Zuma’s allies may fall with him as the Zupta empire crumbles

Zuma’s allies may fall with him as the Zupta empire crumbles

Finance Minister Gigaba and Police Minister Mbalula may just survive the chop, says analyst.

When President Jacob Zuma does finally go, many of his allies in Cabinet and state organs may go down with him.

Several ministers, deputy ministers and officials of state organs are likely to be axed when the next Cyril Ramaphosa government takes shape.

Ramaphosa, as South Africa’s new “Mr Clean”, will certainly take into consideration the allegations of corruption and maladministration surrounding them.

A source with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Ramaphosa camp listed ministers Bathabile Dlamini, Mosebenzi Zwane, Lynne Brown, Faith Muthambi, Kebby Maphatsoe and Bongani Bongo as among those with no prospect of serving in the new government.

“These are the people who messed up big time in the government and painted the ANC in a bad light in the eyes of the voters,” he said. The ANC president wants a clean government and has insisted that all government deployees must account to ANC headquarters.

Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe believes although Ramaphosa won the ANC presidency on the anti-corruption and party unity ticket, he won’t pursue unity for the sake of it. “Good governance will take precedence over anything else,” he said.

Ramaphosa would likely hire those with a track record in good governance to correct the wrongs committed under his predecessor, Zuma.

“I don’t see him going after his political opponents in the ANC. He might still want to unite the party, but will first ensure the maladministration is nipped in the bud,” he said. Zwane, Brown and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba have been linked to state capture involving the Gupta family.

Zwane is central to the dairy project from which the Guptas allegedly benefited R220 million. But Susan Booysen, an analyst based at Wits University, said some “converts” from the Zuma era, like Gigaba and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, might survive the chop.

“I don’t see Cyril taking Gigaba to Davos and then a few months down the line cutting him out of the Cabinet,” Booysen said. Some ministers might be kept on for unity purposes if they are in the National Working Committee, but the likes of Bathabile Dlamini would not be spared, she added.

Since Ramaphosa swept to power as ANC president in December, a number of Zuma diehards in the party were shifting allegiance. Gigaba, Mbalula and Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association head Kebby Maphatsoe have been kowtowing to Ramaphosa recently.

But Hlophe cited unfair expectation that Ramaphosa would crack the whip on individuals because of his strong anti-corruption campaign message. He could not do that on his own initiative as he is restricted by the collective decision-making process of the ANC.

Instead he will crackdown on state institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks, putting pressure on them to fulfil their duties.

“I see him operating within the confines of these institutions. I see him acting when there are adverse findings against his fellow comrades from the state capture commission.”

Those he saw as likely to be ministers in the new government were former ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader and premier Senzo Mchunu, former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola, Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Naledi Pandor, Ramaphosa’s advisor, Mandla Nkomfe, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The inclusion of Dlamini-Zuma, whom Hlophe described as a woman of substance, in a future Cabinet would be a strategy to silence Ramaphosa’s rivals.

“She was messed up by the greedy, power-hungry people who sponsored her. She has a good track record of department management.”

In making appointments, Ramaphosa would probably draw from among Zuma’s political victims, such as Pravin Gordhan, Mcebisi Jonas, Nhlanhla Nene, Derek Hanekom and Enoch Godongwana.

Aside from Nene, they were all crucial in the campaign that brought Ramaphosa to victory in December. Of Zuma’s Cabinet, Ramaphosa could retain Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and deputy Joe Phaahla, who both called for Zuma to go. Many of the rest might bite the dust.

Only ‘populists’ want early Zuma exit, says Magashule


today in print