Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa could not have better illustrated the growing gulfs within the ANC than he did in Monday’s front page of this newspaper.
“I want it to be clear that some who continue to serve the government are not in support of the action that has just been taken. Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas are two comrades … who stood firm against corruption, who stood firm against having the Treasury of our country being captured, who stood firm in support of great values and doing the right things,” Ramaphosa said, speaking in Durban.
“And to be rewarded with a dismissal when you’ve been doing the right things, in my view, is hugely unfair and unacceptable.”
It is more than interesting that Ramaphosa would make these remarks in KwaZulu-Natal, President Jacob Zuma’s political heartland. And equally so given the strong difference in opinion on the president’s reshuffle voiced by Zweli Mkhize, the treasurer-general of the ANC and a former provincial premier.
Ramaphosa’s remarks that the intelligence report used by Zuma as justification to assemble an even closer covey of cronies around him was “unintelligent”, echoes the publicly stated feelings of sacked former national police commissioner Bheki Cele – relegated to the post of deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries since 2014, but still a potent force in KwaZulu-Natal politics – about the credence due this “intelligence report”.
It was, noted Ramaphosa, “the most unintelligent report that I have ever heard of. I told the president that I was totally against this move. And I reminded him that he was once a victim of a false report. I reminded the president, I said: ‘Your name was also on that list. You were also supposed to be party to a false plot against President Mbeki.’”
KwaZulu-Natal, we feel, is now a strategic battleground.