Opinionista Oscar Van Heerden 20 December 2017

Veni, vidi, vici – ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Jacob Zuma has been defeated. Cyril Ramaphosa is officially the 13th President of the 105-year-old liberation movement, the ANC. The mood at the 54th ANC Elective conference from day one was filled with utter confidence from both camps. Depending on who you spoke to, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was streaks ahead with regards to the voting delegate numbers and the arrogance from them was palpable. On the other hand, CR17 lobbyists were equally confident that they had it in the bag. Little did either side know that voting delegates are not voting fodder, nor are they stupid.

Over the past months I have written extensively on why Zuma and his ilk will have to be defeated at this conference. To recap, it was always about stopping a continuation of the dark Jacob Zuma era by ensuring that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma did not win the party leadership race, it was also about stopping the Guptas and by extension State Capture, and finally it was about stopping the de-legitimisation of the Constitution of the Republic.

This objective, I argue, has been achieved through this historic conference. The Zuma empire has collapsed, and the CR wizard has made it quite clear, you shall not pass!

The reign of terror has come to an end and with it, State Capture – of this I’m sure, given the extensive powers of the incumbent State President given to him through the Constitution. Zuma will be asked to step down some time in the New Year (possibly before the State of the Nation Address) in order, first, to stop any further damage he could potentially cause and second, to prepare for the 2019 general elections.

All incompetent appointments in government will be urgently reviewed and most incompetent ministers’ and deputies’ days are also numbered. They should simply resign rather than wait around to be pushed. When I looked and spoke to some of them after the result of the Top Six, you saw resignation on their faces. They simply could not believe that their corrupt era has come crashing down – and with the Guptas nogal.

The next urgent steps to be undertaken by the new ANC President Ramaphosa will be to manage the huge fallout of the defeat for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. There is no honour amongst thieves – David Mabuza betrayed his NDZ faction which produced this historic win for CR. Of course, the trade-off has resulted in him ending up as the new ANC Deputy President, not ideal for most but a product of realpolitik.

Zuma must be fuming because never in his carefully crafted plan towards this conference did he anticipate a betrayal from his own Brutus (David Mabuza). Zuma had laid his plans almost immediately after taking high office when he insisted that Dlamini Zuma must vie for the AU Commissioner’s position. After all, if she could be the number one diplomat for the continent it means she would be more than capable of being the first citizen of the Republic.

Et tu Brutus? You just messed up my well-conceived plan, Zuma must have exclaimed!

But it took a long 10 years to get to this point and we cannot take our eye of the ball. These criminals will stop at nothing to continue benefiting from their corrupt practices and at the very least will still try to influence decisions both in government and in the ANC.

The new leadership of the ANC going into 2018 will have to make difficult decisions to put our country back on the path towards moral and ethical leadership and renewal; a path of economic growth and taking us out of junk status and restoring our people’s belief in State institutions again, whether chapter nine or not. They will have to bring back investor confidence and if the rally of the rand post the leadership election outcome is anything to go by, we are well on our way.

At the time of writing another matter had arisen which concerned the new secretary-general position possibly hanging in the balance. The steering committee of conference was at the time still discussing and finding resolution around the issue around 63 missing votes. Who knows what will come of it, if anything. The various lobbyists from both camps were frantically manoeuvring in the shadows to try to get a handle on this matter. The CR lobbyists were crafting a statement wanting to get clarity on the matter while the NDZ lobbyists wanted to use this to see if the matter could constitute a rerun of the elections for the Top Six positions. Never a dull moment at an elective conference of the ANC.

Notwithstanding the secretary-general position, I sense some discomfort from some quarters with regards to the individuals elected as the Top Six – Mabuza as Deputy President, Ace Magashule for SG and Jessie Duarte as Deputy SG, being former Zuma strongmen and women. My take is that these individuals will coalesce around the new president. We must also appreciate (as far as unity in the ANC is concerned) that the Eastern Cape (Gwede), Limpopo (CR), Free State (Ace), Mpumalanga (Mabuza) and Gauteng (Duarte and Mashatile) are all represented in the Top Six. For the first time since 1991, KwaZulu-Natal is not represented in this eminent structure of the ANC. As for the concerns raised with regards to the under-representation of women in the Top Six positions, this will certainly be corrected in the remaining 80 NEC members elections.

I have to say also that the conference was not only about the leadership race; good conversations and debates were had around pertinent issues such as monopoly capital and its role in the social transformation project in the country, land without compensation and what form this would have to take, judicial overreach, imaginary or not, and so much more.

I say again, ‘Tis the season to be jolly…

After all, he came, he saw and indeed, he conquered! It took him almost 20 years to achieve this mean feat but achieve it he did. Congratulations Mr President Ramaphosa. DM


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