BIG READ: Join the dots in the Zupta plot - Times LIVE
Tue May 30 07:34:30 SAST 2017

BIG READ: Join the dots in the Zupta plot

Ray Hartley | 2017-01-24 08:49:54.0
President Jacob Zuma at the T20 match
Atul Gupta with President Jacob Zuma. Photo file.

The politics of the Gupta/Zuma camp have been laying the groundwork for something big. Let's join the dots ...

DOT ONE: Jacob Zuma explains the programme

While everyone else was settling down to a quiet festive season, Zuma vented his feelings at an "Economic Freedom" lecture organised by the ANC Youth League in Durban:

"In December last year [2015], I took a decision informed by what I am talking about and appointed a minister of finance, and monopoly capital and their friends and their stooges attacked me and they are still attacking me today. The question is if the president takes another decision, are we ready?

"I can tell you sitting on my own being pushed to reverse the decision, I said to myself, 'This is what happens when the nation is not alert. When they do not even understand the actions taken and then they listen to the wrong narrative'."

Because we're joining dots here, let me explain: Zuma sees himself on one side of the fence and "white monopoly capital" and its finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, on the other.

Quite chilling is the remark: "If the president takes another decision, are we ready?"

It's hard not to see this as a call on the faithful to defend him when he replaces Gordhan. (See dot seven.)

DOT TWO: The public protector strikes

The narrative that Zuma is proposing is clear: he is the victim of an assault by "white monopoly capital" and it is time to turn the tables. Not surprising then that the new public protector (ex-secret service) ignores Thuli Madonsela's finding that there be an inquiry into state capture.

Instead, she dusts off a report that Madonsela did not finalise on the Bankorp loan to launch an assault on Absa over money its corporate predecessor borrowed from the Reserve Bank ... more than 20 years ago.

An interim report sent to the bank demands that R2.5-billion be repaid for the "Bankorp Lifeboat" saga. Previous finance ministry and Reserve Bank findings that this should not be pursued are ignored. Because Trevor Manuel, Tito Mboweni and Maria Ramos are doing the bidding of "white monopoly capital", right?

DOT THREE: The ANC Women's League delivers two blows

Breaking with the ANC instruction that its structures make no pronouncement on who should succeed Zuma, the party's women's league puts its money behind a woman president. Said secretary-general Meokgo Matuba: "The success of [the women's league] in realising a goal of having the first ANC female president will be a success of women structures across the globe and motivation for them to continue with an agenda of having a world that is not patriarchal."

That was not the ANCWL's only pronouncement. It also called for an investigation into "forces" that were preventing transformation at SAA. The airline has been involved in a stand-off with Gordhan over its poor governance and financial record. So Gordhan is working with "white monopoly capital" to stop transformation at the airline, right?

DOT FOUR: Zuma anoints his successor

On January 12, Zuma is quoted as backing a woman (his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma), to lead the ANC. He says: "It is no longer a discussion in the ANC whether a woman can take a high leadership position or not. This discussion has been had before and the party agreed that anyone who is seen to have the qualities to lead the movement, there won't be any problem for that person to do so."

Zuma reinforces this when he says that it is no longer automatic that the ANC deputy president (Cyril Ramaphosa) take over the party reins.

DOT FIVE: The ANC Youth League attacks Gordhan

You can always count on the ANC Youth League to be less subtle. It bluntly called on Zuma to fire Gordhan for his alleged assault on transformation.

The finance minister had been "captured by capital", regional spokesman Thulisi Ndlela said.

The league had uncovered the "fact" that three people on the SAA board worked for companies the minister was said to have shares in.

"We see this as a gross violation and a conflict of interest and given that Gordhan will not excuse his private interests he must excuse himself in the public interest," Ndlela said.

DOT SIX: The Guptas open fire

Their proxies having cleared their barrels, the Guptas opened fire with a public assault on Gordhan, accusing him of using the courts to settle political scores.

Gordhan was seeking a ruling that backed his view that the minister of finance ought not to get involved in the relationship between banks and clients. The banks (among them the hated Absa, see dot two above) had canned the Guptas' bank accounts because they feared some of the transactions were a little fast and loose with the mathematics, so to speak.

The Gupta company Oakbay claimed in an affidavit that Gordhan had met with 60 captains of industry (your classic "white monopoly capital" cabal), and a plan to "clip the wings" of the Gupta family had been hatched.

"The timing of the minister's application supports the Oakbay Group's suspicions that the application is politically motivated and is part of the minister's ongoing plan to diminish the Oakbay Group and the Gupta family and to damage their hard-earned South African business," the company said.

DOT SEVEN: A cabinet reshuffle?

This dot has yet to materialise, but the groundwork for it has been laid. There are two items on the reshuffle agenda: The elevation of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the cabinet and the firing of Gordhan. Will Zuma go through with one or both of these? Brace yourself ...


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