Be Careful Cyril: Zuma Is Not A Dead Snake

PICTURE: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

McKenzie seems to know who is on the list. He implies that former MK commander Siphiwe Nyanda, who has also called for Zuma’s recall, was apartheid spy. It would not come as a surprise if allegations surface that Ramaphosa or anyone in his circle was also apartheid spy. It is part of a plan to enemise them, writes MOLIFI TSHABALALA

I have often argued that it will take more than a leadership change for the ANC to self-correct. The leadership change has happened, but without a proper diagnosis of challenges facing the party and a requisite crop of leaders to address them.

In his diagnostic reports – presented in his capacity as secretary-general, a position he held for two consecutive terms – ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe just scratched the surface, which essentially dispels a notion that the ANC has a capacity to self-correct. Consequently, the status quo remains largely unchanged.

Yet, following Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as new ANC president, ANC veteran Sydney Mofumadi called on the party to recall Jacob Zuma as South African president. Not to be outdone, renowned Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and ANC stalwarts and veterans made the same call.

READ: ANC NEC Faces Pressure As Calls For Zuma To Step Down Mounts

It would be foolhardy of Ramaphosa to push for Zuma’s recall without control of the top-five and the national executive committee (NEC), within both of which a factional scale of power is fairly balanced. Undoubtedly, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, as well as other Gupta-aligned NEC members, such as ANCWL President Bathabile Dlamini, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Mosebenzi Zwane, will vehemently oppose a motion to recall him. If the motion fails, Ramaphosa will become a lame duck president.

Most importantly, Ramaphosa should not push for Zuma’s recall without control of the security services, especially the intelligence services. Although Zuma has lost all his legal battles, he is not a dead snake, as he once described his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki. His survivalist strategy lies in the intelligence services – that is, dirty files he has on his comrades cum foes, as Dlamini alluded to while speaking at his annual Christmas event in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

In part, Gayton McKenzie reveals the survivalist strategy in the book Kill Zuma By Any Means Possible. As I read the book, which takes a form of intelligence report to ‘enemise’ Ramaphosa and anyone who has called for Zuma’s recall or has any association with businessman Johan Rupert, a scrimmage waged by the author himself and his Gupta-aligned pseudo-revolutionaries, two things came to mind.

First, former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli’s revelation that Mbeki believed certain parts of the Browse Mole Report, which alleged a plot by elements within the security and intelligence services to subvert the state apparatus in order to advance Zuma’s presidency. The difficulty he had, though, “was that the report intertwined fact with fiction,” according to Pikoli.

I also believe certain parts of McKenzie’s book and have some difficulties with others. His revelation that only Zuma, Joe Nhlanhla, Oliver Tambo, and Nelson Mandela knew about a list of ANC members who were apartheid spies may be true. For example, Mbeki would not have appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate whether former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka was apartheid spy if he knows who is on the list.

The allegation surfaced after Ngcuka had announced that the state had a prima facie case of corruption and fraud against Zuma, but he decided not to prosecute him, claiming that it is unwinnable. Nevertheless, the inquiry exonerated Ngcuka.

McKenzie seems to know who is on the list. He implies that former MK commander Siphiwe Nyanda, who has also called for Zuma’s recall, was apartheid spy. It would not come as a surprise if allegations surface that Ramaphosa or anyone in his circle was also apartheid spy. It is part of a plan to enemise them.

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Second, the question: “How did McKenzie get hold of classified information?” He claims to have gotten the information about a plot to assassinate Zuma from someone he met in prison. Perhaps, one should remind or tell him about the 16th U.S. President Abrahams Lincoln’s legendary quote: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

In 2013, calling on the NPA to charge the Guptas for landing a private plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, EFF leader Julius Malema said Zuma “discusses sensitive government and ANC decisions with the Guptas.” If indeed he does, what would prevent him from doing the same with McKenzie to enemise Ramaphosa in favour of Dlamini-Zuma for ANC presidency? More so, given that a use of fake intelligence report to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister has discredited him. Therefore, a fake intelligence report against Ramaphosa would not have worked.

In the book, Eight Days in September, Frank Chikane says: “I have … seen the frightening spectre of factions within the party battling to control or corrupt elements of the intelligence services to ensure that they served their party factions or individuals, rather than the security interests of the state and people of South Africa.”

If Ramaphosa replaces Zuma as South African president, he should appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the rot at the State Security Agency (SSA), as detailed in Jacques Pauw’s book – The President’s Keepers, and how did McKenzie get hold of classified information. In addition, the inquiry should investigate a Russian hand in our body politic.

If Russia could hack the U.S. presidential election and propel Donald Trump to power, what is South Africa with not only the politically compromised, but also the poorest intelligence services in the world? The U.S. has advanced and sophisticated intelligence services to detect a threat to its economic interests and citizens virtually everywhere in the world.

READ: Seven Reasons Why Dlamini-Zuma Lost ANC President

Republican Senator John McCain has red-flagged Russian President Vladimir Putin as a global security threat. “I think he is the premier and most important threat, more than Isis,” said McCain, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

It would emerge during the inquiry who has hacked Ramaphosa’s email accounts and leaked his emails on extramarital affairs to Weekly Xposé, a fake news site owned by Kenny Kunene, and Steve Motale, a Sunday Independent editor, both of whom are McKenzie’s friends. The trio, the Guptas, and Zuma and his faction, and BLF chief anarchist Andile Mngxitama pose a national security threat.

We are in a situation that Chikane, who has operated at a ‘top secret’ level as chairperson and secretary of the National Security Council (NSC), described over the past five years. “The reality is that these elements could corrupt our intelligence services to an extent that foreign entities or their agents or national proxies could take over government,” he wrote.

Molifi Tshabalala is an independent political analyst.

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