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25/01/2018 14:08 SAST | Updated 25/01/2018 14:09 SAST

The Disrespect For The Voting Public Is What Will Sink The ANC’s Electoral Fortunes

Zuma's defenders are causing harm to the ANC in their quest to defend Zuma and protect their privileges.

President Jacob Zuma during the 54th national conference of the ANC. December 18, 2017.
Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Jacob Zuma during the 54th national conference of the ANC. December 18, 2017.

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The Hear-No-Evil-See-No-Evil-and-Say-No-Evil Squad

You would think that the outcomes of the 54th national conference of the ANC would be the writing on the wall for all to strive for a new day. Not so – for what can only be described as the "hear no evil, see no evil and say no evil" squad behind President Jacob Zuma.

The year started with a pathetic missive from Professor Sipho Seepe, who summed up all those who want Zuma gone as either false prophets (a veiled reference to the archbishop of Cape Town) or bitter and hateful veterans (referring to the 101 veterans who have been calling for Zuma to go).

Seepe made sweeping statements that he has now failed to explain – claiming that all those who want Zuma gone are "ideological enemies" of the ANC or vengeful post-Polokwane bitter losers.

When challenged, he uttered inexplicably – and claimed that he was being silenced. He is yet to explain his terrible defence of Zuma not facing criminal charges – in fact, he stated that Zuma should not be prosecuted because "witnesses, in this case, may be dead or otherwise indisposed in the ten years that have [elapsed]."

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma gestures during the 54th National Conference of the ruling ANC .

This is a head-in-the-sand approach to a matter that is staring society in the face – Zuma's day in court, beckoning near. As opposed to this fanciful factionalism cloaked as analysis, the NPA has tracked down more than 200 witnesses that are available and willing to testify against Zuma.

There is no way that with that number of witnesses, Zuma will escape the orange overalls – even he knows that, hence his perpetual bid to avoid the case. So it is in his interest to influence who becomes the NDPP. That is why he went to court to stop Ramaphosa from appointing the NDPP, as directed by the courts.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (R) jokes with his party's newly appointed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

It is clear that Zuma intends to run rings around the ANC leadership before he steps down. In a sense, no one should be surprised at this approach by Prof. Seepe – after all, he was part of the so-called brains trust back in 2009, helping the ANC to get Zuma off the hook ahead of him becoming president.

But taking the cake in the see-no-evil stakes is MKVA president and deputy minister Kebby Maphatsoe. Speaking on Power Perspective on January 21, Maphatsoe presented a parallel-universe analysis that seeks to exonerate Zuma from all wrongdoing over the past decade. Everything from regime change to the propaganda of the enemy was blamed.

Mapatsoe decided to step out of the meeting and kindly agreed to speak to us on radio, to emphasise the narrative that the ANC will be divided if Zuma were to be recalled.

It is not surprising that Mr Maphatsoe could not bring himself to admit that Zuma has hurt the ANC in his tenure. Instead, he was at pains to point out how much security matters are not the concern of the president – a belated defence of Zuma over Nkandla, even after the president himself admitted wrongdoing and has had the court pronounce that he violated his oath of office.

Mapahatsoe also blatantly denies that ahead of the elective conference, President Zuma campaigned for Noko [Nkosizana Dlamini-Zuma]. He must have been living under a rock for the past year, or plainly lying with a straight face on a radio platform. This disrespect for the voting public is what will sink the ANC's electoral fortunes – unless, as a caller from Soshanguve called Zodwa said to him, "the ANC gets rid of those who represent the rot of the past".

A caller from Mbombela, Navari, was crucial – in that they sought to challenge Kebby from within the ANC structures, questioning his credibility to speak with any authority for MK veterans. All the callers came down on Kebby – a sign of the times. Signs that people like Kebby, who see no evil, will not see until it's too late.

This discussion was happening against the backdrop of the ANC discussing the future of the state president. All indications are that the ANC wants him out. Maphatsoe decided to step out of the meeting, and kindly agreed to speak to us on radio to emphasise the narrative that the ANC will be divided if Zuma were to be recalled. All indications are that the ANC will not heed this call – instead, the decision has been made for the top six to negotiate Zuma's exit.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president, center, and Zizi Kodw, national spokesman for the African National Congress party.

This, of course, opens the door for Zuma's demands. It is rumoured that among other things, he would want to dictate who gets to be interim president, as well as negotiating that some of his key ministers – like the minister of energy – not be fired by the new president.

These demands also fall squarely in the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil category – with Zuma pretending not to have lost power in NASREC.

Overall, Zuma's defenders are causing harm to the ANC in their quest to defend Zuma and protect their privileges – that came via Zuma's march to power over the past decade.

If the ANC is to redeem itself on time, the see-no-evil squad will have to be stopped from representing the dominant voice of the ANC. To deal with the root cause of this will require purging of those whose sole existence is to pass business to the Guptas.

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