Tag Archives: Zuma

South Africa – growing rift between Zuma and Mantashe in ANC

Mail and Guardian

The M&G spoke to several sources who all painted a picture of the ANC president openly at odds with his secretary general.

At loggerheads: Top level ANC sources say the tension between Gwede Mantashe and President Jacob Zuma is intensifying. (Oupa Nkosi)

President Jacob Zuma has sidelined ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, openly undermining him and directing Cabinet ministers to defy him.

The Mail & Guardian spoke to several ANC national executive committee (NEC) sources – independently of each other – who all painted a picture of Zuma openly at odds with Mantashe.

This is a stark departure from Zuma’s first term, before the ANC’s Mangaung conference in 2012, when Mantashe played the role of an unofficial “prime minister” and strongly backed Zuma.

Now Mantashe is seen as a threat to Zuma and his KwaZulu-Natal backers’ succession plans for when Zuma’s term ends in 2017. ANC members in Mantashe’s home province of the Eastern Cape have made clear their support for him to become ANC deputy president, a plan at odds with the Zuma faction’s ambitions.

But Mantashe says there appears to be a campaign to drive a wedge between him and the president. “That is what they are praying for,” he told the M&G this week.

Clearly aware of the claims of a growing rift, Mantashe said it was something some NEC members “wished for”. One of the contributing factors for the apparent rift is Mantashe’s propensity to speak his mind on ANC matters. The secretary general noted that, although he enjoyed freedom of speech, he was not petty. “I am organisational, I am not petty,” he said.

The tension between the two men seems to be intensifying, according to the NEC sources. Two members said Mantashe was increasingly marginalised by Zuma and his allies. And a former ANC top official said he believed the fight was getting worse.

One NEC member said Zuma appears to be on the warpath against Mantashe in an effort to “save his legacy” and “get more friends” – even if that means not toeing the party line as set out by Mantashe.

The sources detailed numerous incidents that demonstrate how Zuma advised his allies, including Cabinet ministers, to oppose Mantashe. “If the president says something and the secretary general says something else, we will listen to the president,” one source said.

Many of the allegations are based on anecdotal and behind-closed-doors interactions between the two men, but a number of incidents confirm the growing tension.

In June, Mantashe was vehemently opposed to a task team announced by then newly appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Nkgoako Ramatlhodi to mediate in the five-month-long platinum strike.

One source, significantly close to the matter, said Mantashe and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – Mantashe was previously a general secretary of the union – were firm that government should not intervene in the strike.

They appeared to have argued that government’s intervention would legitimise what they called a “violent Amcu” [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union]. Amcu, the NUM’s rival, led the violent strike that brought the platinum industry to a standstill.

Mantashe was not coy about this sentiment, repeatedly saying at the time that Amcu was supported by “foreign forces” and “outsiders”.

But despite Mantashe’s reservation, Ramatlhodi pushed ahead, and formed the technical task team – after being emboldened by a directive from Zuma. The source noted that Ramatlhodi went to Zuma’s office in Pretoria where he explained what he (Ramatlhodi) described as a “desperate situation” and was then given the nod by Zuma to intervene.

It emerged that Zuma went as far as directing Ramatlhodi to ignore Mantashe’s objection and to form the task team. At a subsequent NEC subcommittee meeting on mineral resources, Ramatlhodi was reprimanded for not abiding by Mantashe’s instructions. This was done by an NEC member aligned to Mantashe.

Ramatlhodi apparently noted in that meeting that as a member of the executive he took his instructions from Zuma and not Mantashe. He added that he did what he thought was “best for the country”.

But this week Mantashe denied trying to dissuade Ramatlhodi from intervening in the deadlock in the platinum sector. “We met Ramatlhodi as officials in the middle of the intervention,” he said.

During national elections in May, the ANC in Gauteng got a hammering from voters, ostensibly over the introduction of e-tolls in the province. Newly elected premier David Makhura set up a panel to review the tolls, but Mantashe was vehemently opposed to it, saying the scheme had been initiated and implemented by the ANC government.

Makhura pushed ahead anyway, and it emerged that he went to Zuma, who gave him permission to review the controversial e-tolls. This visit to get Zuma’s approval was confirmed by ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile.

“People say the president is unhappy about it [e-tolls]. But he is the first person who was consulted and he gave the go-ahead,” Mashatile said after the ANC’s provincial conference earlier this month.

In an interview with City Press last week, Mantashe again reprimanded the Gauteng leadership for taking on the mother party. “If you have an issue, you don’t raise it publicly and threaten the ANC,” Mantashe was quoted as saying.

Two senior ANC sources said that in addition to the approval about the e-tolls by Zuma, it was then further discussed with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

But this week Mantashe denied being opposed to the e-toll review panel: “I did not meet the premier of Gauteng. He came to the office when I was not here. He met with the deputy secretary general [Jessie Duarte, a close Zuma ally], who gave him the go-ahead,” he said.

The ANC in Gauteng has now called for the scrapping of the controversial e-tolls and has sided with opposition parties to figure out how best to settle the infrastructure debt. The ANC almost lost Gauteng in the May general election, with opinion polls citing the e-tolls as an electoral turn off.

But the most damning bone of contention between Zuma and Mantashe has been the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operating officer.

The M&G reported in July this year that the communications minister, Faith Muthambi, got a directive from Zuma to ratify Motsoeneng’s appointment. Mantashe told the M&G then that the ANC was opposed to the appointment.

Two other sources in the top leadership of the ANC said the friction between Zuma and Mantashe over this matter has not died down.

“The SG [Mantashe] is still very open about it, that the president made the wrong instruction about appointing Hlaudi,” one source said.

The same source added that Mantashe argued that the directive to appoint Motsoeneng had affected the public’s confidence in the ruling party. M&G

South Africa – Gauteng ANC wants Ramaphosa as next president

Mail and Guardian

It supports women leaders but believes Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is the best person for the job.

The deputy president of the ANC and the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, is believed by many party faithful to be the best man to be head of state.

As some within the ANC lobby for president Jacob Zuma’s successor to be a woman, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile has openly declared his support for deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to become both the party’s and the country’s next head.

Although Gauteng is not the largest ANC province, it plays a crucial role in the party’s succession battles. Rampahosa is without a definable constituency but has tried to penetrate KwaZulu-Natal – the ANC’s largest province, albeit one that is no longer solidly behind Zuma.

Ramaphosa was not Gauteng’s choice for deputy president at the ANC’s Mangaung national elective conference in 2012, preferring Tokyo Sexwale, but there has since been a change of heart.

Gauteng senior leaders say the province is now trying hard to court Ramaphosa – against the wishes of the so-called Zuma camp.

A Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) member told the Mail & Guardian that, before the country’s polls in May, a faction in the Zuma camp attempted to prevent Ramaphosa from accepting invitations to the province’s election campaign events. They wanted him to establish his credentials in KwaZulu-Natal instead.

But the PEC member also said the province “believed in Cyril”, despite earlier concerns that he was part of the Zuma camp. Gauteng’s attempt to embrace Ramaphosa was confirmed by Mashatile this week.

He was speaking a week after ANC Women’s League national executive committee member and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told the M&G she will support African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or ANC chair Baleka Mbete for the ANC’s top position in 2017.

Some women’s league branches want Dlamini to replace Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga as league president. Dlamini is keen for the league to discuss a resolution to support a woman president for the country in 2017.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the first choice for many should South Africa gain its first woman president.

The issue of a female head of state has received support in some ANC structures since Zuma said in April that the country is ready to be led by a woman, although some in the ANC have interpreted the suggestion as a strategy by Zuma and his supporters to block Ramaphosa from succeeding him.

This week, Mashatile said his province will throw its support behind Ramaphosa to become the next president. “I know in Gauteng, as things stand, there is a lot of support for the deputy president. We see him [Ramaphosa] as a potential future president. If there is a view that it should be someone else, we should be convinced about the appropriateness of such.

“We do support women leaders, but in a situation where you have a deputy president who is available and you want someone else, you will have to engage us,” said Mashatile.

Factional battles
A senior women’s league member said the problem is that the league never makes decisions based on principle, but is always caught up in the ANC’s factional battles. That is why there was no solid league position prior to the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane elective conference, with some supporting Kgalema Motlanthe for ANC deputy president while others backed Dlamini-Zuma.

The highly placed women’s league member said the only way the body could show the courage of its convictions would be to do some work on the ground and not merely lobby through the media.

The M&G this week spoke to a number of provincial and national alliance leaders on the matter of succession.

“It’s fine if national leadership raised the issue, but with us we will only discuss it when we are there [the 2017 conference],” said Sihle Zikalala, the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary.

Although Zikalala did not want to comment on Dlamini-Zuma, he was firm in his support for Ramaphosa if he were to lead the party come 2017. “He is a leader of the ANC; he can lead the organisation.”

Healthy debate
ANC Free State secretary William Bulwana said it is healthy for the organisation that Dlamini started the debate about a woman president. “It triggers debate. I don’t see any wrong, really,” he told the M&G.

Declining to be drawn on Ramaphosa’s abilities, saying it would be wrong to “single him out as a person”, he nonetheless spoke glowingly of Dlamini-Zuma. “I think Nkosazana is a very good leader and she has qualities of leadership.”

The party’s Mpumalanga secretary, Lucky Ndinisa, said he agreed with Dlamini on her choice of candidates. “If Bathabile [Dlamini] feels we should support women I won’t have a problem with that, but it is early for us to talk about it,” said Ndinisa. “We need to focus on the resolutions and manifesto of the ANC.”

But Ndinisa also said he holds Ramaphosa in high regard as a leader.

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete is a contender for the presidency.

ANC heavyweight and Minister of Small Business Lindiwe Zulu said it is only a matter of “when” the ANC will have its first female president. “It’s never too soon. It’s up to the women to make it happen and we will be supported by those men who have gone beyond those arguments of ‘are we ready or not?’ It’s up to us.”

Capable person
The ANC Youth League’s national task team co-ordinator, Magasela Mzobe, said Dlamini is brave to have started the debate about a woman leader now. “In principle it is possible: the ANC branches can elect a female, male, gay or straight president any time they identify a capable person,” Mzobe said.

“The only organisation in South Africa that can give South Africa a female president is the ANC. Only the ANC has capable women who are given an opportunity to lead.”

Senzo Mahlangu, general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, said Ramaphosa is the best candidate to replace Zuma. He warned against pushing Dlamini-Zuma or Mbete – both hail from Zuma’s home province – saying it could be seen as tribalism.

“If I were to decide, I would say Cyril. He is not new to politics. He is smart and has a lot of experience as a leader. He is not moved by money or power,” said Mahlangu.

Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian.
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Verashni Pillay is an associate editor at the Mail & Guardian.
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South Africa – is Zuma afraid of poor people at his gate?

City Press

Is Jacob Zuma afraid of the hungry people at his gate?

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge at the launch of the Sidikiwe! campaign in Joburg on Tuesday (April 15 2014). Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

She wonders if President Jacob Zuma fears the hungry people knocking at his gate, former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has said about the R246 million security upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Speaking at the media launch of the Sidikiwe! campaign in Joburg today, she said: “I sometimes ask myself who does he [Zuma] fear in Nkandla? Is it those people knocking on his gate saying: ‘President, we are hungry’?”

Madlala-Routledge was one of three speakers at a press conference geared towards encouraging South Africans to vote “against” the ANC.

“The ANC was the popular people’s movement where the leaders put people first. What do we see now? We see leaders who put themselves first,” she said.

Madlala-Routledge said she joined the campaign out of a deep love for her country and in honour of struggle leaders who “sacrificed their lives”.

“Instead of sitting in your corner and complaining that your government has forgotten us, and indeed they are showing signs that they have forgotten us, go to the polling booth and use your power to express your feelings about those who rule us,” she said.

Madlala-Routledge suggested two ways in which people could exercise this power. The first option was to support smaller parties, which in turn would take away from the majority party.

“If you can’t do this, then you can spoil your ballot. And this is a valid form of expression. It’s not about forgetting about where we come from and the people who have died, it’s about actually remembering that – how many people have died,” she said.

Madlala-Routledge was joined by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, who said South Africans needed to take a stand. “The ANC is no longer a national liberation movement – they are now just another political party,” he said.

He accused the ruling party of ignoring the pleas of the poor and failing to cater to their needs. “Nelson Mandela said that if we as a party [ANC] don’t deliver, then the people have the right to march against us,” he said.

Kasrils emphasised the Sidikiwe! campaign as a movement that not only encouraged voters to spoil their votes, but that encouraged individuals to vote against corrupt governance.

The campaign has been criticised for encouraging spoilt votes, which will inevitably benefit the ruling party. Kasrils acknowledged the criticism, but argued that a loss in voters to the ANC by 3% or 4% due to spoilt votes would “signal that people are fed up”.

“Vote ‘no’ against corruption and patronage,” he said. Kasrils said, as a struggle elder, he had reached a crossroads – where it felt incorrect for him to turn a blind eye to what was happening in South Africa. Although Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge had been labelled conspirators and subversive, Kasrils said their aim was to aid democracy. “We need to speak up, we can’t be walking around with rose-tinted spectacles,” he said. City Press

South Africa – security cluster continues attempts to derail Nkandla report

Mail and GuardianAspects of Thuli Madonsela’s report on upgrades to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home are confusing and need clarity, say security cluster ministers.

The Cabinet ministers in the security cluster who conducted their own investigation into the Nkandla security upgrades released a statement on Tuesday morning saying they were seeking “clarity” about certain aspects of public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report.

“We have sought clarity on some areas which we believe are confusing and became evident in our detailed reading of the report,” reads the statement. “The next step is for the office of the public protector to respond, after which we will be able to make a more informed decision on the way forward.”

The ministers emphasised their respect for the public protector’s office but said they were within their rights to seek clarity. Government has faced criticism for placing pressure on Madonsela’s office, which should be independent as a chapter nine institution. The security cluster in particular were involved in a damaging court battle with her office to prevent the release of the report, and further pressures on her office were detailed in her report.

Both the Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega tried to institute an investigation involving Madonsela’s office about leaks from her provisional report to the Mail & Guardian. Madonsela noted the incident in pages 103 to 106 of her “Secure in Comfort” report.

She at the time informed both Phiyega and Cwele that neither her nor her staff would be party to either investigations, adding that it created uneasiness in her office.

“The investigations by the minister of state security and the national commissioner of the SAPS [South African Police Service] caused discomfort among the members of the investigation team, who perceived it to be aimed at intimidating and victimising them and me,” she said in one damning section of the report. “My team and I were especially offended by insinuations that the leak originated from my office and that I had personally admitted to the leak.”‘

Increasing political pressure
Concerns also mounted before the release of the report of increasing political pressure being placed on Madonsela’s office.

Veiled threats were made at the time over the timing of the report’s release, with powerful figures demanding it be released earlier so as not to affect upcoming elections. Other government figures investigated by Madonsela in the past came forward to challenge her findings, while others called the report into doubt. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said it would be treated as a political report and, according to claims, the party planned to tell its supporters to ignore the report.

But ministers insisted that no undue pressure was placed on the public protector, when this question was raised after the reports release.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga spoke from her own point of view, saying the public protector needed to develop a “thicker skin”.

“The public protector is free to investigate anything so there should no holy cows. And in return people are free to also defend their rights, so she mustn’t feel too sensitive … They have a right to raise their voice as she has a right to investigate.”

Apply his mind
The security cluster meanwhile added in their Tuesday statement that Madonsela’s office “has an enormous responsibility to ensure its findings are factually accurate and consistent with the law”.

The security cluster ministers include Cwele, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and Correctional Services Minister S’bu Ndebele. Mthethwa was involved in the upgrade and taken to task in Madonsela’s report for poor leadership and failing to “properly” apply his mind when signing the declaration of President Zuma’s Nkandla home as a national key point.

Also on Tuesday, National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu – according to a Beeld report – decided to investigate the Nkandla report before the May 7 elections.

Sisulu decided to set up a multiparty parliamentary committee to consider Madonsela’s report “Secure in Comfort”, the paper reported.

Beeld quoted Democratic Alliance chief whip Watty Watson and Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corne Mulder, who both confirmed that Sisulu would appoint an ad hoc committee.

“The speaker phoned me and told me he planned to set up an ad hoc committee and that he wanted to consult,” said Mulder. “The speaker said the ad hoc committee would have to work morning, noon and night up to the elections on May 7 to get the work done in time … He [Sisulu] said he wanted to complete it before May 6. That means the committee should present a report before then and then the National Assembly should be called upon to consider the report.”

According to parliamentary rules, the speaker needed to consult with political parties before setting up such a committee. – Additional reporting by Sapa

Verashni Pillay is an associate editor at the Mail & Guardian.
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South Africa – ANC must stop protecting Number One!

Mail and Guardian

Editorial: Stop protecting Number One

Cabinet ministers and government officials have been protecting Jacob Zuma since the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference, at the expense of the people.
Editorial: Stop protecting Number One

President Jacob Zuma, aka Number One. (AFP)

“It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that a licence-to-loot situation was created by government,” public protector Thuli Madonsela argued in her carefully delivered presentation on the Nkandla report. Madonsela hammered nail after nail into the series of ­fictions produced by President Jacob Zuma’s administration about the upgrading of his private residence at Nkandla.

The intention of this fictional narrative has been to establish complete impunity for Number One by delegitimising any institution that finds against the president.

The road to Nkandla meanders through a broken independent prosecutorial authority, a divided judiciary and a haemorrhaging public purse.

It began in 2007 when Zuma, backed by Thabo Mbeki’s enemies, emerged victorious at the ANC’s Polokwane conference. At Zuma’s first press conference as ANC president, it seemed even his closest allies thought him unlikely to impress. ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa was chief baby-sitter and protector, fielding many questions, especially those related to the economy, while Zuma looked on. What we saw that day would come to define his presidency.

Days later the Scorpions recharged Zuma with corruption, in one of the crime-busting unit’s last acts.  Zuma and his “coalition of the wounded” had already pushed for the Scorpions to be disbanded, and Parliament soon moved to do exactly that.

The premiers of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape were purged and Mbeki himself was “recalled” in September 2008, ostensibly “to heal and unite the African National Congress”. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe described the move as a way of dealing with high court Judge Chris Nicholson’s ruling that Mbeki may have been involved in a political conspiracy against Zuma.

With Zuma the ANC’s presidential candidate in the 2009 election, moves to protect him went into top gear. “Spy tapes” leaked to Zuma’s legal team were used to push the National Prosecuting Authority to drop serious charges against him. Days before the poll, the NPA’s acting head – against the advice of two senior counsel and the NPA team itself – dropped the charges.

The tapes detailed conversations in 2007 between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and other players, including former prosecutions chief Bulelani Ngcuka, then justice minister Brigitte Mabandla and Mbeki himself. The tapes purportedly showed McCarthy’s willingness to “manipulate” the timing of the charges against Zuma, based on how this might affect Mbeki’s chances in the leadership contest at Polokwane.

Zuma duly became South Africa’s fourth democratic president. But the “spy tapes” have not gone away. A high court judge ruled last year that the NPA should hand them over, but the government appealed. The matter is now before the Supreme Court of Appeal, which is expected to make a ruling only later this year – by which time Zuma will probably be serving a second term. Given past experience, the battle to protect Number One is likely to continue.

The obsessive drive to shield him has left a woeful trail of destruction. The intelligence service is in a shambles, the government has resorted to apartheid-era legislation and a “secrecy Bill”, which will have the further implication of insulating the country’s first citizen.

The judiciary and the judicial selection process have also been compromised. Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe was accused by Pius Langa’s Constitutional Court of attempting to influence judges in Zuma’s favour. This set senior judges against each other, and the Judicial Service Commission’s probe into the matter drags on to this day. This ugly battle has damaged the judiciary’s credibility and raised questions about the integrity of some of our top judges.

As Zuma has consolidated his power, and as his family and cronies have benefited from his presidency, he has appointed weak or compromised figures to head key organs of state. It seems no one of independence is allowed to hold key positions in law enforcement agencies; as a result, these institutions are barely able to do their job of pursuing criminals.

Which brings us to Nkandla – a monument to squandered resources and a symbol of everything that is wrong with South Africa under Zuma.

Cabinet ministers and government officials have fallen over themselves to protect Number One at any cost. They have used secrecy laws to block information. They have used the device of ministerial inquiries to contain damage to the presidency. They have vilified the constitutionally enshrined office of the public protector. They have noisily attacked media scarecrows. Government time, energy and resources have been spent trying to save Zuma and his acolytes from public scrutiny.

The ANC took a momentous decision in September 2008 when it “recalled” a president. Today, the ANC could do the same – or at least ensure Zuma is not the party’s presidential candidate in May and spare the country impeachment proceedings. Instead of protecting him, the ANC needs to put the country and its people first. It should support and strengthen bodies such as the public protector, rather than undermining them, and should bolster the independence of the judiciary and the criminal justice system.

Given the massive challenges facing South Africa, we cannot afford another five years of a bloated and self-serving administration. The ­protection and enrichment of one man, his family and cronies cannot be a state priority.

It is time to protect all of South Africa’s people, not only Number One.  M&G

South Africa – Malema says Zuma should be arrested for stealing from the poor

Mail and Guardian

Julius Malema told his supporters in the North West that Jacob Zuma should be arrested for stealing from the poor.

A file photograph of EFF leader Julius Malema. (Gallo)

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema criticised President Jacob Zuma at a rally in Montshioa near Mahikeng on Saturday, saying he should be arrested for “stealing from the poor”.

Malema told the rally that Zuma was enjoying a luxurious life while poor people were living in poverty.

“Zuma must be arrested for stealing from the poor. Zuma must rot in jail … Zuma does belong among us,” said Malema.

He said Zuma had stolen R1-million to build a chicken run at his homestead in Nkandla and used over R2-million to build a swimming pool.

“Zuma will be arrested soon … I am going to meet the police on Monday to give them evidence that Zuma stole from the poor. We have opened a criminal case against him in Pretoria.”

Public protector Thuli Madonsela said in her report released on March 19 that Zuma had unduly benefited from “exorbitant” upgrades to his Nkandla home and must pay back a reasonable portion of the costs to the state.

At the rally on Saturday, Malema said corrupt people would not be allowed to join the EFF.

“You are not going to wear a red beret if you are corrupt. You do not belong to the EFF if you are corrupt,” Malema said to the applause.

He denied that he was as equally corrupt as Zuma.

“I was arrested for speaking the truth. I was charged for stealing from the state … I was never employed by government.”

‘Bring back Mangope’

He told the crowd that during his week-long visit to the area residents had expressed a desire to bring back the Bophuthatswana administration of Lucas Mangope.

“People are saying they did not like Mangope for suppressing politics but at least he was able to provide basic service and employment.”

Malema said infrastructure in the North West had collapsed since 1994.

“They [the ANC government] inherited solid infrastructure from Mangope. Mahikeng was once a city. Today it is a dumping centre. Streets are riddled with potholes as big as a swimming pool in Nkandla.”

He said the ANC government was worse than the apartheid regime.

“They built you RDP houses that collapse after the handing over ceremony. The house literally follows them after the handover,” he said to laughter from the crowd.

“They gave you taps, not water. They installed electric cable in your houses and not electricity. This is not a good story. It is a suffering story.”

Malema defended the house the EFF built for a woman in Nkandla, near Zuma’s home.

“That house was build out of good will of the people … do not compare us to the government. The fact is that the dignity of that woman has been restored by the EFF.”

He said repairs were being done to fix defects on the house, which was reported to be falling apart.

‘Cannot postpone hunger’

Provincial chairperson Alfred Motsi said the EFF was ready to take over the North West with 65% of the vote.

“It is your responsibility to ensure that. How long are we going to postpone the suffering of our people. You cannot postpone hunger,” Motsi said.

Hundreds of party members braved the scorching sun to hear Malema speak and gave him a hero’s welcome when he arrived.

The EFF promised an accountable, people-driven government that was accessible to everyone.

The party also promised a state regulated minimum wage of R4 500 for all workers, with mineworkers being promised a minimum salary of R12 500.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the platinum mines in Rustenburg and Northam downed tools on January 23 and are demanding a salary of R12 500. – Sapa  M&G

South Africa – damning nature of Nkandla report

Daily Maverick

HANNIBAL ELECTOR: An uncontrolled creep — Jacob Zuma, busted by Thuli Madonsela

    • Richard Poplak


Surprise! Jacob Zuma wielded his signature lack of integrity and lack of competence in order to spend R246 million on a home renovation. Which would be hilarious if you hadn’t paid for it. RICHARD POPLAK sat in on the release of Thuli Madonsela’s “Secure in Comfort” report. Its findings are devastating, even if the results will be benign.

In a review of the non-fiction writer Janet Malcolm’s recent story collection, Forty-One False Starts, Gideon Lewis-Kraus wrote that “Malcolm has always seen rooms as psychological stages, full of props.” One wonders, then, what Malcolm would make of the image on the frontispiece of a document called, “Secure in Comfort: Report on an investigation into allegations of impropriety and unethical conduct relating to the installation and implementation of security measures by the Department of Public Works at and in respect of the private residence of President Jacob Zuma at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Above this necessarily poetry-less title squats an image of a Zulu kraal that could function as an exclusive game park in a science fiction movie—one expects to see unicorn zebras with lasers for eyes stalking the perimeter fence. Instead, dozens of thatch-roofed structures huddle in languid groups, interrupted by a pool, a cattle-kraal, an amphitheatre, a helipad, and several late-Roman Empire adornments.

What would Malcolm make of the man who, according to “Secure in Comfort”, used public funds to build this expression of his id and ego? Perhaps she would consider him a typical president of a typical kleptocracy—the Ukrainians who walked through Victor Yanukovych’s blinged-up, taxpayer-funded shag pad would certainly agree. Perhaps she would identify his handiwork as another example of the Big Man mentality—the need for a chump to behave like a Chief, and use the money belonging to those he ostensibly leads to create an architectural manifestation of his power and status. Maybe she’d just see the homestead of a tasteless asshole with access to a bottomless supply of money, and no access to a Woolworths lifestyle magazine.

Regardless, the nature of non-fiction storytelling has always been Malcolm’s beat—principally, that there is no such thing as a story that demands to be told in one way, in the right way. The slant of the story reveals the soul of the author, and not some granite factual underpinning. Likewise, I suspect that in the coming days, “Secure in Comfort” will prove to be one of the more malleable documents in South Africa’s malleable history—pushed and pulled and yanked like the last piece of toffee at a nursery school graduation party. Thuli Madonsela, the Public Protector who was responsible for compiling the report, surely sees it as a devastating indictment of Jacob Zuma’s behaviour. The government, on the other hand, sees it as toilet paper. The ANC refuses to see it at all. And whether it will have any impact on our collective future is a question for those unicorn zebras to answer.

In other words, we are well into the stage of this country when there are no such things as facts—when there is nothing to agree upon, no underpinning, no centre. Let us merely say that “Secure in Comfort”—and spend a moment with that title, loll it around in your mind for just a second—is full of findings. Pounded into the hardscrabble earth of rural KZN, then, we find a president’s homestead that was legally in need of a security upgrade. (In August of 2010, it was deemed a National Key Point, and anyone who owns a National Key Point is responsible for securing it. Therefore, Zuma was on the hook for ringing Nkandla with a fence and some cameras, which the Minister of Public Works was legally entitled to front him the $ for).

Over the course of several years, Zuma—or rather a toxic admixture of sycophants, henchmen, Guptas and taxpayers—have dropped a mind-blowing R246 million on the “upgrades”. The report, 433 pages of not-so-awesomeness, physically flops open on page 188, which reveals a graph that rips through all that remains of this country’s soul. Here, we see a continuum of five presidents, beginning with P.W. Botha and ending with Jacob Zuma, and a rendering of how much their respective upgrades have cost. First of all, it’s a bummer to see a scumbag like Botha used as precedent for the current leader of a free Mzansi, but hey—one Commander in Thief is as good as another. Second of all, Zuma’s graph is an inestimable number of times larger than Botha’s when the latter’s is adjusted for inflation. On the page, the rendering looks as priapic and swaggering as Zuma himself, or like a huge middle finger pointed at the South African taxpayer in lieu of a thank-you note.

But Jesus, the stupidity! It takes a village to build a village, and Zuma has acquired a troop of drooling morons in order to facilitate his worst instincts. Take the architect, Minenhle Makhanya, who in a classic case of conflict of interest was working for both the State as a security upgrader, and for Zuma as a home improver. Thing is, while he knew how to overcharge for wallpaper and towel racks, he knew absolutely nothing about fencing. Never should have been there, never should have been hired. According to the report, “There is no evidence that Mr Makhanya had any experience in the design of security related projects. The argument presented that being an architect qualifies him to design security installations has the same implication as arguing that just because I’m a lawyer I’m an expert at any area of the law. That cannot be logical.” When Thuli Madonsela, who most resembles Data from Star Trek: Next Generation, is driven to drollness, you know the country is fucked.

Madonsela notes how none of the institutions that have been created to care for South Africans cared how much money was being blown on Nkandla—not the Department of Defence, not the South African Police Service, not the Department of Public Works. According to the Public Protector, “they took no interest in the extent and outrageous escalation of the cost of the Nkandla Project.”

And scheme this: “It has already been indicated that no specific documents were provided that expressly authorise the building of a clinic.” Or this: “It is obvious that the state has made a major contribution to the President’s estate at the expense of the taxpayer.” Or this: “Clearly, items such as the Visitor’s Centre, swimming pool and terrace, amphitheatre, elaborate paved roads, terraces and walkways and the building of the kraal, with an aesthetically pleasing structure, a culvert with a remote controlled gate and chicken run, added substantial value to the property”.

Chickens wielding remote controls? Yes, South Africans, Welcome to Nkandla.

You will find in this document the usual examples of crooked tendering, or non-tendering, and much cronyism and straight-up idiocy. No plans for the design were ever handed in to the DPW, which has a Scrutiny Committee to deal with exactly this sort of thing. Bulletproof glass cost R3 million when it didn’t need to; no one asked for competing bids on R3 million-worth of lifts. Zuma lied to Parliament about taking out a mortgage to pay for some of the joint; he didn’t bitch about shoddy work in “a timely manner”, and therefore, “the president allowed or caused extensive and excessive upgrades that go beyond necessary security measures to his private residence, at state expense.” The man doesn’t just blow our money illegally, he is incapable of saving a few of the bucks he is not entitled to blow.

So, what’s next? Helen Zille’s official opposition has already put in motion an impeachment process, but it’s no real mystery what will happen to the report. In the case of the Public Protector’s office, the person in charge of putting recommendations into effect is—wait for it—the president! Madonsela has told him that he has to pay back a reasonable portion of the overages, which means his handlers will be writing a cheque. She’s told him to discipline his ministers, which means less than nothing in this country. She’s provided his enemies with a cudgel, but he doesn’t seem to notice their beatings.

But Madonsela has certainly nailed Zuma to history’s grimiest post—he will be forever remembered as a thief, a fool, and a Zulu man who was incapable of managing the affairs of his kraal. Even in Janet Malcolm’s factless world, where the defenders of Truth are mere storytellers, Jacob Zuma will not escape his fate as one of this country’s more reprehensible figures. And Nkandla will be the crown he wears as he slithers into historical ignominy. DM

Photo: Thuli Madonsela, Jacob Zuma.