Zuma is a priceless gift to the opposition ahead of 2019 elections

Posted 29 September 2016 Written by Peter Bruce
Category Corruption

Jacob Zuma is a God-given gift to the DA and EFF. They should cherish it while it lasts. Because as soon as Zuma goes, so too will the coterie of acolytes he has surrounded himself with. The biggest beneficiary of his departure will be, of course, SA, but also the ANC. Sadly, the ANC hasn't figured that out yet, writes Peter Bruce in Business Day.

I am going to scream the next time I read some analyst, commentator or politician tell me that getting rid of President Jacob Zuma, or him miraculously agreeing to go, would not solve all our problems.

Duh! I already know that. But it would still be the perfect start to our national recovery. With Zuma gone, a whole lot of things in SA would begin to go right almost immediately.

When Zuma goes, so, contract or no contract, does "General" Berning Ntlemeza, the head of the Hawks, the so-called priority crimes unit of the South African Police. That means the phoney war on corruption would stop and a real one could begin.

When Zuma goes, the poodle who appointed Ntlemeza (officially on Thursday, a year late), Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, would go too. No more idiocy on the police front. No insisting, even after Zuma had admitted the opposite, that the Nkandla swimming pool was there for fire emergencies.

When Zuma goes, so will Tom Moyane, the guy destroying the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Moyane has been quick to go after the finance minister, but not so fast when his close colleagues are found wanting. This week’s Financial Mail runs a fascinating account of how Moyane sat on evidence that his hand-picked deputy, Jonas Makwakwa, had made suspicious cash transfers. But when the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) picked up the payments (including video), Moyane showed Makwakwa the FIC report and the latter wanted to know the names of the FIC investigators and questioned the FIC’s standing to investigate SARS, a line Moyane may now be following too.

When Zuma goes, we get to save the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the vital institution that selects which cases go to court and which don’t. Its head, Shaun Abrahams, is a puppet who would not survive lunch without Zuma. He is already run by his deputy, Nomgcobo Jiba, who protects Zuma from prosecution for the frauds he has been accused of (by the NPA, when it used to do its job properly). Jiba has just lost another case and is as we speak, no longer a "fit and proper" person to be an advocate and has been struck off the roll. She will appeal. And she will lose again, thankfully.

When Zuma goes, we will also be able to say goodbye, finally, to the Gupta family, about whom there is hardly anything left to say. They are already halfway out the door with a R450m family mansion in Dubai or thereabouts (despite Zuma’s moving speech about illicit flows of capital from Africa at the UN this week) and have even lost — although not before a kerfuffle about diamonds — their private aircraft berth at OR Tambo.

When Zuma goes, he will take with him the dreadful Bathabile Dlamini, the minister of social development, Zuma toady, ANC Women’s League president and 31 times (at least) resident at the luxurious Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. She is also the minister who reckons R753 can support an indigent family of five for a month, making her a clear menace to the poor and the country as a whole.

When Zuma goes, so will Mosebenzi Zwane, the minerals minister with an odd taste for banking regulation. A Gupta appointee, he has generally done little to promote stability in the troubled mining industry and would be missed for exactly no minutes when he slopes off after Jacob.

Dudu Myeni would finally depart SAA, giving it a chance to recover. Eskom would be freed from the attentions of the Guptas, and their friends, who all feed at the Eskom trough. We might get an actual foreign policy, and an actual intelligence minister.

All of which means that, you will have figured, when Zuma goes, what really gets saved is the ANC. Sadly for the ANC, it hasn’t figured that out yet.

The last thing Mmusi Maimane over at the DA wants is for Zuma to go. The longer he stays in office, the greater the chances of the ANC losing its majority in 2019.

But there is a catch for Maimane. Over at the EFF, they have already calculated that Zuma is done and dusted. Julius Malema is going to limit his parliamentary work to concentrate on building EFF structures ahead of 2019. That’s smart. Maimane should be building too, working on new and durable political partnerships, and figuring out how he is going to run the country, who his finance minister will be and what he will do with the state’s wilting businesses.

With the ANC on the ropes and fragmenting at high speed, it is staggering that we don’t already have a powerful message in the media and on people’s lips of a new and inclusive economic recovery from the official opposition. Zuma’s deficiencies as a leader have been exploited to the point where, as a strategy, the returns from this will begin to diminish quickly. What South Africans want is a fresh and sensible political promise.

• Bruce is editor in chief.

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