A line has been drawn in the sand. The people of South Africa are on one side. The narrow interests of the ANC, Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family are on the other.
This weekend’s ANC NEC meeting was the appropriate forum for the ANC to do the right thing by the people of South Africa, and recall President Zuma. The explosive revelations of Mcebisi Jonas, Vytjie Mentor and others last week constitute, if not confirmation, then certainly extremely strong evidence of a corrupt and criminal relationship between Zuma and the Guptas.
The ANC’s response after its NEC meeting has revealed the ruling party to be rotten to the core. The ANC NEC should have used the opportunity to distance themselves from the president – if not by recalling him outright, at the very least by instituting an urgent independent investigation into his potentially criminal behaviour. Instead, they opted to protect and defend him, committing only to an internal investigation into the relationship between Zuma and the Guptas.
It is ludicrous yet revealing that they are allowing Zuma himself to lead the investigation into his own criminality. They would only allow him to lead or even participate in the investigation if they had no intention whatsoever of finding him guilty. It renders the investigation illegitimate. They may as well put Danny Jordaan in charge of the Fifa investigation.
There is a groundswell of anti-Zuma sentiment in the ANC, but this group is clearly still in the minority. The majority of ANC leaders are acting and voting according to personal interests, rather than in accordance with what they know to be in the best interests of our country.
South Africa is heading into a perfect storm of recession, racism and drought, a super-storm unlikely to be short-lived. There is no question that Zuma is a colossal liability as our ship sails into rough waters. What is now clear is that the ANC is every bit as bad as their feckless leader. They are protecting and promoting him in order to keep their snouts in the trough. The entire ANC, far from having solutions to South Africa’s challenges, is now our biggest problem.
South Africans should not focus their anger on the Gupta family, or even on Zuma specifically. It is the ANC that collectively holds our mandate to govern in our best interests. It is the ANC that could and should now be engaging its internal checks and balances to address the issue of state capture and restore power to the people.
But this is clearly not going to happen. Because notwithstanding a handful of admirable men and women who have SA’s best interest at heart, such as Pravin Gordhan, the ANC has largely been reduced to a collective of captured, compromised and corrupt cronies who are overseeing the dismantling of our democratic institutions.
South Africans would do well to keep sharp focus on the bigger picture. We are in a race against time to save our democracy and our country from full seizure by a small group who care for nothing but personal enrichment.
The only way to do this is democratically, at the ballot box, while our democracy is still functional.
It would take decades to wrestle back a fully captured state. So much damage will be done in that time. So much loss of institutional memory. So much decay of precious infrastructure. So much needless human suffering.
The stakes are very, very high. DM
Mmusi Maimane is leader of the Democratic Alliance.
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