Now, being state security deputy minister is not just any old job. The incumbent is privy to incredibly sensitive state security information. If a foreign enemy has what is called kompromat (damaging information about a politician) on someone such as Kodwa, then they can easily blackmail him. It is incredible that for this reason alone Ramaphosa has not put the man on leave.
Then there is Zweli Mkhize. The health minister is, strictly speaking, not an ally of the president, but as someone who ran his own presidential campaign in 2017 he is an opponent who has become a useful ally in the fight against the looters of the Zuma era. Ramaphosa should fire this man immediately. If Mkhize is not corrupt, then he is clearly out to lunch because the looting of R150m that happened on his watch could have been detected by a baby, yet he did not see it.
It is extraordinary to me that Mkhize can claim to be oblivious to the fact that a tender awarded to Digital Vibes, a company associated with individuals very closely linked to him and his family, was not dodgy. Even now, after his own investigation found it contravened government processes and constituted irregular and wasteful expenditure, the minister is trying to play ignorant and innocent. Ask any journalist who covered the ANC in the run-up to the 2017 conference and they will know that the main mover and shaker in Mkhize’s campaign was the key person implicated in this scandal, Tahera Mather. At his press conference last week Mkhize washed his hands of Mather, saying she was not his personal friend, but a comrade. Hear me laugh. Hear me cry.
Mkhize cannot claim to have not known about his close friends amassing an astonishing R150m in the space of a year — and paying his son R300,000 and doing house maintenance for him.
Then there is Gwede Mantashe, a staunch ally and key cog in the Ramaphosa universe. A losing bidder in the multibillion-rand tender for the supply of emergency power has sworn that the tender was rigged by top bureaucrats and associates of Mantashe’s. If I were Ramaphosa I would cancel this tender immediately. Mark my words, this is the next arms deal. It stinks to high heaven.
These are just some examples of the conundrum Ramaphosa faces: some of his closest allies may have to go. Many of them will find a home in his opponents’ bosoms. Will he be able to act against them, his own?
It doesn’t matter. If he fails to do so it will undermine his own renewal campaign.