Justice Malala | Why is Zuma prominent?

It is a mere 2½ months since President Cyril Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership contest last year. His victory was heart-stoppingly slim – he gained just 179 votes more than his opponent Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The new president’s support in the party’s national executive committee was 42 out of the 80 seats.

In the short time since then, Ramaphosa has fired Jacob Zuma.

He has weeded out the rot in the Eskom board and parts of its executive.

He has cleaned out the cabinet, with ministerial incumbents gone and a credible new finance minister, mining minister and public enterprises minister installed.

Some public servants have been emboldened to reflect on their jobs and do the right thing.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit has started going after the Gupta family gang and some of its associates.

ANC members of parliament, for long silent as church mice while their country burnt, are finally asking some meaningful questions about governance.

The Ramaphosa term at the helm of the ANC has come nowhere close to doing everything it needs to do.

Yet everything Ramaphosa has said and done is a categoric and total repudiation of the Jacob Zuma years.

If one were to categorise it, one would say it is almost as if Ramaphosa wanted to say the ANC has been lost for 10 years and it is now time to reset it to its true north.

It is therefore extraordinary that the ANC deployed Zuma to canvass support and encourage its members to register to vote for it in next year’s election.

On Saturday, Zuma was in his hometown Nkandla, then on a walkabout and blitz at the Esikhawini Shopping Centre and then off to Ethekwini Region in KwaZulu-Natal.

As he meets and greets ANC members, it would be opportune for them to reflect on a few things.

If Zuma’s proxy, Dlamini-Zuma, had won in December then Zuma himself would be president today. That means there would be no credible judicial inquiry into state capture, and that things would be pretty much as they were on December 16 last year.

Mosebenzi Zwane, a man who lied for the Guptas with enthusiasm, would still be mineral resources minister.

Malusi Gigaba, a man who has been at the epicentre of installing Gupta stooges into state-owned enterprises as far back as 2011, would still be finance minister.

Des van Rooyen, who alongside Zwane and others took instruction from the Guptas while being wined and dined by them in Dubai, would be running local government.

The entire rot would still be in place and running smoothly. The Guptas would have bought themselves an extension to loot parastatals and departments. Zuma’s rot is everywhere. Think of parliament this week. Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts will hear from the Hawks on Gupta-linked cases and the portfolio committee on public enterprises will quiz Gigaba, the notorious Dudu Myeni (if she pitches up) and the Gupta brothers and their messenger Duduzane Zuma on state capture.

The Guptas’ illicit financial flows will be debated by the standing committee on finance.

Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on mineral resources will discuss Zwane’s involvement in state capture.

Everything leads in one direction – to the fact that Zuma handed the state over to the Guptas.

And if the change within the ANC had not happened in December then this Zuma-led outrage would have continued. We would have been well on our way to a failed state.

Why is the ANC using this man as a poster boy for its election campaign? The truth is that the tentacles of the Zuma-Gupta administration are still deep in the Ramaphosa ANC and in our government.

Within the security and intelligence services, Zuma’s cronies are still working away for their paymasters.

After the Hawks’ attempts to intimidate Pravin Gordhan a year and a half ago, for example, those elements within the Hawks are after Ivan Pillay and others. At the National Prosecuting Authority, action against the Guptas is extra slow – all because Shaun Abrahams is still in charge.

The Ramaphosa ANC is an unfinished painting. The Zuma ANC is still capable of unleashing chaos.

That’s why Zuma is still around. It stinks.

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