Tag: zuma

ANC to punish those who are anti-Zuma

The ANC says it intends to discipline three MPs who openly voiced their opposition to President Jacob Zuma ahead of last week’s motion of no confidence.

The three who did so are former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom and MP Makhosi Khoza.

This is according to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who addressed journalists during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday.

Calls from Zuma and his backers grew at the weekend for those who voted against him to be punished.

Mantashe was speaking after a meeting of the party’s national working committee on Monday.

He said the ANC would not hunt down MPs who voted in favour of last week’s motion of no confidence against Zuma‚ but would discipline party members who had confirmed voting with the opposition.

Those who kept their vote a secret would not face any charges, he said.

Mantashe was speaking after a meeting of the party’s national working committee where the matter is said to have dominated discussions.

“There is not going to be a witch hunt. We are not going to do that. (But) where MPs go up and confirm‚ we’ll have to deal with that situation.”

Mantashe also revealed that the ANC would take action in the matter involving Deputy Higher Education and Training Minister Mduduzi Manana.

By Natasha Marrian and Sibongakonke Shoba for Business Day

How Zuma killed Stuttafords

Stuttafords officially closed its doors on Monday, 31 July after 159 years of operating in the South African retail market.

The retailer filed for business rescue in October 2016, after it could not recover from the pressures of the low growing economy and the significant devaluation of the rand following the axing of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.
A final bid to buy the last two operating stores in Sandton and Eastgate was rejected by the landlord, Liberty. Chief executive Robert Amoils told Fin24 that all staff at the two remaining stores will be retrenched and have their full retrenchment packages paid.

The business is currently undergoing a winding down process which will take a few months to complete. A sale of Stuttafords intellectual property is being finalised by the business rescue practitioners.

Amoils had explained to Fin24 that the business had been on the right path, but simply ran out of time to correct things. “I believe the path we set was correct. I believe the repositioning we did was consistent with what international trends have shown to work,” he said.

“Simply, we ran out of runway, we ran out of time. The market downturn was so swift, so severe and was paralleled with significant [rand] devaluation and political uncertainty.”

Amoils explained that the rand devaluation impacted the business model negatively because commitments were made to buy international brands almost a year in advance. But director at Norton Rose Fulbright and senior insolvency lawyer Haroon Laher said that the downfall could not be pinned down to the economy only.

“I think there were a number of factors. There was a lot of tension between the shareholders which obviously is tension in the house, so to speak. That did not contribute to a successful business rescue.”

Stefan Salzer, partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group said that generally the retail sector is under pressure. Particularly in recessionary conditions consumers tend to cut down on spend for discretionary items such as clothing, household appliances and furniture.

“It is tough not to buy food but it is very easy not to buy a TV or buy the latest fashions from Stuttafords,” he said.
Salzer explained that over the past two to three years international clothing retailers had been entering the market, posing another complication for Stuttafords. Amoils previously told Fin24 that the arrival of international players like H&M, Zara and Cotton On had cut into their customer base.

That, coupled with increasing financial pressures on consumers and changing credit regulations did not contribute positively to the environment for clothing retailers, said Salzer.

Indeed, the devaluation of the rand impacted Stuttafords profits, he explained. An item that cost $3 would end up costing more at a later stage due to the sensitivity of the currency. This cost could be borne by the consumers, in the final price charged for the item, or the retailer would have to carry the expense and let profit take a knock.
Stuttafords purveys international brands and this set it in a disadvantage to other local retailers which rely on South African produced and sourced products, explained Salzer.

International players
Salzer said that international players are also clear on what they are, and on what they are not.
These retailers also differentiate between “basics” and fashion items and price these accordingly. For example a basic white T-shirt would be just that. Contrarily South African retailers would sell a “basic” white T-shirt with some print on it. Additionally, South African retailers often do not match pricing for basic and fashion items appropriately. Something considered basic, would be priced as a fashion item.

Local retailers also need to adopt fashion faster as international retailers do, he said. International retailers also have the advantage of scale, they have access to global brands at larger volumes.

South African retailers should also learn to introduce a “theatre of shopping” to inspire people to buy. Some retailers just put items on shelves, which is not as inspiring as having a styled manikin, he explained. A consumer could walk into a store with the idea to buy a T-shirt but then leave with a dress because the product was represented in an emotive and inspirational way, said Salzer.

International players also follow a different model when it comes to planning and buying merchandise, explained Derek Engelbrecht partner and consumer products and retail sector leader at EY. Global brands have a sense of urgency and frequency with which they change offerings.

“That is probably one of the key reasons the department store has battled. In gold old fashioned department store planning, the business would put new things on the shelf when the seasons change.”
“Global brands have worked hard and long to perfect the model where they are able to put items on the shelf every four to six weeks,” he said.

Develop a niche
Globally, the department store is facing challenges, explained Salzer. The way forward is to develop niche or specialist stores. Given South Africa’s mall culture, retailers do not necessarily have to stock all kinds of items under one roof, when a consumer can get these products a few meters away in a different store.

Salzer added that if some retailers still want to diversify their offerings, they need to be clear on the overall theme they are offering, like quality, convenience or affordability. For example a retailer could offer clothing items and cars, if the overall expectation of the offering was quality.

Engelbrecht explained that retailers can no longer be all things to all people. “If you follow approach of being all things to all people at some point your customer will leave you,” he says.

“If you identify the niche or the consumer you are targeting, while it may not appeal to all people, at least you are guaranteed that you created something unique. That is probably where the slow demise of the department store as a concept comes from.”

Engelbrecht also pointed out the importance of retailers adapting to the world in which they operate in.
Before entering business rescue, Amoils said Stuttafords had managed to reposition itself as a provider of cutting edge fashion and offered affordable branded luxury. The customer base was also more reflective of the South African consumer, with over 60% of Stuttafords’ market being black. The group also started focusing on targeting younger, tech-savvy consumers. “We perpetually evolved and I think we did a good job in the last five years,” says Amoils.

By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24

Was Zuma behind the secret ballot?

Monday’s announcement by Baleka Mbete that the motion of no confidence would be decided by secret ballot took many, if not most, people by surprise.

Why did she decide on a secret ballot, when it clearly posed significant political risk to her if the ballot passed?

This question became even more intriguing when it emerged that she did not consult with the ANC NEC and that even they were caught by surprise.

Some analysts argued that the legal advice and opinions presented to her were so convincing that she did not have a choice. That might well be true, although it should be said that her political future would still have been more important to her than the possibility of losing in court again.

Some journalists went further and questioned whether she had gone “rogue” and whether this decision was not only her way of redeeming herself as a politician and thus securing her legacy, but also that the possibility of being interim president (should the motion have passed) might have been her way off kicking off her own presidential campaign.

I don’t think that this was convincing. First of all it posed an enormous risk for her in terms of her standing in the ANC should the vote have gone against President Zuma. We have to remember that a majority of NWC, NEC and arguably even branch members still support the Zuma faction. More importantly if Mbete was seen to have strengthened the hand of the opposition and so caused a victory to them, her standing in the ANC and in the Presidential race would have been fatally damaged. As much as there might be a growing discontent in the ANC about President Zuma, that does not translate into ANC members being comfortable with an opposition victory of any sort.

So what was going on?

I believe that President Zuma not only agreed to a secret ballot, but wanted it.

I find it implausible that Mbete (who is also Chairperson of the ANC) did not consult with Zuma before making her decision. Failure to do so would be strange in any political party, but given its culture of collective decision-making, much more so for the ANC. I also do not believe that Mbete would have gone directly against the president’s wishes unless it was agreed to by the NEC (which we know was not the case).

This leaves only one alternative and that is that President Zuma decided to take a calculated risk, i.e. that he argued “Bring it on”. This would be typical of him. He would have known that if he were to survive the motion through a secret ballot, it would be the ultimate victory for him, thus effectively silencing any opposition voices inside the ANC and also making any further votes of no-confidence highly unlikely in the next few months.

It would also explain why Mbete waited until the day before the debate to make the announcement. If indeed the president was in favour of a secret ballot, he would have requested or more likely instructed Baleka to only make it known the night before the vote in order to a) give the anti-Zuma faction as little time as possible to mobilise and b) to give the ANC the maximum time to “intimidate” or put pressure on their own members – as we have indeed seen happening in the last few weeks.

And of course the gamble paid off from Zuma’s perspective. Only 177 members voted against the motion. This does mean that 28 or 29 ANC members most likely voted with the opposition and 9 abstained. Although significantly more than most people anticipated, it is a long way from the 201 votes that would have been required to pass the motion.

I have always maintained that if Mbete ruled for a secret ballot it would signal that she and the ANC were sure that the motion would not pass. I was right. I also warned that as a country we could be worse off after a vote of no confidence and I think we are.

President Zuma got what he wanted, courtesy of the opposition parties. After this vote he is stronger than ever before, no matter how hard the opposition will try and spin the fact that many ANC MPs voted for the motion. The outcome of the vote has effectively silenced any opposition to Zuma in the ANC at least until December. And it might even have for now strengthened his hand in terms of the outcome of the Electoral Conference.

The motion of no confidence was without doubt spectacular political theatre. Sadly, however, now that the curtain has fallen, South Africa is probably worse off than before.

By Melanie Verwoerd for News24

The vote in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be held in the National Assembly on August 8.

News24 and OpenUp developed a tool to enable South Africans to contact a Member of Parliament, in order to tell them which way to vote.

A whopping 98% of the people who sent emails to MPs, asked that the motion of no confidence in Zuma be supported.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has yet to say whether the ballot will be secret or not. The Constitutional Court did not give her a date by which she had to make her decision known.

The court, in its ruling on June 22, said she had the discretion to decide whether the vote should be secret or not. It should however not be an arbitrary decision, but meet the test of rationality.

If the motion did succeed, here is what would happen:

By Jan Gerber for News24

The stats of the nation

In the midst of all the chaos and depression around us, we must appreciate the fact that we have still been able to keep some world-class institutions running. One of these is Stats SA, which is right up there with its international peers. Regular visits to its website will show you why that is: the amount, depth and breadth of information is quite something.

In the past few days, three critical pieces of information from Stats SA were drowned out by the ugly, rotten politics. They all related to issues that are key to the lives of South Africans: crime, governance and jobs.

Crime is higher than ever

The first one, titled Exploring the Extent of and Circumstances Surrounding Housebreaking/ Burglary and Home Robbery, looked at these crimes that terrify South African citizens. It noted that, although the proportion of households experiencing this crime that “violates our private space and the one place that we think of as our sanctuary” has been on the decline for five years, public perceptions were the opposite.

Differentiating home robbery (a break-in while the family is there) from housebreaking (burglary), the report says the former “fuels fear in communities, because it puts people at risk of personal injury and emotional trauma in their homes, where they should feel safest”.

Then came the really frightening part, which painted an appalling picture of the arrest and conviction rates.

“An arrest is made in only one out of every five reported cases of housebreaking or home robbery. Only one in five people arrested for housebreaking was convicted, and one in three people arrested for home robbery was convicted,” it stated.

Unacceptable vacancy rates

The second report, The Non-financial Census of Municipalities, contains some disturbing information about the vacancy rates in municipalities that cannot afford to be short of service-delivery personnel. Overall, the vacancy rate jumped from 13.3% in 2015 to 14.4% in 2016. Last year, the most affected areas in terms of unfilled vacancies were environmental protection at 26.1%, road transport at 22.3% and wastewater management at 19.9%. What was worrying was that only health – at 10.9% – had a vacancy rate of less than 12%. Crucial functions such as electricity (13.7%), water (13.6%) and finance (12.9%) had unacceptable vacancy rates.

Such high vacancy rates when positions are fully funded affect service delivery and increase the reliance on outside consultants, the report noted. By way of illustration, it pointed out that in Vryheid – which experienced a severe drought in the year in question and had to employ water tankers – the vacancy rate is 30.5%. Rustenburg’s wastewater management stood at a staggering 69%. Road transport, which is often the cause of community grievance, turned up some alarming numbers. In Mangaung, 74% of vacant posts were unfilled and Masilonyana (also in the Free State) stood at 69%. Although the vacancy rate in electricity came down from 20.2% to 13.7% last year, it is still considered high.

Unemployment crisis

The third was the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which revealed that South Africa’s unemployment rate now stood at 27.7% – its highest since 2003. Ironically, this was in the quarter in which 144 000 new jobs were created in the economy, a number offset by the entry of 433 000 jobseekers. The survey said 58% of these new jobseekers were between 18 and 34 years of age, thus pushing the youth unemployment rate to 38.6%.

The unemployment rate among those without matric was 33.1%, while among graduates, it was 7.3%. If you use the expanded definition of unemployment by including those who have just given up on looking for work, the figure goes to 36.4%, almost a 10% increase. And if you want it in raw figures, we are talking about 9.3 million South Africans who cannot find work.

Why, I hear you ask, are we talking about such seemingly mundane matters when there are so many more fascinating subjects, such as Duduzane’s complicated love life and the saucy pictures that dropped into his inbox? Why should we be concerned about boring issues when there is such scintillating stuff in the political world – from emails to motions of no confidence and a president who threatens his executive not to “push him too far”?

Well, it is because these are the issues that should be consuming us. In a society that is serious about solving problems, the content of these reports would spell crisis in capital letters. A citizenry that lives in constant fear in a free country is not enjoying its freedom.

Municipalities and government departments that deprive residents of quality services because they are unable to fill vacancies are also depriving people of the tangible fruits of freedom.

The same can be said with regard to the unemployment crisis, which deprives families and individuals of a decent standard of living.

There has to come a time when these are the big issues on the minds of South Africans, both in the state and outside of government.

But then, as the Zuma/Gupta mafia is busy plundering, the country has no choice but to be consumed by their criminal behaviour.

By Mondli Makhanya for News24

Rand yo-yos as Zuma survives chopping block

Markets have reacted to events at the African National Congress National Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend.

The rand gained considerable strength when news emerged that a vote of no confidence had been tabled.

But it quickly retreated when the motion failed.

Economist Dawie Roodt says the rand is inextricably linked with President Jacob Zuma’s fate.

“It is interesting to watch financial markets because quite often, one can actually see how Jacob Zuma is doing by simply watching the exchange rate of the country.

“What has happened though over the weekend, as soon as it became clear that there would be a debate on the future of Zuma, the rand actually appreciates very strongly against most other currencies.”

Meanwhile, Zuma has come out swinging following the failure of a motion of no confidence in him.

The motion was tabled at the ANC NEC meeting over the weekend.

It failed to garner the necessary support to carry.

Zuma attacked his critics in the NEC in his closing address, saying he knows those who want him to step down are pushing an agenda of foreign forces and he’s warned them to stop.

Three sources in the ANC NEC have told Eyewitness News that Zuma was hard-hitting and furious when he gave his closing remarks at the NEC meeting, responding to those who called on him to step down.

It is understood that the president told the NEC meeting that those who wanted him to resign are pushing an agenda of foreign forces.

The sources say the furious president told the meeting that he was poisoned with the intention of being killed and warned that he knows who is plotting against him and where they get the money from.

It’s understood he also told the meeting that he can’t be blamed for the party’s loss of key metros, saying it was the ANC’s failure to manage regional dynamics that resulted in the poor showing at last year’s polls.

By Clement Manyathela for www.ewn.co.za

ConCourt reserves judgement in secret ballot appeal

After almost 10 hours of legal arguments, the Constitutional Court reserved judgment on the United Democratic Movement’s application to direct National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to hold a secret ballot on a motion of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma. The matter boiled down to Mbete’s discretion to allow a secret ballot. Advocates representing opposition parties argued the secret ballot was required in this matter, while Mbete and Zuma’s advocates conceded it was permissible. As fascinating as the legal arguments were, this case is about politics. Therefore, the courts can only go so far in dealing with South Africa’s big political dilemma: the disastrous Zuma presidency.

Throughout the day, the judges of the Constitutional Court asked counsel for the various parties before them about the basis on which the court should be involved and why the secret ballot was necessary. The judges were clearly concerned and mindful of the separation of powers doctrine and the question of judicial overreach. The only thing the court could do, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said, was look at the law and interpret it.

At the end of the day’s arguments, Justice Mogoeng thanked the advocates for their “enlightenment”. “You have no idea how challenging it was to conceptualise the issues,” he said.

Apart from the judges being cautious of another matter relating to Zuma, particularly as his supporters in KwaZulu-Natal were staging a protest against judicial overreach, they also wanted to be careful not to encroach on the functions of Parliament or prescribe to the Speaker how to act.

While the drafters of the Constitution spelt out that the president should be elected by secret ballot, they did not stipulate as much in the section on the removal of the president through a motion of no confidence. Mbete refused the UDM’s request for a motion of no confidence through secret ballot. She stated in a letter to the UDM’s attorney that she had no authority in law or through the rules of Parliament to grant this.

Lawyers initially fumbled on the question of why the court should intervene and what the National Assembly rules allowed for. Dali Mpofu, representing the UDM, said MPs were entitled to vote according to conscience and should be protected because of the risks they could face if they did so. He said the separation of powers was not at issue and there needed to be an interpretation of the instruments for holding the president accountable.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, arguing on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said the motion of no confidence could not take place effectively unless it was conducted through a secret ballot.

“The most practical way of holding the executive accountable is a secret ballot,” Ngcukaitobi said. He said the Constitutional Court must only deal with current motion and not secret ballots in Parliament generally.

But the advocate for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Anton Katz, said every motion of no confidence should be decided by secret ballot in principle. He said IFP MPs had consistently requested that motions be decided by secret ballot and were denied this.

Maruma Moerane, representing the Speaker, said the National Assembly had considered and decided against a secret ballot. He said the Constitution left the determination of voting procedures to the National Assembly.

“If it wanted a secret ballot, it would say so,” Moerane said. Mbete was not prepared to make an assumption that people would vote differently in open vote and in a secret ballot, he said.

But Moerane conceded eventually that Mbete had the discretion to allow a secret ballot, through the reading of section 103 and 104 of the rules of the National Assembly.

While Mbete did not oppose the application, Zuma did.

Ishmael Semenya, representing Zuma, argued that if there were any risks against MPs, this should be referred to Parliament’s rules committee together with the evidence so that that the rules could be amended. He said for the UDM application for a secret ballot to succeed, the Constitutional Court had to determine that the executive could not be held to account through an open vote.

It was interesting that the ANC did not participate in the case, although their MPs were the subject of the discussion, particularly the intimidation and possible risks facing them. Mpofu said that the risk to MPs was more than the daunting prospect of challenging the president. He said because ministers and deputy ministers also had to resign if a motion of no confidence was passed, it was not just the president that MPs were voting against but up to 70 of their colleagues.

While the judges’ line of questioning eventually led the senior counsel to come to some consensus that the secret ballot was permissible and the Speaker had the discretion to allow it, the matter remains complex. This is yet another matter before the courts where the President of the Republic is a respondent. The issues in this case are not about whether he is a fit and proper leader but it is difficult to see the arguments outside the context of Zuma being a disastrous president who has dragged the country to the brink.

If the Constitutional Court could hear arguments from lay people, in this case the opposition party leaders, the rationale for the secret ballot would be very different. It would be about the track record of Mbete in bulldozing the opposition, the frustrations they face in Parliament by being stonewalled through the ANC’s majority, and how Zuma has made a mockery of the accountability mechanisms. If this was the court of political opinion, they could argue why the motion of no confidence against the president needed to succeed.

But the case is not about Zuma or the merits of the motion of no confidence. It is only about the law, the rules of the National Assembly and the interpretation of these with regard to the secret ballot.

There is also another factor in this case. While there might be ANC MPs willing to vote according to conscience, the majority of the caucus will not do so – even though they might be opposed to Zuma’s continued leadership of the country and the ANC. Some of them might be influenced by the party line, as pronounced by the ANC national working committee. But others would want the ANC to decide on their leader’s future, not the opposition to drive the process.

But is the ANC capable of acting against Zuma? The party will have to answer that question at the end of this month when the national executive committee meets. If the party fails to deal with Zuma’s appalling leadership and fails to hold him to account for his Cabinet reshuffle, it might make it easier for ANC MPs to vote according to conscience.

For now, the question is how the judges of the Constitutional Court will continue to protect and defend the rule of law through their interpretation of the application for a secret ballot. If Monday’s riveting arguments are anything to go by, the answers are pretty obvious regarding the Speaker’s discretion.

But the Constitutional Court has surprised us in the past with their astute interventions in this period of turmoil. Perhaps they will do so again.

By Ranjeni Munusamy for Daily Maverick

May Day speeches cancelled as crowd heckles Zuma

The divisions in the tripartite alliance over the ANC’s succession battle played out at Cosatu’s nationwide May Day rallies with President Jacob Zuma and his “allies” booed while his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa was cheered and welcomed.

Ramaphosa was once again endorsed as the preferred candidate to take over from Zuma.

Zuma, African National Congress national chairperson Baleka Mbete and deputy-general secretary Jessie Duarte faced a torrid time in front of the labour federation members.

Zuma faced the worst embarrassment since ascending to ANC presidency in 2007 when unrelenting Cosatu members heckled and chanted anti-Zuma songs in his presence.

This forced the federation to prematurely end its main Worker’s Day celebrations in Bloemfontein. In an unprecedented move all speeches were cancelled and the event abandoned.

‘Gupta’ chants

In Durban, Mbete tried to put up a brave face and continued with her speech despite repeated boos from the crowd who gestured for her to leave the stage.

They chanted “Gupta” and despite attempts by SACP second deputy-general secretary Solly Mapaila and local leaders to calm the crowd. Responding to the rejection Mbete claimed that national ANC leadership expected the hostile treatment.

“We anticipated this as leadership. We met a week ago and discussed it. But we were ready to come and conduct ourselves in terms of our role as leadership,” she told News24.

Duarte didn’t have a good day at the office either with the crowd barring her from addressing them. Gathered in Polokwane in Limpopo, Duarte was booed by hundreds of Cosatu members when she was introduced to speak.

She told News24 afterward: “This is about supporting a candidate, the ANC has not decided on candidate yet, none of us has preferences. We have not taken a decision yet.”

This was in sharp contrast to Ramaphosa, who was again affirmed as next ANC president at the rallies that went ahead. Cosatu leaders who spoke said they will work the ground to ensure he was elected as the next ANC president.

Ramaphosa delivered his speech in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga during a heavy downpour with Cosatu members rooted in the rain listening to his entire speech.

Cosatu’s first deputy president James Tyotyo said government would not need to build him a home-an indirect jab to government spending R250m to upgrade Zuma’s private Nkandla home.

“He will not steal government money. Government will not build him a house because he already has his own house. As Cosatu we want to repeat it today, we say the president [Zuma] must step down because on daily basis he commits blunders. His blunders will make us lose the elections in 2019,” said Tyotyo.

Ramaphosa for president

At the Gauteng Cosatu rally general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said they will campaign to ensure Ramaphosa takes over the ANC presidency.

“We as the workers want Cyril Ramaphosa to be president, we will elect him in December,” Ntshalintshali said.

Political analyst Susan Booysen said the events were a “watershed moment for the ANC and the Zuma faction within the ANC in particular as they were rejected by a key constituency of the ANC”.

“We didn’t see an outright rejection of the ANC, we saw people like Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed in Mpumalanga and that was in contrast to Zuma, Mbete and Duarte – they met a groundswell of angry rejection and it was not white, it was not middle class. This was rejection from the heartland of the ANC,” Booysen said.

Booysen’s view was echoed by Professor Somadoda Fikeni: “This collapses the view that people who do not support the president are either middle class, monopoly capital or racists. It shows that you have a cross-section of people for a variety of reasons who are unhappy,” Fikeni said.

Cosatu was at the forefront of ensuring that Zuma was elected president in 2007 at the Polokwane elective conference and pushed for Mbeki’s recall the following year.

However, they now want Zuma to go after he reshuffled his cabinet without consulting them. They have also not scored any major policy changes under Zuma’s administration including their call for e-tolls to be scrapped, labour brokers to be banned and radical changes in the economy.

Booysen said while it was early days in the succession battle, the Worker’s Day events were a major setback for ANC NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign for the ANC top spot.

Tactics

She is backed by Zuma and his allies-the ANC Youth League and Women’s League.

“Things can always turn again, but today from groundswell of anti-Zuma reaction there was in part succession battle being decided. It may turn again, but today’s indication it was devastating setback for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Zuma,” Booysen said.

Fikeni said the anti-Zuma group were using the same tactics applied by Zuma supporters.

The ANC Youth League recently booed and disrupted speeches by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and Mapaila’s address during a Chris Hani memorial.

“Remember for some time it’s been well organised, pro-president booing down opponents; other side has now taken the same tactic, to show displeasure. It may then degenerate into no-go areas; you choose areas assured of supporters, or may lead to disruption of June or December conference,” Fikeni said.

The ANC earlier blamed alliance leaders for “prematurely speaking on leadership preferences” for the chaos that led to Zuma being prevented to speak.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the incident should not be allowed to happen again.

“This is precisely the reason why we have cautioned Cosatu and other alliance structures including our leagues against premature announcements in public because they have an impact and bearing on our efforts to foster unity,” Kodwa said.

Source: News24

 

Ramaphosa takes off the gloves in fight to lead SA

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the gloves off in the contest to become the nation’s next leader, delivering a scathing speech criticising “the rot” and widespread patronage plaguing the ruling African National Congress.

Ramaphosa stopped short of openly declaring his candidacy to succeed President Jacob Zuma, 75, in a speech on Sunday, but his address left no doubt that his campaign is now firmly under way. He made several thinly veiled attacks on Zuma, who’s indicated that he’s backing his former wife and mother of four of his children, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the top post.

Dlamini-Zuma, who’s spent the past few weeks traversing the country drumming up support while guarded by the presidential protection unit, took an early edge in the race to succeed Zuma as ANC leader in December while Ramaphosa had run a subdued campaign, said Ralph Mathekga, an analyst at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a Johannesburg-based research group.

“It’s becoming clear that he wants the position of party president,” Mathekga said. “He’s become more decisive and could inflict damage to the campaign of Zuma’s preferred candidate.”

A lawyer who co-founded the National Union of Mineworkers, Ramaphosa, 64, helped negotiate a peaceful end to apartheid and draft South Africa’s first democratic constitution. He lost out to Thabo Mbeki in the contest to succeed Nelson Mandela as president in 1999 and went into business, securing control of the McDonald’s franchise in South Africa and amassing a fortune before returning to full-time politics in 2012 as the ANC’s deputy leader.

Gordhan’s firing

Appointed as the nation’s deputy president in 2014, Ramaphosa has spent much of his tenure defending the ANC and government in the face of a series of scandals implicating Zuma. He publicly disagreed with his boss for the first time this month after Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, prompting S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings to downgrade the country’s credit rating to junk.

In his speech delivered at a memorial service for the late South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Ramaphosa backed a recommendation by the former graft ombudsman that a judicial commission investigate if members of the Gupta family, who are friends with the president and are in business with his son, unduly benefited from state contracts and tried to influence Cabinet appointments. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

“The allegations that there are private individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement decisions should be a matter of grave concern to the movement,” Ramaphosa said. “These practices threaten the integrity of the state, undermine our economic progress and diminish our ability to change the lives of the poor.”

Mcebisi Jonas, the former deputy finance minister who alleged that the Guptas offered him a promotion in exchange for preferential treatment, also spoke at the memorial service.

‘Pretend rules’

ANC rules discourage members from openly lobbying for leadership posts, and say they should await nomination from its branches before declaring their availability. Several senior party leaders have called for the regulations to be changed.

“We know those are ‘pretend rules’ and nobody actually plays by them,” said Susan Booysen, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Governance. “The rules are there to protect the incumbent and their chosen successor.”

The ANC has won more than 60% of the vote in every national election since it took power in the first multiracial one in 1994, placing its next leader in pole position to become the nation’s next president in 2019 when Zuma is due to step down. The party will hold its internal elections at a December 16-20 conference in Johannesburg.

Anger, disappointment

“Ramaphosa realises that this is the moment to come out because there is general support for him and it comes in the context of anger and disappointment and people wondering why on earth he has not come out to declare his candidacy,” Booysen said.

Ronnie Mamoepa, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, said he couldn’t comment on party matters.

Dlamini-Zuma, 68, had an early edge in the succession battle, according to 11 of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg on February 13 and 14, while 10 put Ramaphosa ahead, and five said the contest was too early to select a front-runner.

Ramaphosa still faces major obstacles in his bid for the ANC’s top job. While he’s received the support of the main labour federation, Dlamini-Zuma has the public backing of the ANC’s Women’s League and part of the party youth league, and can expect the endorsement of three premiers of three rural provinces known as the “premier league” who are allied with Zuma.

Marikana killings

There was a public uproar in 2012 when Ramaphosa made a failed R19.5m bid for a buffalo cow and calf at a game auction, a move opposition parties said was scandalous given the country’s enduring poverty.

The killing of 34 protesters by police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in 2012 following days of violent strike action also dented Ramaphosa’s image. While he called the labour action “dastardly criminal” in an email a day before the shooting and urged police to take “concomitant action”, a commission of inquiry cleared him of wrongdoing. A company he led had a stake in the mine.

Under Zuma, the ANC suffered its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in municipal elections in August, losing control of Pretoria, the capital, and the economic hub of Johannesburg.

While Ramaphosa still needs to build his support base, the fact that he’s made it clear he’s in the race should bolster his chances, according to Mathekga.

“People can see he is a real option,” he said.

By Amogelang Mbatha and Mike Cohen for www.fin24.co.za

SA waits as motion of no confidence may be postponed

Several opposition parties have called for a new date for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, which is due to be debated next Tuesday.

The UDM wrote to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete following a directive from the Constitutional Court on Tuesday regarding the UDM’s call for MPs to be able to vote via secret ballot.

The court granted the UDM access to argue the matter and allowed parties involved to file opposing papers. They had until Friday, April 21 at 16:00 to do so.

The UDM subsequently wrote to Mbete to propose that the motion be pushed to the week of April 25 to allow the respondents time to file their papers.

“An agreement between the parties should also entail this aspect,” the UDM said through its lawyers.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Mbete had received the letter and would respond accordingly.

Parliament said it had received the court’s directives and would comply with the timeframes.

He said the court made no injunction regarding the motion of no confidence. It was still scheduled to take place in the National Assembly at 14:00 next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Parliament said earlier on Tuesday that Mbete was not opposed to the principle of a secret ballot on such motions.

Mbete held no position on the matter, it said in a statement.

“Where the Speaker and the UDM disagree is in relation to the powers of the Speaker under the Constitution to make such a determination.”

The Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday also asked Mbete to postpone the motion of no confidence until after the Constitutional Court hears the matter.

The court’s decision to hear whether the vote could be done via secret ballot warranted a postponement from its current April 18 date, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

In a separate letter, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said the Constitutional Court case could have a direct bearing on the nature and outcome of the motion.

Maimane added while Parliament waits a bit longer to debate Zuma’s fate, South Africans should join opposition parties as it marches to the Union buildings on Wednesday on Zuma’s 75th birthday.

By Thulani Gqirana and Paul Herman for News24

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