Opinionista Wayne Duvenage 24 May 2017

Exciting times ahead for South Africa

A top scriptwriter for a movie plot involving one family’s capture of a nation could not have dreamt up this stuff. And while the smoke pouring out of the political boiler rooms may appear horrific, this is actually good news for South Africa.

Just when we thought the state capture circus had produced the best shows in town, enter the Brown-Ngubane act. This fascinating “Appoint Molefe” tag team sat for days, spewing out the most irrational insights on the resigned/retrenched/retired/on-leave plot that became too thick to stir any more. Visions of the Masterchef scowling behind the Union Building walls, thumbs cramping from multiple WhatsApp messages pinging from the Presidency, to Saxonwold, to Eskom, was a sight to imagine.

The nation watched and listened in awe as the most incredible stories and lies began to unfold. Just as Minister Lynn Brown made one statement, a retort with facts to discredit her would fly across the media airwaves minutes later. Then it was Eskom Chairman Ben Ngubane’s turn to offer some insights as to how Molefe’s temporary absence might be explained. The stench simply got worse and the hole got deeper. A top scriptwriter for a movie plot involving one family’s capture of a nation could not have dreamt up this stuff.

These developments and many others over the past months are indicative that President Zuma’s kitchen is now on fire. While the smoke pouring out of the political boiler rooms may appear horrific, this is actually good news for South Africa. It’s good in that the turmoil linked to activities guided by one man and a foreign family is now spinning out of control. The President, who ought to be running a nation, spends most of his waking time putting out fires, much of which is being linked to protecting matters of self-interest.

More encouraging of late are the comments emanating from big business. Their once quiet diplomatic voices are getting louder and somewhat bolder. Slightly unco-ordinated and a tad rudderless for now, but all indications are that signs of a Business vs Government showdown of some sort is looming. Add to this the louder and harsher messages from the united faith-based movements, and a Zuma departure probability looms larger.

Enter the gentleman and grounded Pravin Gordhan, probably the most trusted man in South Africa today. His face-to-face with the Minister and Eskom board in Parliament had the nation rising with applause. With his knowledge of the background machinations untethered, he laid into the Eskom heavyweights and gave them what they needed to hear. Their consciences now bludgeoned, one wonders how many sleeping pills they must take to get some rest. Gordhan’s message was clear, Molefe’s re-appointment is being directed by one man – the President of South Africa.

As for Ben Ngubane, the poor man. His operation was big and one wonders how much time he has left, having undergone a total credibility bypass. But this is the same Ben Ngubane who stood up and batted for Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s integrity and leadership qualities. It would appear Ngubane’s skin had thickened so much after getting away with the Hlaudi saga that when called to hatch the “bring back Molefe” plot, he felt invincible. Bring it on. “If you want Brian to come home, leave it to me.”

The scene is now set for the fracture and rifts to deepen and widen within the ruling party. Those with sufficient power know all too well that the time has arrived to stave off the national disaster that stems from a declining and dysfunctional government.

The vote of no confidence in President Zuma, due in the next few weeks – whether in secret or not – will signal where the power lies. Some believe Zuma may have exited before then? And if not, will he survive the vote of no confidence? And if he des, will he last until the December ANC elective conference? And if he does, will he get his way?

All signposts point to one or more detours that will lead Zuma on his eventual journey to face the music that awaits him. It’s not a matter of if, but when, and that almost certain outcome in due course will be the turning point for greater times and happenings for South Africa and all who live within her boundaries.

I see exciting times ahead. DM

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