The release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report a week ago was hailed by some as grist for the mill to remove President Jacob Zuma.
Much of what the report contained had been aired at some point in various media. So not all of it was breathtaking in its originality.
But coming from Madonsela’s pen, there was a sort of affirmation of what was already public knowledge. It had the ring of an endorsement, given her reputation built up over seven years of independent investigation.
Her findings did yield a few juicy titbits, which in one instance prompted the amusing search for a curious ally – the now infamous Saxonwold shebeen – to explain Eskom boss Brian Molefe’s excessive contact with the Guptas.
Suddenly, the report that was too hot to handle for parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete was out in the open for all to see. To say it lifted the national mood would not be a stretch. It provided much needed levity, even hope.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane was quick to cotton onto this newfound national jollity, declaring a fresh attempt to pass a motion of no confidence in Zuma, a Hail Mary pass that would rely on the president’s ANC detractors doing the honourable thing.
Surely, though, Maimane knew the chances of succeeding were slim. As it was, the ANC used its superior majority to thwart the motion in parliament yesterday.
Already, on Wednesday, the party’s national working committee said it was standing behind Zuma. Don’t be too fooled by this show of unity – the ANC is in a mess.
But whatever their individual allegiances to Zuma, there is no way the party would countenance his removal by the opposition. As political commentator Justice Malala said at a business breakfast in Port Elizabeth yesterday, if Zuma goes, it will be on the ANC’s terms.
Until then, the pressure will continue to mount. The rifts will grow and the party’s centre will destabilise further, which for opposition parties is the best probable outcome for now.