Russian roulette is a dangerous, suicidal game. Here is how it works. You load a live bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spin the cylinder, point the gun at your head and pull the trigger. Bang. Or maybe a mere click.
Most revolvers have six chambers, so you have a one-in-six chance of serious injury or death. Don’t try it at home. Who plays Russian roulette?
A few YouTube daredevils, Deerhunters assorted war veterans, and not-my-president Jacob Zuma.
Exactly how many bullets Zuma has loaded is a state secret. So, too, the number of chambers in the spinning cylinder. But Zuma has certainly embarked on a deadly gamble.
He is risking the future of this country, and his party, on what betting folk call a long shot.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin holding a gun to his head, Zuma pulled off a Cabinet reshuffle to speed up a R1 trillion-plus nuclear deal with Rosatom.
Those who stood in the way have been brushed aside, while massage parlour patron David Mahlobo has been elevated to the post of minister of energy to ensure Putin’s will is done.
Zuma’s own party and the tripartite alliance have been rent asunder by this shake-up. Yet Zuma is in his element.
He thrives on chaos and is ready to stir more to ensure he gets his way. If Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba does not make the right noises in today’s mid-term budget policy statement, his tenure will be short-lived.
He’s already on shaky ground after saying South Africa cannot afford nuclear power.
However, the thunderclap which Zuma may yet deliver is to dismiss Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Zuma is desperate as he watches the dwindling electoral fortunes of his preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Those who say he wouldn’t dare fire Ramaphosa cannot be sure.
With the US Federal Bureau of Investigation looking into the affairs of the Guptas, Zuma will also be under scrutiny.
Our national director of public prosecutions, Shaun “The Sheep” Abrahams, has given Zuma a lifeline, allowing him until November 30 to explain why he should not face corruption charges.
But the FBI will not be so forgiving. Zuma knows that. One escape option will be to create more chaos by dismissing Ramaphosa.
Within the ANC, ructions will provide an excuse to delay the national conference, which means the election to replace Zuma as party leader will be postponed.
This will allow time for Zuma to carry out the orders of his Russian paymasters, who have not been pleased by the Western Cape High Court order declaring the nuclear deal invalid and unconstitutional.
Nor did they appreciate [former energy minister] Mmamoloko Kubayi’s lack of enthusiasm for nuclear power. That’s why she was moved from the energy portfolio last week.
Zuma and his new ex-con cronies stand to benefit from the Russian deal, which will create long-term debt that will impoverish even our children’s children.
On the other hand, if Zuma dismisses Ramaphosa, the move could backfire. The reaction could see him removed from the presidencies of party and state.
That’s the thing about Russian roulette. You don’t know until you pull the trigger. Who will suffer most if Ramaphosa is fired?