Amanda Watson news editor The Citizen obituary

By Amanda Watson

News Editor

This is why Zuma is going to go ‘soon’ says political analyst

'For Ramaphosa, it is going to be very awkward for Zuma to deliver the Sona as though nothing really has changed,' says political analyst Daniel Silke.

With lofty and far-ranging promises being made by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa this past weekend about corruption, time is running out for him to put words into deeds as two critical deadlines quickly approach.

The first is the State of the Nation Address (Sona), expected to be presented by President Jacob Zuma on February 8, just four weeks away.

“For Ramaphosa, it is going to be very awkward for Zuma to deliver the Sona as though nothing really has changed,” said political analyst Daniel Silke.

“I think the pressure really is on in the next few weeks to attempt some sort of exit for Zuma before the Sona. My view is yes, Zuma is going to go soon. The question is: can he go in the next few weeks or will this be a little bit more protracted?”

Silke said Ramaphosa desperately needed to be seen as the de facto president.

“He also needs to be seen as the president for all South Africans and not just the president of the ANC.

“He needs to extend his authority beyond the party branches as he has done in the celebrations this weekend and at the elective conference. “If Zuma remains, it would undermine Ramaphosa to a large degree and exacerbate the two centres of power issue.”

Ramaphosa said yesterday in an interview with the state broadcaster that the issue of having different presidents of the ANC and the government was a “very delicate matter and could be seen by some as having two centres of power”.

“But we don’t see it in that regard. There’s only one centre of  power, the centre of power is the ANC. “President Zuma is a deployee of the ANC. He’s been deployed by the ANC and it is for this reason that yesterday, on hearing the booing when I started my address, I said we need to deal with each other with respect,” said Ramaphosa.

The other deadline is the one ordered by the High Court in Pretoria, which set aside former National Prosecuting Authority head Mxolosis Nxsana’s resignation and current head Shaun Abrahams’ appointment and stripped Zuma of the power to re-appoint someone else.

Justice Dunstan Mlambo gave Ramaphosa 60 days from December 8, meaning time runs out on February 6, two days before Sona. Although Zuma indicated he will appeal, there has been no movement and, empowered by the judgment, the door is open for Ramaphosa to appoint a new NPA head.

“Strong and efficient law-enforcement agencies are critical to the fight against corruption and crime generally, and to the restoration of the integrity and legitimacy of the state,” Ramaphosa said on Saturday at the ANC’s 106-year celebrations in East London.

Silke noted the sooner the ANC consolidated the party and the presidency into one, the better it would be for Ramaphosa to be able to start exerting real influence.

“Until he does that, he can give all the nice speeches he wants to in the world. But frankly, unless he can assume the office and reshuffle the cabinet with more credible and skilled practitioners, a lot of it will be rhetoric, which will continue to cause concern for voters and for the business community,” Silke said.

Constitutionally, for the ANC to effect change could be difficult with the cabinet being chosen by the sitting president – something Zuma has shown himself capable of doing without consulting the ANC’s national executive committee.


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