POLITICS

First Take: What Zuma's Survival Means

The ANC might have defeated the motion of no confidence, but the party is certainly weaker.

08/08/2017 18:54 SAST | Updated 08/08/2017 19:05 SAST
SIPHIWE SIBEKO1 / Reuters
What a win! President Jacob Zuma has survived a motion of no confidence in him.

President Jacob Zuma has survived a contentious motion of no confidence against him. This will shape political events for the next four months.

1. ZUMA IS NOW STRONGER THAN BEFORE

It was a massive gamble for speaker Baleka Mbete to allow for a secret ballot, given the levels of animosity against the president. Mbete threw the dice, Zuma won big. He has the support of the caucus.

2. THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS IS NOW WEAKER THAN BEFORE

There is widespread anger in the country about the levels of state capture and corruption which has proliferated under the Zuma government. Ipsos has shown the party's support has dipped to belowe 50 per cent and it lost control of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth. The party thumbing its nose against public sentiment will not go down well.

3. AN ANC SPLIT IS BECOMING POSSIBLE

The levels of frustration in 2008 and 2014, when two other ANC offshoots (the Congress of the People and the Economic Freedom Fighters) were created, was high. State capture and the #GuptaLeaks are pushing those into the stratosphere. And the leadership race and fears for the party's future is heightening that tension.

4. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA'S HAND IS NOW FORCED

The deputy president has been running a low-key and clean election campaign. A Zuma ouster might have pushed him into the lead, but with Zuma's defeat of the motion he simply will have to get into the game. By hook or, especially, by crook.

5. NDZ HAS THE ADVANTAGE

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is almost completely reliant on the political largesse of the head of state. Her campaign has been insipid and uninspiring. Zuma's victory however propels her into the lead.

6. LUTHULI HOUSE HAS COMPLETE CONTROL

The ANC's caucus has been Gwede Mantashe's errant child. Under Jackson Mthembu as chief whip there has been too much independent thought which has not gone down well in Pixley ka Seme Street in Johannesburg. Mantashe's tightening of the reins however has worked and the caucus is back in orbit.

7. INTERNAL RESISTANCE HAS BEEN CRUSHED

You don't get more high-profile than Pravin Gordhan or more credentialed then Derek Hanekom. But they, along with Makhosi Khoza, have been swatted aside. The reformists in the ANC have in the last nine months lost two battles in the ANC's national executive committee, they've lost the battle for National Treasury and couldn't push through a motion of no confidence when they had everything going for them.

8. THE OPPOSITION WILL BE MORE UNITED THAN BEFORE

Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema are clearly the most articulate and attractive opposition leaders around. Their respective parties are managing a working relationship in three councils. They will now work even closer together.

9. IT'S A FOOTRACE TO MAY 2019

The ANC took a drubbing in last year's municipal election with their popular support dropping to 54 per cent on the back of Nenegate, Nkandla and state capture. The ANC has now affirmed its support for the cause of those troubles. The opposition are in the game ahead of the next election.

10. THE RECESSION WILL DEEPEN

The ANC has shown no propensity to try and rescue the economy from self-made disasters like Nenegate and the booting out of Gordhan. It has led to numerous downgrades and scared off investors. This will not inspire confidence in bond-holders or investors. It will be the poor who will suffer most.