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Zuma on track for second term

By Peroshni Govender, Reuters  | Apr 24, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 65 ]

The race will be fought at grassroots level with little attention paid to warnings from all three of the major global credit ratings agencies who say the economy is on the wrong track

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is the favourite to win a second term to lead the ruling ANC, in a race dominated by factional politics instead of policy reforms for Africa’s most powerful economy.  

More than a dozen insiders in the ruling African National Congress told Reuters that Zuma had the race in hand even though there are strong factions in the party who want him out and could make things difficult.  

“It’s Zuma’s race to lose,” said one senior ANC member.  

The winner of December’s party vote is almost certain to be its nominee in the 2014 presidential election. Since the ANC enjoys virtual one-party rule, its nominee is almost assured of winning the five year term as president.  

The race will be fought at the local level with little attention paid to warnings from all three of the major global credit ratings agencies who have said the economy is on the wrong track under Zuma, posing long-term risks to stability.  

The battle to lead the 100-year-old ANC according to party insiders is a two-horse race between Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.  

Zuma has a commanding lead in delegates and unless Motlanthe make huge strides by the electoral conference in December, Zuma should secure victory.  

Motlanthe, or any other candidate, is not going to openly declare their challenge to Zuma due to a party culture where raising one’s hand too early is tantamount to political suicide.  

The race will be fought behind closed doors, leaving out a public that has grown increasingly angry at the ANC for not doing enough to fix a broken education system, failing hospitals, rampant poverty and chronic unemployment.  

“Motlanthe has strong support but it’s all about timing and we want to make sure that his chances are good before nominations open,” said a source close to the deputy president.  

A RAW NERVE  

The ANC, a former liberation movement that became the ruling party when the white-minority apartheid regime ended 18 years ago, is a broad-tent political grouping with members ranging from hard core communists to business moguls.  

Its consensus-building approach has stifled radical ideas from the left that include nationalising mines and seizing white-owned farmland.  

But it has also allowed a rot to set in. Its allies, its members and voters have criticised it for turning a blind eye to corruption eating away at social welfare spending.  

Zuma, Motlanthe and many senior leaders have faced suspicions of corruption, with many in the party using leaks of graft on rivals as a way to settle political scores.  

“The perception that corruption is increasing on his watch, and that Zuma can be bought, weigh him down,” one senior official said.  

Comments from Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza, one of the country’s most respected businessmen, touched a nerve when he warned democracy is under threat from politicians incapable of running the country.  

“Our political leadership’s moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past,” Khoza wrote in the annual report of South Africa’s fourth largest bank.  

“South Africa is widely recognised for its liberal and enlightened constitution, yet we observe a strange breed of leaders who are determined to undermine the rule of law and override the constitution,” Khoza said.  

The ANC’s top brass denounced Khoza this month, with some members calling him counter-revolutionary.  

But economists say if the ANC government keeps up its current policies, South Africa risks slipping to new depths of unemployment, debt and corruption that could swell the ranks of the destitute and undermine long-term prospects.  

A ‘ZUNAMI’  

Even if Zuma is replaced, its unlikely Motlanthe will inject much needed reforms to make the economy more competitive.  

Motlanthe, who served as the caretaker president for eight months, when former President Thabo Mbeki was ousted in September 2008 before his term ended, avoided confrontation during his stay in power.  

The period was one of the most fractious in the post-apartheid era and Motlanthe was a unifying force in the party.  

Although his unionist’s political upbringing was shaped by leftist theories, he is seen at home as a moderate and is well regarded in international circles.  

But the party race to succeed Zuma will be about handing out favours on the local level, and not addressing deficiencies in his government, analysts said.  

“The ANC should really consider leadership and policy side by side. Not all leader candidates are equally capable to steer and lead complex policy issues in complex public institutions,” Professor Susan Booysens from University of Witwatersrand said.  

“The ANC is at a point now where it is essential to move into this nuanced position in order to get governance right.”  

Originally part of the “Zunami”, a term used to describe Zuma’s unstoppable rise to power, Motlanthe now appears to be fronting a campaign of dejected Zuma supporters and Mbeki loyalists.  

“The mission to replace Mbeki was so great that we did not strategise beyond his demise and the consequences are now all too glaring,” said a trade union leader who previously backed Zuma’s rise to power.  

“Policy is a mess and the party is dogged by infighting which served Zuma in his election bid but now threatens to ruin the ANC”.  

MUDDLING ALONG  

Since becoming president in 2009, Zuma a former ANC intelligence chief, has been seen as an ineffectual leader muddling through his term.  

One success was raising the country’s diplomatic profile by having South Africa included into the BRIC — Brazil, Russia, India and China — group of leading emerging economies.  

His major pieces of legislation include measures to protect state secrets, which critics said will give the government greater power in hiding reports pointing to corruption.  

Job creation is one of Zuma’s top policy priorities, but since he took office, the country has lost about a million jobs, with the manufacturing sector the hardest hit.

Many of these posts will not come back because labour has priced itself out of the market, with the ANC bowing to its union allies to protect labour friendly laws that drive up personnel costs.  

The average factory worker in South Africa earns about six times as much as a factory worker in China and is less efficient.

Industries in sectors which were once internationally competitive, such as footwear, have faded.  

Zuma’s government has sent to parliament four major labour reforms aimed at pleasing labour by forcing employers to take on temporary workers as full time staff.  

But a report commissioned by the presidency said the measures would drive up joblessness by adding more costs and regulations on employers.  

LOOKING FOR SUPPORT  

With eight months to go until the ANC elects its leaders in Manguang in the Free State province, the party’s birthplace, Zuma has to work at keeping his supporters.  

Trade union federation COSATU, in a governing alliance with the ANC and a powerful vote-gathering machine with two million members, has not fully thrown its weight behind Zuma.  

“We don’t have a consensus position yet and the big unions are still divided. We won’t have a decision until September when the unions hold their own elections,” a union official said.  

COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi, with teachers union SADTU, and the metal workers NUMSA, support a leadership change whi le union President Sidumo Dlamini, metal workers union NUM and NEHAWU, the health and education workers body endorse Zuma’s second term.  

Zuma has sidelined one of his biggest foes, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, a populist expelled from the party for violating ANC rules.  

Malema has won strong backing from the country’s poor for his calls to nationalise mines and seize white-owned farmland.

Malame has lined up behind Motlanthe and still could be a factor even though he is prohibited from appearing at ANC events.  

“Expelling Malema from the ANC is a lame attempt to neutralise him. He is just going to be even louder outside the party. It’s a small victory for Zuma but a man like Malema does not shut up. Zuma has unleashed a demon,” said an ANC official who did not want to be named.  

As factions up the ante in the leadership race, Razia Khan the head of Africa research at Standard Chartered, said the emphasis on politics was a distraction from the immense structural challenges South Africa faces to lift growth.  

“From a development perspective it is crucial to have long term policies to see the real impact,” she said in an interview from London.  

“It is crucially important to have a leader with enough of a long term perspective to be able to drive meaningful structural change.”  

COMMENTS [ 65 ]

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JZ managed to get 2 wives in his 1st term with a possible 3rd (Sonono Khoza).Imagine if he were to get the 2nd term....o fetsa go tshwara speed,go tla jewa motho..

Apr 30, 2012 2:50 | 0 replies

Dandan
1tsotsi

kwakwakwakwa tlitltiltiltilti hhihihihihih

house is burning in Limp its too late now for that fire, all province are ready for finally whistle, Malema is closure to the cells and mathale will be fired soon, no rigging of results in mangaung

did you listen to DDs speech after the elections in Mpum , he said Malemas should watch out not to insult the leadership , again Jacob Manana in Limp urged Zuma for the second term, when is Malema coming to Kzn , why are they running away, why Magaqa did nt come last week to disrupt the Pres lecture
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Why should i listen to that criminal DD? Just like jacob he has no leadership qualities let alone political content, Like iv said before, jacob is not coming back. Brace yourself for a shocker, its only a matter of time. Keep comforting yourself, we dont take that stupid boy mamabolo seriously.

Apr 24, 2012 3:23 | 0 replies

Dandan: I leave you with the observation that you don't actually address the examples I list. Ah well, being so politically astute makes one immune to logic. Have it as you wish. Bye now.

Apr 24, 2012 3:16 | 0 replies

Dandan: Whatever. Have a noce afternoon.

Apr 24, 2012 3:14 | 0 replies

Papage
We will remove him, if the ANC puts him there, this time we will revlot big time and no one will stop us.
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If they remove him, we also revlot big time and no one will also stop us.

Apr 24, 2012 3:13 | 0 replies

And I believe that Motlante will do a better job.

Apr 24, 2012 3:13 | 0 replies

RobinH


again thats the reason I said understand politics and political games I supposed thats your biggest weakness

Apr 24, 2012 3:13 | 0 replies

Assumptions are that, Zuma's challenger in Mangaung will be Motlante. Judging from his short spell as care-taker president, one would wonder if there will be any turn-around strategy he brings with him. The ever-quiet Motlante is not suitable, I would rather go for Ramaphosa, Manuel or Nkosazana Zuma.

However, without being bias, I'm not yet seeing any challenger who will be able to defeat Zuma in Mangaung, Mbeki was a far tougher candidate in Polokwane.

Apr 24, 2012 3:10 | 0 replies

Xovizwe: I think we may be heading toward understanding one another, if not toward agreement. Politics is like religion. Both are really based on belief and very l;ittle else, so neither are really open to reasoned decisions. I have a real problem with making decisions based on political allegiance, as I consider a politician to be about as stable as a tumbleweed in a gale. Shall we leave it at that? I need to log off soon, and don't wish to argue with someone who is reasonable, even if we don't share the same political approach.

Apr 24, 2012 3:6 | 0 replies

1tsotsi

kwakwakwakwa tlitltiltiltilti hhihihihihih

house is burning in Limp its too late now for that fire, all province are ready for finally whistle, Malema is closure to the cells and mathale will be fired soon, no rigging of results in mangaung

did you listen to DDs speech after the elections in Mpum , he said Malemas should watch out not to insult the leadership , again Jacob Manana in Limp urged Zuma for the second term, when is Malema coming to Kzn , why are they running away, why Magaqa did nt come last week to disrupt the Pres lecture

Apr 24, 2012 3:3 | 0 replies

Dandan: If you had ever read any of my comments you would know that I do not espouse ANY party. Neither DA nor your dear ANC. "the anc is driven by human relations".... Hmm. So is this why Manyi tells us we have to put up with it, and why Nomvula blatantly ignores court orders? "democratic principles"> So this must be why journalists are assaulted and people throw chairs at meetings.Why people form alliances with dodgy financiers. Very democratic. Don't tell me I need to learn about politics. Who the hell are you to make assumptions of that kind. Get back up your MP's rear, please.

Apr 24, 2012 3:3 | 0 replies