The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has unanimously decided that President Jacob Zuma must be ousted before the State of the Nation Address on February 8th.
Following his victory in December, party President Cyril Ramaphosa, scored another triumph by ensuring the cooperation of Zuma’s allies in this decision which is aimed at creating a safe space to deal with State Capture culprits.
Whether he steps down by himself or is further pushed out by the NEC before SONA, many have commented that the president’s fate is sealed.
Party members have agreed that it would make no sense for Zuma to deliver a SONA speech as it would undermine the agenda of the current NEC. Similarly, Ramaphosa has shown restraint in the publicity of this move as he has stated he does not wish to humiliate the current president.
Yet, a few cracks of the whip should not be cause for overwhelming celebration. Ramaphosa has shown that he intends to lead by example and improve public and investor confidence in the government, but many pundits have expressed that Zuma will not be leaving empty-handed.
While no one has declared that the president will be completely protected from prosecution over his numerous illicit affairs, it is safe or at the very least a conservative guess, to assume that the current president has negotiated his exit extensively with his would-be successor.
Still the work is being done and anti-graft strategies seem to be the order of the day.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has moved to seize assets belonging to the Gupta-linked Trillian Capital and international consultancy firm McKinsey & Company to recover R1.6 billion allegedly attained through state capture at power utility Eskom.
According to the Sunday Times, the AFU further negotiated with Dubai authorities to act to ensure the repatriation of Gupta assets in that country should that be necessary after its probe. The Guptas are also in trouble over an amount of R10 million allegedly paid to Atul Gupta and at least R4 million paid to Kamal Vasram of Sahara Computers, a Gupta-owned company, emanating from a dairy project in Vrede in the Free State.
The AFU investigation is likely to implicate a number of senior politicians, including Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who is former agriculture MEC in Free State.
The dairy project, which was allegedly a money-making scheme for the Guptas, was established by the Free State provincial government led by Premier Ace Magashule, who has since been elected as ANC secretary-general.
Some say even Magashule is not off the hook. As part of his clean-up campaign, Ramaphosa also fired the controversial Eskom board, with the appointment of a new one chaired by businessperson Jabu Mabuza, with Phakamani Hadebe as interim CEO.
Ramaphosa not only ordered the new board to remove Eskom executives linked to the Gupta family, he also asked it to appoint the utility’s permanent group CEO and group chief financial officer.
Ramaphosa is also expected to appoint the new head of the National Prosecuting Authority, in line with the recent High Court in Pretoria ruling.