The call by the authoritative figure of Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in his Christmas sermon in Cape Town, is one that resounds around our divided nation.
Makgoba called for the quick and decisive recall of President Jacob Zuma by the newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, warning him to “cut the umbilical” chord tying the country to the Zuma era.
“Our economy is floundering, unemployment is rising and those cohorts of corruption who see they are losing influence are making desperate attempts to loot what they can before their party is over,” was Makgoba’s hard-hitting assessment of the current situation.
On the face of it, recalling Zuma would be a generally acceptable solution and might even have the effect of lending further impetus to the strengthening of our battered currency since Ramaphosa took over the leadership of the party.
And while it is in Ramaphosa’s powers to effect a recall, it is almost certainly not as simple as it seems.
The deep schisms which still split the ANC – and the large number of Zuma supporters still entrenched in the system – could block any rapid move in this direction.
Although there is a precedent in the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki at the Polokwane conference a decade ago which ultimately swept Zuma to power, it must be remembered that Mbeki had already lost the confidence of the majority of the ANC, and the ranks of his supporters had been drastically reduced in the stampede to form the Congress of the People.
Though many would argue that unilaterally recalling Zuma represents the most significant true matching of wills between Ramaphosa and the president, it might have clandestinely been decided that this is not the ideal time for this clashing of heads. Makgoba is ethically correct in his summation, but Ramaphosa has other major battles on his hands.