Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
6 Sep 2018
9:54 am

Zuma to blame for recession, says the ANC

Daniel Friedman

The ruling party is becoming increasingly comfortable doing something they were reluctant to during JZ's presidency - using him as a scapegoat.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to his supporters after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

The ANC’s head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana admitted to Business Day that mismanagement under former president Jacob Zuma’s watch has led to the economic situation South Africa is currently experiencing.

Godongwana apparently said that political mismanagement over the past five years has led to the country’s first recession since 2009.

This is not the first time those within the ANC have spoken out against what they see as Zuma’s role in our economic struggles. In May 2017, TimesLive reported that the then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa had alluded to Zuma’s complicity in the first ratings downgrades the country experienced in April of that year, when first S&P and then Fitch both lowered our credit rating to what is often termed “junk status”.

“Our efforts to grow the economy have been dealt a big blow by the recent decision by the ratings agencies to downgrade us and we know what sparked that off,” Ramaphosa said at the time.

This was a departure from previous ANC policy, which saw the party stand behind Zuma several times during his presidency.

READ MORE: Blame the ANC, not just Zuma

In the 2016 municipal elections, the ruling party’s portion of the vote fell to its lowest point yet, at 53.9% compared to 62.15% in 2014, and saw key metros such as Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay fall to the DA, assisted by the EFF as well as other opposition parties, who decided to vote with the official opposition. The latter metro has since fallen to a UDM mayor and ANC speaker.

At the time, the ANC held a four-day national executive committee meeting in Tshwane, where they resolved the party must take “collective” responsibility for their waning electoral success.

The party’s secretary general at the time, Gwede Mantashe, said that blaming Zuma was the “wrong narrative“, one that he called alien to ANC culture.

It seems the ANC’s policy at the time of collective responsibility is backed by DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

RNews reported that at a briefing on Wednesday in which he announced the party’s candidate for premier of the Eastern Cape Nqaba Bhanga, Maimane said the ANC rather than Zuma alone should shield the blame for SA’s economic woes.

“I read this morning, a newspaper headline saying ‘Blame Jacob Zuma for recession’. Even myself, I don’t like Jacob Zuma, but he cannot take the blame for the recession,” he told those at the briefing.

“The only party to blame for the recession is entire ANC because they protected him, they looted together – so if someone ought to be blamed for recession, it’s got to be the ANC.”

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.