News / Opinion / Columns

Martin Williams
3 minute read
14 Feb 2018
8:00 am

Zuma’s Russian roulette

Martin Williams

Which big shot do you think Jacob Zuma fears most, Ramaphosa or Putin? He’s pulled the trigger. Now he’s Dead Prez Walking

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 18, 2017: Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier

Jacob Zuma’s attempts to prolong his stay at the Union Buildings have not been motivated by a need to introduce ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to the African Union and Brics.

That’s nonsense. The motives are sinister. It is plausibly argued that Zuma has been threatened by Russian President Vladimir Putin over a nuclear deal. Gas contracts could also feature.

Plane spotters recently tracked a Gupta-owned Bombardier (ZS-OAK) approaching St Petersburg, Russia. Thanks to journalist Julian Rademeyer for tweeting the planefinder. net records.

Other Zupta watchers noted Energy Minister David Mahlobo and Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi travelling in the Middle East last week.

On the move, Mahlobo also met Russian Minister Sergey Donsky at the mining indaba in Cape Town, along with Russian Ambassador Mikhail Petrakov and the chair of SA’s Central Energy Fund, Luvo Makasi.

All this led to speculation. The timing, coinciding with Zexit manoeuvres, has been exquisite for conspiracy theorists.

Admittedly this is conjecture. But let’s do it anyway. Stellenbosch academic Mark Swilling has weighed in with background in the Daily Maverick.

According to Swilling, people privy to Zexit talks know that “Zuma is terrified, and that this has got something to do with the nuclear deal. ….. Have the Russians threatened him or his family in some way?”

Let’s rewind to 2010. In that year, the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma bought Uranium One’s Dominion Mine. As is their habit, they used other people’s money – in this case an Industrial Development Corporation loan.

The mine was renamed Shiva Uranium.

A year later, Duduzane’s father established an interministerial national nuclear executive committee to oversee the implementation of a nuclear programme.

So, for eight years, this trillion-rand Zupta enrichment programme has been pursued.

A slew of Cabinet ministers, especially in finance and energy, have been sacrificed when standing in the way.

Nhlanhla Nene got the chop in 2015, days after refusing to sign a letter presented to him at a Brics summit in Russia. The letter reportedly would have granted the Russians a state guarantee to finance SA’s nuclear programme.

Imagine the panic in the Zupta camp when Ramaphosa announced in Davos last month that nuclear power was unaffordable and unnecessary.

Where does gas come in?

In September last year, the Sunday Times reported Mahlobo had accompanied the “New Guptas”, ex-convicts Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene, on a trip to Russia. The two were touted as BEE partners in a R5-billion gas deal with Russian company Rosgeo.

Presumably, Zuma has also been under pressure to rescue the gas deal before leaving office.

Zuma wanted to tie up these energy deals, no matter what. Zupta criminals are already immensely wealthy.

They should be in jail. Yet they continue to gamble, recklessly. With Russian roulette, there’s one bullet in an empty revolver cylinder.

You place the muzzle against your head and pull the trigger.

Which big shot do you think Zuma fears most, Ramaphosa or Putin? He’s pulled the trigger.

Now he’s Dead Prez Walking.

Martin Williams.

Martin Williams.