The spread of the #ZumaMustGo sympathisers is growing as faith in this country’s embattled president continues to erode confidence in his ability to breathe life back into an economy a shaky step away from junk status, or heal the rifts now obvious in the monolithic face of the ANC.
The party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria on Sunday was dominated by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom’s call – backed by among others Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu – for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The motion for Zuma to step down was strongly backed by a number of NEC members.
While it is unlikely that the iconoclastic Zuma will heed the groundswell, the motion will doubtless earn his extreme displeasure at a frontal assault led from within the party’s top echelon. It is doubtful that this will be let to pass unanswered. Zuma is not widely known as a forgiving individual.
But whether the blowback will be an immediate bloodletting at Cabinet level is purely conjecture at this stage. Streetwise politician that he is, Zuma is more likely to bide his time and await his opportunity for retribution.
The president is more aware than most that he is the man who, more than any other in this diverse and difficult democracy, is sowing the divisions within his own party stronghold.
The revolt at NEC level merely raises the ante in the risky, high-stakes poker game of ANC politics to a new level, while adding very little to the core internal debate of how we as a country have managed to sink this low.
To paraphrase the old witticism, things have gotten so bad inside the ANC that they are no longer stabbing one another in the back, but rather in the front.