If Zuma Becomes Life President, There Won’t Be a Shower Afterwards

Notwithstanding arguments that the Western Cape government could have pre-empted the water crisis (allowing Premier Helen Zille the dignity of her daily shower), we must wonder whether Showerhead-appointed office-bearers would miss daily splashes if their constituents had water crises.  The answer to that is a no that strongly reeks of a third Zuma term.

The ANC’s elective conference could be postponed to let the party regroup regarding the KZN PEC, delaying the end of Zuma’s ANC presidency.  The party could also solve its factionalism the way the IFP keeps a lid on its succession issues — by not changing its leader.  Would Parliament remain above the fray, or would it also vote to change the Constitution and sanction a third Zuma term?

ANC MPs couldn’t stop sinking that low if they were thrown a secret ballot to pull themselves up with.  The DA got 99 problems, but that thief ain’t one.  And the EFF is fighting two enemies who have more a vested interest ganging up on it than in joining it.

At the end of its policy conference, the ANC dished up race-neutral descriptions of an economy cartelised by “monopoly capital”, showing that though Julius Malema EFF-ectively shaped the discourse on inequality, the ANC could still push a centrist, de-racialized, ANC+DA-coalition narrative ahead of 2019.  The local government elections, too, proved relevance more important than ideology.  For it is written: political parties shall not live by conviction alone, but by every voter, parliamentary seat, government position, and tender-for-friends that proceeds from the mouth of the ANC.

This tells me the EFF must trade one of its non-negotiable horses for one the ANC’s.  I more easily foresee it tolerate Zuma than turn down credit for re-centring Section 25 of the Constitution (Property).  The ANC won’t co-vote with the EFF on that motion until it has something worth gaining — or keeping — from voting for land expropriation without expropriation, and that’s Zuma.

A radical leftist could argue that by allowing a Zuma third term (read: life presidency), the EFF would block capitalists like Cyril Ramaphosa from challenging uncompensated land restitution from the Union Buildings.  Come 2019, the EFF can’t get credit for pushing back against capitalist Ramaphosa or the current land/economic situation unless it tolerates Zuma, who seems sympathetic to the EFF’s cause.  And the party won’t grow beyond 6% without the ANC agreeing to share its funders under the table — or its abundance of politically-motivated smear-campaigns and murders to silence uncooperative EFF members.

The ruling party’s continued existence depends not on “organizational renewal” but its playing dirtier than ever before.  Ramaphosa can’t become party president without causing fatal splits; Dr. Mkhize can’t without being a fatality; Dr. Dlamini-Zuma can’t without collapsing under the party’s sin because patriarchy empowers men to abuse while punishing women for behaving like men.  Mondli Zondo recently wrote articles on debates about whether South Africa is “ready for a female president” and the double-standards that disadvantage woman presidential candidates.

Besides misogyny, there are personality issues: Rebecca Davis has observed that Dlamini-Zuma less resembles “a revolutionary leader and more a rather strict headmistress addressing an unruly school”, so she doesn’t have “that thing” (*makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng gestures*).  Her school principal demeanour makes her more likely to be made Higher Education Minister to announce free education, in accordance with the rumoured prophecies.

If Zuma knows we know he’ll get amnesty or flee, he knows his enemies are already ahead of those strategies.  What we should have learned with the cabinet reshuffles is he tends towards the reckless and unexpected — where nobody is waiting to meet him.  The raw power of unending endurance is consistent with the patronage system, where a change in leadership is more consistent with actual “organizational renewal” — which the ANC is incapable of.

It’s easier to follow patrons than to negotiate systems.  Having fed the demon of tribalism the fodder of patronage, the ANC’s stability has become permanently dependent on its Prime Minister (to the Guptas, or whoever else is buying the country from him).  As August 8 2017 showed, the ANC no longer exists apart from JZ, for he has fashioned that century-old liberation movement into his personal concubinal slave.  “No, the ANC MPs were just letting him finish his term, not allowing a third one — let alone life presidency!” many say.  But how will they draw the line at a third term if they couldn’t say, “Thus far and no further!” on prior scandals?  The unmoved Duduzile Cynthia Myeni is an omen; just as pigs (not French airbuses) will fly before she steps down, Zuma’s likely to stay put.

Two prophetesses warned us: Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (“Khwezi”) by alleging Showerhead was a rapist, and Unshowered Zille by alleging he facilitates state capture through patronage.  By saying no to them, we (like Zuma’s appointees) said a stinky yes to these last two terms being just the courtship.  Remember Cersei Lannister’s words: “Today?  You’re not going to die today.  You’re not going to die for quite a while.”

It was just the courtship!  We mustn’t be surprised to find ourselves at a KPMG-sponsored wedding kissing our freedoms goodbye.  The oft-married Zuma won’t be.

His name is ambusher, not ambushed Jacob, not Esau; Gedleyihlekisa, not Gedleyinhlekiso; Zuma, not Zunyiwe.  And it will be a long time before anyone gets to shower.

Thank you

Please comment, retweet and follow: @SKhumalo1987

Book coming courtesy of Kwela, one of NB Publisher’s seven imprints.

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