preservation instinct which has kept ANC supporters “loyal” to Zuma until now could just as easily persuade them to flee his derailed gravy train.
Zuma is destroying the party from within. Every day that he stays in office, the ANC loses credibility.
So, here’s a message to those who continue to back Zuma: carry on, comrades. Opposition parties benefit from your blind loyalty to the Number One vote shedder. Keep it up.