President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to remember the late Black Consciousness Movement leader Stephen Bantu Biko.

In The News Opinion South Africa

Part 1. Making sense of a dishonest Zuma must go campaign

Is it true that the SA masses and the ANC want Zuma gone?




In the aftermath of ANC’s 54th Conference with its outcomes of a Cyril Ramaphosa presidency the calls for Zuma’s recall from SA presidency are intensified. While conference sent a clear signal on unity and it agreed on a set of core policies for implementation the daily news focus on the removal of the ANC president. Despite the conference outcomes and conscious attempts at fostering unity, no sooner has conference concluded when the calls for Zuma recall resurfaced from orchestrated quarters. It appears some segments of the media world appear purely dedicated to this as a campaign.




In attempting to make sense of this call for a recall, we will ask is it true that the SA masses wants Zuma gone, who really wants him gone, what is used as the looming threat and what makes for illogical reasons for this recall. We will conclude with the actual motive.




Is it true the masses want Zuma gone?




At first glance one may be deceived to assume the entire nation is calling for the recall of the President. Someone once noted if you arrive in SA and read the various print media you would assume they all have the same editor. The claim is made, the people have spoken, and they want Zuma removed. This untested claim was even made by the late stalwart Ahmed Kathrada who re-echoed this claim ‘the people have spoken’ at a time when we saw some failed marches orchestrated at getting Zuma removed.




Contrary to what we are fed in daily loads, the facts are, Jacob Zuma was elected as president of South Africa in both 2009 and 2014 by the masses that secured the ANC respectively 65,9 and 62,2% percentages of the overall vote for the designated periods. When Mbeki, was recalled, an act he did not agree with, he opted not to take immediate control but wanted South Africa to elect him, which it did. Despite the claims levelled against him, he stood and was elected to lead SA not once but twice, while the chattering class objected then as they do now.




At another level, did the recent concluded conference engage this subject of Zuma recall? We know an attempt was made but it died a natural death since it was never going to stand the test in conference. Conference therefore never entertained or decided at any point on Zuma removal that could justify attempts to do so with conference as the pretext.




When the claim therefore is made of Zuma must go it cannot be corroborated by a claim of the masses as in support of it, neither can a claim of conference be made to justify it. To therefore argue that the masses want him gone is to confuse a public as the true general public in utter disrespect of the conscious choice of having him as SA president. To also in backhand sense attempt to make the case that the 54th conference engaged the topic is to be deceiving.




Who really wants Zuma gone?




Instead of a necessary and proper honest analysis of the ANC with its known conflicting challenges at both organisational and government levels, it has become convenient to pin the ANC failures on a person, Jacob Zuma.




Since we know there is no evidence to claim the masses wants Zuma gone, we must ask, who then wants him recalled? Those who want Zuma recalled are found both in and outside the ANC. Those who are in the ANC again are made up of some who still have a serious 2008 hangover for them recalling Zuma will serve as the only means of correcting a Mbeki recall. This group is reconfigured in some veterans, academics, clergy, BEE beneficiaries, interesting foundations and a new breed footprint of civil society formations like SAVE-SA and the crossbreed of opposition parties.




The 2007 Polokwane and 2008 revenge group knows that recalling Zuma will do nothing to the irrevocable historical reality of a Mbeki’s recall, they also know how destructive this recall was to the organisation and the ANC in governance. They are equally aware that a recall of Zuma will have the very same ramifications if not worse, yet common sense and the overall interest of the ANC do not count since made-up minds are not fazed it appears because all that matter is to get revenge.




There are also those that served with Zuma, who are not necessarily respected by the aforementioned group. These make up those who are blamed for what the ANC has become over the last 10 years, at least seen from the vantage point of the Polokwane losers. Some in cheapness of personal political and economic interest now want to sound redeemed as the new solution for the ANC, when they failed on many levels in leading the ANC to unity in uphold of order and turned a blind eye for many ills that served factional agendas. They today claim the biggest challenge facing the governing party is to save its reputation and image a reputation understood as synonymous with corruption. This is used as a means to point at Zuma as the reason for this claims claim of corruption.




On the other side of the spectrum, perhaps not so really other side since it is difficult to distinguish between some in the ANC and those of the opposition. It is common knowledge that the single prominent political agenda of the opposition parties as led by the DA since 2009 remains the removal of Zuma. At first Helen Zille led the charge until she handed it over to Lindiwe Mazibuko who for a brief stint with every fibre in her bone advanced this agenda.




Mmusi Maimane’s leadership came birthed with this as single aim, and he still continues. The EFF in ontology has the removal of Zuma as its reason for existence; we therefore know it would be obsolete once this goal is attained or Zuma leaves the political stage. One may add to this the ever-echoing singular voices of Mosiua Lekota and Bantu Holomisa of COPE and UDM respectively. The eight failed motions confirmed this central theme for the opposition. We therefore know the Opposition wants Zuma gone not from today the eight failed motions confirm this as their fundamental campaign. They have spent unlimited resources on this aim.



Not to be undone, we have seen a very disturbing emerging trend of a lusty judiciary that have also entered the fray in aiding this campaign. To varying degrees certain judges have shown personal appetite to stretch the subjective nature of law as pliable tool for their personal political agendas in playing their role to dislodge a sitting president.




Business South Africa otherwise best defined as white business interest regardless of the black faces as its official spokespersons also wants Zuma gone. The unequal economy does not bother them at all; its conscious truculence not to transform poses no challenge to its call. Business in his season has an unholy alliance with organised labour the latter have long mastered the art of the business of unionism and they too wants Zuma gone.




Regardless to how loud and heavily sponsored the call for a Zuma recall may ring be it from a sponsored media front page, academic opinion piece, corporate SA, pseudo civil society formations, high heeled foundations, hate-filled 2008 revenge seekers, leaders of COSATU or a obsolete SACP leadership these collectively do not represent the masses but an empowered small elite group that has the luxury of access who shouts in defence of their personal interest in this untransformed economy, Zuma must go.




What is the convenient looming threat?




The campaign for a Zuma removal is anchored on an anticipated 2019 elections outcomes and loss. The ANC is threatened of an imminent death, those who lead the charge miss no opportunity to eulogise the ANC’s obituary with a final 2019 date. The threat is made should the ANC not recall Zuma it will suffer an embarrassing defeat in the 2019. It is even believed in some circles that the recalling of Zuma will naturally translate to an ANC that is supported up to a two third majority come 2019. Unfortunately this claim, cannot tell us who in the opposition party stands to gain from this predicted ANC defeat. Simply because there is no empirical evidence that any of the opposition parties stands to gain more votes. We can easily analyse any of them and find them weaker than the ANC.




What about, if the ANC fails to attain its now standard 62% come 2019, it may purely be because of the lack of grasping and executing the core issues that society wants addressed which it hitherto has failed despite talking about them. Could it simply be due to the ANC taking for granted those who vote for it and trust it to lead?




The narrative of Zuma blame in ANC loss, as draped in 2016 Municipal election Metro losses is not honest and therefore fallacious in departure. It at best attests an escape for collective owning up to the failures of an organisation entrusted in political power that failed to make that political power count, instead opting appease the interests of apartheid and colonial benefactors in claim of protecting a sophisticated economy.




A 2019, loss is a scare tactic that really was birthed by the opposition and later adopted by some in the ANC for their own self-interest campaigns. Off course the ANC must be concerned not to lose its mandate as entrusted to lead. However it cannot find an ease of comfort escape to apportion the blame on one man whom it believes if recall will automatically fix the manifold challenges of the ANC.




It is a dishonest campaign driven by illogic that finds easy comfort in a recall.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Clyde Ramalaine – Columnist and Analyst
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine is an ordained and licensed member of the SA and USA clergy with over 25 years of service as a practicing theologian. Ramalaine’s incisive political analysis and commentary on a variety of issues has appeared regularly in most SA newspapers since 2010.
His work continues, among others, to appear in The Thinker, the leading Pan African Journal for thought leaders. He participates in panel discussions on subjects of his interest, and has appeared on SABC and ANN7 platforms, among others.
A published author including annual anthologies of political commentary and a volume of poetry named Gekraakte Blare.
He holds a BTH (Hons-Status) with double majors Systematic Theology and Sociology from the University of Western Cape (UWC).
He also earned a MA Theology (Systematic Theology) Cum Laude from North West University (NWU). His dissertation “Black Identity and experience in Black Theology: A Critical Assessment” is considered a ground-breaking and very relevant work in Black Theology. In such, he successfully questioned the usage of the epithet ‘black’ from a socio -historical and theological perspective.
He serves as management consultant on strategy design, analysis, and communication services for the last 22 years with serving clients in both private and public sector domains.
Analyst for Weekly Xpose.

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