Avatar photo

By Eric Naki

Political Editor

ANC’s political future hangs in the balance – Zondo report could be the final straw

The fifth instalment of Zondo report gave a clear message that the ANC was rotten from the top down.

The latest Zondo commission report has put the final nail in the ANC’s electoral coffin – increasing the possibility that the party could lose the 2024 election for messing up the country, according to experts.

One analyst, Dr Levy Ndou, insisted the ANC must go to the electorate, explain itself and apologise to voters for state capture. He said those deeply implicated in state capture, as reflected in the report, must do the party a big favour and just resign of their own accord, citing the likes of Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation David Mahlobo.

“Those must save the trouble of appearing before the ANC integrity commission because evidence is overwhelming against them,” he said.

Both analyst Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast from Nelson Mandela University and independent political economy analyst Daniel Silke said the ANC’s political future hung in the balance after this report.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa won’t respond to anything in final state capture report just yet

Breakfast said the fifth instalment of Zondo report gave a clear message that the ANC was rotten from the top down and that the electorate could severely punish the ruling party come the 2024 polls. Breakfast also said the damning findings against former director-general of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, would discredit Fraser’s complaint about shenanigans that allegedly occurred at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm.

Silke said the cumulative effort of the Zondo report would be “extremely damaging for the ANC”, both from its internal stability perspective and electorally.

Silke expected the next few months to be a “highly intense, combustive and fiery period” within the ANC as it moved towards in national conference in December.

“The factional issues are going to be effectively amplified as a result of the report, with those implicated and their followers attempting last-gasp efforts to stop Ramaphosa’s second term,” Silke said.

As in the past, ANC internal squabbles have had a knock-on effect on voters, who stay away or might consider voting for other parties, as they have already done. This infighting could see voters drifting away from it and seeking alternatives.

According to Silke, clearly the report was not only damaging to Jacob Zuma and his family but also to Ramaphosa, as it did not shy away from ascribing some level of blame on him. The ball was in his court to clear up the rot, including implementing a Cabinet reshuffle of unprecedented magnitude.

ALSO READ: State capture: Ramaphosa’s silence made him complicit, Zondo finds

“The pressure has been heaped upon Ramaphosa as well. This is damaging all round and the future of the ANC as a political party may well rest on how it navigates the next six months and how it reacts to the Zondo commission going forward,” Silke said.

While Fraser claimed that he was thrown under the bus by his colleagues who testified at the commission, Breakfast said: “I think he anticipated the Zondo findings will be against him, hence he decided to lay those charges against the president. The report throws cold water on his complaint regarding the president’s farm issue.

“Moreover, it will raise questions about his motive for the complaint and it reinforces the suspicion that Fraser had a political agenda to dislodge the sitting president from power,” Breakfast added.

But the expert expressed concern about the shabby manner Zondo handled the process to hand over the report to Ramaphosa. He said the conversation between the two reinforced suspicions the judge was avoiding to adversely implicate Ramaphosa, considering his recent appointment as chief justice.

He said Zondo should have completely avoided any personal interaction with Ramaphosa prior to the report handover.

Ndou said the ANC must neither accommodate nor reward those implicated, but it must release them from duty. He said the ANC should not take the report lightly but it must act on it.