Tag: president

By Luke Daniel for The South African

The Sunday Times has dropped a bombshell, exposing a secret plot to overthrow President Cyril Ramaphosa, spearheaded by Jacob Zuma and his cohorts.

According to the report, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is doing everything in its power to downplay the allegations, as some party members deny their involvement and others do damage control.

It’s alleged that Zuma has held a number of covert conferences with his ANC allies. According to sources within the party, battle plans are being drawn for a presidential overthrow.

Who is team Zuma?
Former president Zuma has some staunch allies within the part – most of them high-ranking officials, with the power to seriously disrupt the status-quo. The report alleges that two meetings took place in Durban last week. Below is a list of those who are said to have been in attendance.

Former President Jacob Zuma
The man with the plan, Msholozi himself – sources within the ANC claim that Zuma is the mastermind behind the fight back and that his political supporters have been brought together to enact a presidential coup. A top ANC executive, who wished to remain anonymous, said:

“Zuma has a grudge… because of his removal. That is why he is always in the public eye. He’s not campaigning for the ANC, but against the ANC. He’s campaigning to the extent of not sleeping. He attends every function, funeral and church service – to make sure he’s in the public eye.”

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule
Ace Magashule was elected Secretary General at the ANC’s 2017 National Conference. Magashule has always been a part of team Zuma – his leadership position seen as a trade-off for Ramaphosa’s presidency.

No stranger to controversy, the former Free State premiere has been embroiled in the dubious Vrede dairy project. This connects him directly to the infamous Gupta family, and to the broader issue of state-capture.

Supra Mahumapelo
President Jacob Zuma with North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo at the National Day of Reconciliation celebrations under the theme “Bridging the Divide towards a non-racial society” at Gopane in the North West Province.
The former premier of the North West province, Supra Mahumapelo, almost singlehandedly, managed to collapse local government under his tenure. The province was hit by a wave of service delivery protests, state coffers were looted, and the province was eventually placed under national administration.

Mahumapelo, like Magashule, is a fierce Zuma loyalist and is said to play an integral role in Zuma’s political resurgence.

Meokgo Matuba
The presence of the Women’s League (ANCWL) secretary-general, Meokgo Matuba, is unsurprising. The ANCWL has always been a firm supporter of former president Zuma. Under the tenure of Bathabile Dlamini, the Women’s League has defended Zuma through his presidential ousting and court appearances.

Thanduxolo Sabelo
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, is expected to take charge of the organisation’s national administration at the next elective conference.

Sabelo, who has overwhelming support in KwaZulu-Natal will likely replace Collen Maine as the league’s president.

Dudu Myeni
South African Airways (SAA), is in a shambles, largely thanks to former board chairperson Dudu Myeni. The National Treasury has accused her of botching a multimillion-rand funding deal. The disgraced former chairperson is also implicated in the Gupta saga and is under fire for her role in state capture.

Myeni is a close friend of Zuma, with many political adversaries citing her appointment to SAA’s board as a direct influence of the former president.

Zuma meetings exposed
According to the Sunday Times, two meetings took place last week in Durban.

The first meeting, on Wednesday, was attended by Magashule, Mahumapelo and Myeni; it was held at the Beverley Hills Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks.

On Thursday, all players involved, including Zuma, convened at the Maharani hotel in Durban.

Deny, deny, deny
While all parties accused of attending these clandestine meetings have denied their involvement, several ANC executives confirmed the allegations.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Senzo Mchunu, said he was aware of the meetings but directed any further questions to Magashule.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, argued that no formal meeting between Zuma and Magashule had been scheduled.

ANC NEC member, Enoch Godongwana, maintained that while he wasn’t aware of any secret meetings, a clandestine conference involving Magashule would be cause for concern, saying:

“I don’t know about the meeting. I don’t know about its purpose. Maybe they were meeting for a birthday party. But if [it was a secret meeting] then it’s a problem because the office of the Secretary General is supposed to be respected. It’s supposed to unite us. If it becomes involved [in such meetings] then it’s worrying.”

ANCYL executive, Sabelo, confirmed that he met Magashule, but argued that it was a chance encounter with no erroneous undertones.

Yet, denial falls flat before evidence held by the Sunday Times. A photograph showing Magashule, Mahumapelo, Matuba and Zuma gathered at the Maharani hotel has been published for all the world to see.

Team Zuma: Battleplan
While clandestine meetings are, by nature, designed to conceal plans, part insiders report that the group supporting Zuma are aiming to challenge the results of last year’s ANC National Conference. The outcome of which led to Ramaphosa becoming the country’s president.

It’s reported that the pro-Zuma faction is taking the legal route; arguing that the Nasrec conference was marred by voting irregularities relating to branch meetings and illegitimate delegates.

An ANC insider confirmed that Zuma’s battle plan is due to emanate from the North West, saying:

“We have been told about this serious fightback… the one way they are considering is the alternative political party that was formed. Then there is a fight to go to court and take that route. But the real purpose is to disrupt the momentum we are getting before election.”

The official response
The ANC Women’s League issued a statement saying it was “not surprised by the false story in Sunday Times by Qaanitah Hunter and Jeff Wicks”, adding: “We support freedom of media and believes that journalists must be independent voices, however we will not be silent when Qaanitah and Jeff peddles lies that there are plans to outs President Ramaphosa and portrays former President Jacob Zuma as an enemy that should be alienated by members of the organization.

“It might not be far from the truth that Qaanitah and Jeff are advancing interests of local or international forces that seeks to projects the ANC as unstable organization and by extension the government being unstable.”

Later, the party issued an official statement calling the story “shameless gossip”.

Even before being elected as South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa was a people person, joining some for walks, and then jogging along Sea Point promenade. He is clearly liked, but for how long will that honeymoon last?

Coming after the extended period of uncertainty in South Africa resulting from Jacob Zuma’s reluctance to resign, Cyril Ramaphosa’s first State of the Nation address restored dignity and decorum to Parliament, and pressed all the right buttons.

He was gracious to all (even giving thanks to Zuma for facilitating what the ANC has termed “the transition”), before launching into the delivery of a peroration which proclaimed the breaking of a new dawn. South Africa’s “moment of hope”, which was to be founded on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, had returned.

Ramaphosa combined extensive tribute to the heroes of the ANC’s liberation Struggle with the gospel of social inclusion according to the holy writ of the Freedom Charter. This was time to move beyond the recent period of discord, disunity and disillusionment.

The speech was delivered with panache and confidence. It had style, declaring to the nation and the world that he, Cyril Ramaphosa, was in charge.

But along with the style, there was the solid substance. The overall impression was that Ramaphosa intends to impose a new coherence and efficiency on government. Although acknowledging the calamity of the dismally low rate of economic growth, he was upbeat about the future, about the reviving fortunes of the commodities market, and the upturn in the markets.

Deservedly, Ramaphosa was to be allowed to enjoy the applause, as opposition members rose to their feet alongside the ANC MPs to give him a standing ovation which went far beyond ceremonial ritual. After the disaster of Zuma, it would seem to have given a massive fillip to South African pride and confidence.

It also gave the opposition parties a problem. With Zuma gone and a credible ANC president in place, they are facing an uphill electoral battle.

The new president committed to ensuring ethical behaviour and leadership, and to a refusal to tolerate the plunder of resources by public employees or theft and exploitation by private businesses. Critically, this would entail a transformation in the way that state-owned enterprises such as the power utility Eskom would be run.

There would be a new beginning at state-owned enterprises. They would no longer be allowed to borrow their way out of their financial difficulties. Competent people would be appointed to their boards, and there would be an appropriate distancing of their strategic role from operational management. And board members would be barred from any involvement in procurement.

This would all be part and parcel of a much wider reconfiguration of government, presumably a code for the reduction in the number of departments and a reduction in the size of ministerial ranks.

Ramaphosa also committed to hands-on government, promising he would be visiting each department over the forthcoming year.

The forging of a social compact between government, business and labour would define the new era. A part of it would come from a new presidential economic advisory council. There would be summits for jobs and investment; convening of a youth working group to promote youth enterprise and employment and a summit for the social sector to forge a new consensus with NGOs and civil society.

This would add up to the construction of a “capable state” to foster much needed economic recovery. There would be concerted efforts to promote and aid small and medium business and revive manufacturing. Stress was laid on the importance of arriving at consensus around a mining charter, a document designed to guide transformation in this industry.

Due reference was made to preparing South Africa to embrace the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions and the encouragement of scientific innovation and new technology. And there was an explicit undertaking from Ramaphosa that he would take personal responsibility to ensure social grants be paid. And “no individual person in government” would be allowed to obstruct social grants delivery, a brutal, albeit indirect, put-down of the minister concerned.

The one aspect of the speech which would have raised eyebrows among the Davos crowd was Ramaphosa’s re-iteration of the ANC government’s commitment to the expropriation of land without compensation as part of radical economic transformation. This highlighted the ANC’s proposed change to the constitution adopted at its recent national conference.

But that commitment was also fudged by linking any expropriation to ensuring agricultural production and food security. Cynics may argue that this was simply a form of words. In the context of Ramaphosa’s general investment seeking demeanour, agricultural capital and international business are unlikely to be unduly alarmed. But if they are wise, they will take it as a warning to come to the party of “social transformation”.

Ramaphosa has played a long game since he was passed over for president in the mid-’90s in favour of Thabo Mbeki. After playing a key role in crafting the constitution, he left politics, made a lot of money by spearheading the first round of black economic empowerment, and then returned to politics to play what must at times have been a mortifying role as deputy president under Zuma.

He suffered a great deal of criticism for being complicit in the Zuma-era corruption because of his silence – silence he would have reckoned was necessary to secure his rise to the top.

Clearly, Ramaphosa is not above criticism. He is no saint. He lives in the shadow of the massacre of miners at Marikana. Only towards the end of the ANC leadership race did he let fly against corruption and state capture.

Yet it could so easily have been so different. What would the mood have been now if Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had won the ANC leadership?

Few would have been convinced that she would have been able or willing to leave the legacy of the corruption of the Zuma years behind. In contrast, although there is extensive acknowledgement that Ramaphosa will meet considerable opposition from within the ANC patronage machine if he is to realise his ambitions, he has indeed provided hope.

Yet the irony is that we need to pay due deference to David Mabuza, premier of the province of Mpumalanga.

If it had not been for his last moment tactic of throwing his provincial delegates’ votes behind Ramaphosa at the ANC conference to thwart a Dlamini Zuma victory at the ANC national conference, South Africa would be having to face a very different future.

In true ANC style, the irony is that the moment of hope was facilitated by someone who has been portrayed, even from within the party, as a political hoodlum.

By Roger Southall for The Conversation, published on IOL

Update: President Jacob Zuma resigned with immediate effect on Wednesday evening, one hour before his deadline was up.  There is, however, still the matter of making official the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the republic.

Although the ANC has recalled President Jacob Zuma, it was still insisting on Tuesday that he had done nothing wrong.

Speaker after speaker at Monday night’s special national executive committee (NEC) meeting said Zuma should go for a range of reasons, central to which was the ANC’s electoral performance and the effect that his remaining head of state could have on the party.

On Tuesday, the net continued to tighten around Zuma.

The ANC said it was waiting for his response on Wednesday. Should he refuse to resign, the ANC said it would be forced to remove him in Parliament.

Zuma is expected to address the nation on Wednesday. The Presidency could, however, not be reached to confirm this.

As the ANC notified him formally of its decision to recall him, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams gave the prosecution team dealing with Zuma’s corruption, fraud and racketeering charges until February 23 to provide their recommendations. This was after Zuma made fresh representations in January on why he should not be prosecuted. If Zuma declines the ANC offer to let him resign it will pave the way for his removal through a motion of no confidence.

In the past eight motions of no confidence against him, the ANC stuck to the party line that he should not be removed. It was only in the last motion that some of the party’s MPs voted differently in a secret ballot vote.

The party line this time will be that Zuma must go.

Business Day understands that the NEC has given the ANC caucus in the National Assembly the task of devising a strategy for his removal should he refuse to heed the recall.

The ANC chief whip has been instructed to brief the caucus, which is expected to meet on Wednesday morning while the ANC awaits a “response” from Zuma on the unanimous NEC decision to recall him. A cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed.

While ANC secretary- general Ace Magashule told journalists that there was no decision on a motion of no confidence in Parliament, it is understood that the NEC agreed that should Zuma fail to resign Parliamentary processes would kick in.

Immediately after the ANC’s briefing, the rand weakened from R11.92 to the dollar to R11.98. Analysts said there was concern in the market that Zuma had not been given a deadline by which to resign. At 6.30pm on Tuesday, the rand firmed marginally against the dollar, to R11.96. Before Magashule’s announcement it had reached a best intraday level of R11.87.

According to sources who took part in the NEC meeting, which started at 2pm on Monday afternoon and dragged on into the early hours of Tuesday, the possibility of court action against the recall was also raised. This emerged amid reports that Transform SA — a Zuma-aligned lobby group — had launched a legal bid to challenge the outcome of the NEC meeting.

According to senior ANC leaders, Zuma was “very angry” and may not resign voluntarily.

Magashule confirmed that the NEC had rejected Zuma’s request for a further three months in office to “introduce” incoming president Cyril Ramaphosa to international bodies such as Brics and the Southern African Development Community. It is understood that even those who were seen to be staunch supporters of Zuma’s have indicated that it is time for him to go.

Zuma’s preferred candidate for the presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while diplomatic about the matter, indicated at the NEC meeting that Zuma could not see his term out or deliver the state of the nation address.

When asked for the NEC’s reasons for recalling Zuma and whether it related to allegations of state capture, Magashule was emphatic, saying the president had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Magashule said the reason for the recalled was that the party wanted Ramaphosa in the position of president and for him to deliver the state of the nation address. Magashule said that when a deployee of the ANC was recalled the party expected that person to comply.

For now, the ANC was giving Zuma “time and space”.

Magashule said Zuma was a “disciplined member” and he believed that the president would make the right decision, but again pleaded for time.

“The national executive committee firmly believes that this situation requires us to act with urgency in order to steer our country towards greater levels of unity, renewal and hope.

“We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery,” Magashule said.

By Natasha Marrian and Genevieve Quintal for Business Live

Round one to Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the nominations for the ANC presidency, after all nine provinces completed their provincial general councils.

Ramaphosa now has 1 861 branch nominations, compared to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 1 309.

It means he has a 552-branch nomination lead.

However, the figure excludes the 223 Mpumalanga branch nominations, where the word “unity” was written next to the name of the top six delegates.

The “unity” nominations were recorded as abstentions, even though the numbers were higher than those of Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma.

Ramaphosa has the nod from five provinces: Gauteng, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Limpopo.

Dlamini-Zuma has the most support from KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Free State and Mpumalanga.

The nomination process was completed when Dlamini-Zuma won 433 nominations from her home province. However, Ramaphosa made inroads, garnering 193 nominations.

Ramaphosa gathered the following nominations per province:

KwaZulu-Natal – 193

Mpumalanga – 117

Limpopo – 391

Gauteng – 374

North West – 44

Northern Cape – 154

Western Cape – 121

Free State – 44

Eastern Cape – 423

Dlamini-Zuma gathered the following nominations per province:

KwaZulu-Natal – 433

Mpumalanga – 123

Limpopo – 104

Gauteng – 64

North West – 291

Northern Cape – 11

Western Cape – 13

Free State – 209

Eastern Cape – 61

‘It’s not over until it is over’

However, Ramaphosa’s toughest challenge is that Dlamini-Zuma has the support of the biggest provinces, who are sending more delegates to the fiercely-contested conference.

The conference will get under way on December 16 in Johannesburg.

While each branch gets to nominate – some branches get more than one vote. The bigger the branch, the more delegates it can send to the conference.

A Dlamini-Zuma campaigner said the nomination process was not a true reflection of what was likely to be the outcome as they expect Mpumalanga’s 223 “unity” nominations to be in her favour.

“We are counting warm bodies that will be on the conference floor when the conference gets under way, and we have the numbers,” he said.

If the “unity” nominations go to Dlamini-Zuma, Ramaphosa’s lead is reduced to just 329.

If the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League, that have officially endorsed Dlamini-Zuma, give her their 60 nominations each, that decreases Ramaphosa’s lead by a further 120 as they are expected to get 60 nominations each.

However, Ramaphosa is expected to get sizeable nominations from the Veteran’s League and the national executive committee (NEC) that could push up his numbers.

A senior NEC member said the final tally will only be clearer when credentials are adopted on the first day of the conference, as some branches are still rerunning their branch general meetings to nominate leaders.

“So, it is not over until it is over,” he said.

By Mahlatse Mahlase for News24

Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, shortly after parliament began an impeachment process to end his nearly four decades of rule.

The 93-year-old clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling Zanu-PF party, which also told him to leave power.

Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe’s resignation and suspended the impeachment procedure.

The origin of Mugabe’s sudden downfall lies in rivalry between members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite over who will succeed him, rather than popular protests against his rule. The army seized power after Mugabe sacked Zanu-PF’s favourite to succeed him, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to smooth a path to the presidency for his wife Grace, known to her critics as “Gucci Grace” for her reputed fondness for luxury shopping.

Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, is expected to take over as president.

Source: Business Live

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