Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS
Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS

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What if there had been no national and market backlash to president Jacob Zuma’s appointment of David van Rooyen as finance minister, and thus he lasted longer than four seat-warming days as head of treasury? What then?

Below is the game plan of Zuma and his benefactors, from its ignoble start in December 2015 to its tyrannical end in 2030, and the multitude of dictatorial fouls in-between. What it shows is that - in pursuit of satisfying his insatiable greed, as well as his fight for self-preservation - Zuma is prepared to liberate us from our constitutional democracy, and destroy the chance forever of a “better life for all”.

The game plan was compiled from: known timelines; legislation that has either been signed into law, or is awaiting ratification; resolutions or considerations by the Zuma-led African National Congress (ANC); writings by hard-hitting columnists; findings by investigative journalists and independent researchers; and in a few cases, a process of joining the dots. 

There is no denying that what follows is far-fetched and preposterous, but it is not my game plan, it is theirs. Their objectives are naïve and disastrous - so much so that they tripped at the first step, namely the firing and replacement of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Dictator warm-up

With Machiavellian determination,  Zuma has patiently cultivated ANC support: within the National Executive Committee (NEC); the ANC youth league (with possible promises of 40% cabinet posts in provinces aligned with Zuma); the ANC women’s league; some members of the ANC veterans league; as well as half of the Kwazulu Natal delegates from a disputed election; a portion of the Eastern Cape; and the provinces of the Mpumalanga, Free State and North West, with their respective premiers ( known as the “premier league”) [Rand Daily Mail][1].

Having secured enough ANC support, Zuma turned his attention to the capture of the state and the total command of the ANC.

Starting pistol

The 9th of December 2015 was meant to signal the start of Zuma’s palace coup of government and the ANC. It had been building up for years, as he increasingly asserted his dictatorial independence by making government appointments and policy decisions without consulting or even notifying the ANC leadership, all the while being ably assisted by an “outside hand” [2], namely the Guptas.
 In turn, the ANC leadership followed Zuma’s lead, by helping him pass power-abusing and growth-destroying legislation; they chastised his lackeys, while leaving Zuma above reproach; and, they looked on bemused and indifferent at his overall actions as state president, justifying their aloofness with the party line: it is the president’s constitutional prerogative.

With the ANC leadership seemingly cowering before him, and his allies waiting in the wings, Zuma and his benefactors believed the time was right to initiate the game plan for total power and untold riches.

The backbone of the Zuma game plan consists of: the awarding of the 9 600 megawatt nuclear programme to Russia; tenderpreneur opportunities resulting from the nuclear build; the “grabification” of South African Airways (SAA), and other state-owned enterprises (SOEs); and the control of SA’s media.

In order to initiate the “kleptocracy” [3] (a description finance minister Pravin Gordhan used), Zuma and his benefactors have to have a compliant treasury. And, in December 2015, this meant only one thing: Nene had to go. (Cambridge dictionary defines a kleptocracy as a society whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the rest of the people [4].)

Six days before Nene was fired, Dudu Myeni – chairperson of SAA and of the Jacob Zuma Foundation [5] – wrote to Zuma asking him to intervene [6], as Nene had refused the SAA board permission to allow an obscure African leasing company to lease aircraft to SAA, and instead Nene had ordered the SAA board to ratify a treasury-approved swap transaction deal between SAA and Airbus.

Three days before Nene was fired, Zuma’s cabinet approved the Broadcasting Amendment Bill.
Hours before Nene was fired, Zuma and his cabinet secretly approved the 9 600MW nuclear procurement programme. It was done without treasury cost-benefit analysis and affordability sign off (and thus was an illegal move under the Public Sector Finance Management Act [Fin24][7]).
Around that same time, Zuma discreetly signed the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill into law [8], which allows for preferential treatment by the South African government of Russia and China - countries which are not impeded by regulations, transparency or human rights – for the anticipated trade and state tendering projects, while the Bill is unnecessarily hostile to the West and their business interests in the country[9].
Everything was in place. So, after the cabinet meeting on 9 of December 2015, Zuma went ahead and fired Nene, and replaced him with political featherweight David van Rooyen, as head of treasury.

Van Rooyen was likely recommended by the ‘premier league’ member [10] Supra Mahumapelo of the North West. (Mahumapelo therefore may be somewhat out of favour with Zuma, for nominating such a blatantly weak finance minister candidate, and in so doing caused the ensuing furore).
Van Rooyen is the secretary of the ANC veteran’s league, which has a vested interest in the Gupta-controlled Oakbay Resources and Energy company, with its Shiva Uranium mine [11]. The success of the uranium mine, to a great extent, is reliant on the Russian 9 600MW nuclear programme going ahead.

On 24 of December 2015, two weeks after firing Nene, Zuma signed into law the 2015 Tax Laws Amendment Act and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act.
Amongst other things, as the Group Labour Editor, Amy Musgrave, wrote in IOL, “The Tax Laws Amendment Act and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act stipulate that employees registered for pension, provident and retirement funds will only be able to withdraw one third of their benefit when they retire, while the remaining will be paid out monthly as an annuity until death. This is contrary to the current policy, where workers are able to withdraw their entire benefit upon resignation or retirement.” (More on the Acts later.)

Let the games begin

The following is a view from a parallel universe, where the appointment of van Rooyen elicits nothing more than a manageable response, and so he retains his position as finance minister. It also assumes that all the plans by Zuma and his benefactors come to fruition (no matter how unworkable).

Off the starting blocks – 2016 (including local government elections)
David van Rooyen is installed as head of treasury, flanked by two Gupta-aligned advisors [14].

With the successful capture of treasury, the Zuma-Gupta alliance bulldozes through the South African Airways (SAA) deal with the little known African leasing company, resulting in the Guptas leasing aircraft to SAA with an onerous contract, and accompanied by kickbacks [15].

The 9 600MW nuclear procurement proposals are made at the end of March 2016 by various countries. Russia’s state-owned nuclear company, Rosatom, makes the 9 600MW nuclear build seem affordable, with an over-optimistic cost forecast and attractive loan agreement.

Thanks to the close relationship between Zuma and Russian president, Vladimir Putin - Rosatom is quickly awarded the contract and the $50 billion to $100 billion (R800 billion to R1.6 trillion) nuclear deal is given the go-ahead to begin construction in 2019 [16][17][18][19].

The cabinet-approved Broadcasting Amendment Bill is rushed through parliament and hastily signed by Zuma into law.
The Bill grants Zuma’s communications minister the power to appoint board members (instead of parliament) for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). It thus bastardises the SABC from a public broadcaster into Zuma’s personal propaganda machine. He now has command over the hearts and minds of millions of South Africans. It also gives him the power to destroy the public reputations of his rivals, and to starve out public exposure for opposition parties and any other dissenting voices. (As at February 2016 – in reality - the Bill is currently being processed by parliament’s Communications Committee[20].)
With Zuma’s control of the SABC board, and his lackey Hlaudi Motsoeneng installed as SABC chief operating officer, propaganda of his government and its “good story to tell” comes thick and fast, supported by the Gupta-controlled ANN7 broadcaster and their state-supported The New Age newspaper.
In the lead up to the local government elections, the SABC stops all open lines on radio to prevent any callers expressing their frustrations with Zuma’s government[21][22].
With Zuma dictating the actions of his cadre deployees in treasury, the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Hawks, SABC, SAA, Eskom, State Security, and others, the government and the ANC is at his mercy.

To ensure the ANC – now a mere shadow of its former self (which will hence be referred to as ZANC) – remains in power, Zuma reminds the party’s voting faithful (especially the poor and lower income earners) during the local government elections, of ANC’s glory days, and plays on their desperation and frustrations (while misdirecting them from blaming him and his failed promises of job creation and service delivery).
But just in case that is not enough, in April 2015 Zuma installed Vuma Mashinini – who M&G described as a long-time Zuma ally – to head the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)[23].
The ANC achieves a less than convincing majority victory, but a victory nevertheless.

Next, Zuma removes SACP members in government (such as trade and industry minister Rob Davies, higher education minister Blade Nzimande and deputy public works minister Jeremy Cronin) [24][25] and isolates the party. Zuma does this because the SACP has repeatedly warned against corporate capture of the state and the ANC (which does not refer to subversions by captains of industry, but rather the Guptas [26]). In addition, the SACP will resist any attempts to partially or totally privatise SOEs, since privatisation is contrary to the SACP’s underlying ideology, and thus they are in direct conflict with the Zuma-Gupta plan of “grabification” of state assets. And finally, the SACP supports Zuma’s rival for ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Zuma installs blind loyalists in their place.

With the local elections behind him, Zuma reverts back to the original 2016 implementation of the Tax Amendment Acts (despite union protestations, and having previously agreed to delay it to 2018).
Due to the up-and-coming state-owned enterprise (SOE) grabifications and nuclear-related tenders, the Zuma-Gupta alliance requires government financial institutions, and especially pension funds, to have cash at the ready, which is facilitated by the Taxation Amendment Acts.

(In the past, the Public Investment Corp PIC, the Industrial Development Corporation IDC, and the Free State Development Corporation FDC, have been approached, or granted, or allegedly offered, to finance deals involving the Guptas and Zuma’s son Duduzane.) 

Zuma and his benefactors assume 30% ownership of any tenders awarded to government, under the guise of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) [27][28].

SAA’s entire R14 billion debt, meanwhile, is consolidated into one loan transaction [29], which is provided for by the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) [30] with links to Zuma’s ally, premier Ace Magashule [31]. (The loan is obtained using BEE credentials, including shares held by Zuma’s son, Duduzane, as well as presidential pressure.) The funds are channelled through a Gupta-controlled company, into the African leasing company, and finally to SAA. National government is then saddled with all the risks, responsibilities, and costs of what essentially is a government loan, but has to pay an obscure, private entity.
The alliance then sits and waits for the ailing airline to default on its payments, with the assistance of SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni – their Trojan horse.

Again, using the pretext of BEE and transformation (and the very real need to address land ownership for the historically disadvantaged, responsibly), the Land Expropriation Bill is signed into law by Zuma.
The Bill allows any government official to take ownership of “property” which they deem as “in the public interest” or “for public purpose” [32] (be it mining or agricultural land, or property owned by companies, but also shares, intellectual property, pensions, as well as property of ordinary people, including peoples’ homes [33][34]).

Thuli Madonsela’s term as public protector comes to an end in October 2016, and Zuma – having learnt from the experience - appoints someone far more pliable.

Gaining momentum – 2017 (including ANC’s Elective Conference) to 2018

SAA defaults on it payments, allowing the Guptas, together with Zuma’s son Duduzane and other patronage stakeholders, to grab a share in the airline and its fleet of aircraft. The Guptas use the loan value to award themselves a large personal stake in the enterprise, based on the fire-sale value; while, in lieu of the loan, the FDC is awarded a much smaller stake (because that same loan amount will be compared with the enterprise’s true or inflated value).

In the lead up to ZANC’s 2017 elective conference, Zuma neutralises any potential rivals (including Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe, Jeff Radebe…), with media propaganda, political manoeuvrings, and government security cluster and tax investigations [35].
 Thanks to these devious methods, plus slates, cash-for-votes, intimidation, computer-counting trickery, gate keeping, inflated membership numbers, and cadre deployment promises, Zuma is declared ANC president (“for life” is implied). He is now well on his way to meeting the needs of his benefactors, together with the Russians and the Chinese; as well as to bankroll his patronage network, and pay for a lavish lifestyle.

Although Zuma’s term as SA president ends in 2019, he resigns in 2017. In his place, he (like Putin) installs a puppet state president  [36][37]. By no longer being SA president, Zuma is freed from the constraints of the country’s constitution; he is also released from having to perform state duties. Now, he can put all of his energies into being the president of the ZANC.
Being the power behind the state presidency, Zuma selects a compliant cabinet and a subservient parliamentary presence, who all treat his every “instruction” as law [38]. At this stage, the government is no longer “Zuma-led”, but “Zuma-controlled”.
Through his cadre deployees, Zuma has control over the tax and law-enforcement agencies, including Tom Moyane at SARS, Nomgcobo Jiba at the NPA, and Berning Ntlemeza at the Hawks, thus ensuring he and his backers are safe from prosecution, as well as Zuma can keep his underlings in line. It also provides him with the power to destroy his enemies.

He removes the independence of the Judiciary, by appointing judges who are biased towards his government (through the Zuma-controlled Judicial Services Commission), and he overcomes any dissent by having treasury withhold budget payments.

Eventually, SOEs are owned or partly owned by the Zuma-Gupta alliance, with loans from government financial institutions (such as the PIC and IDC).
Crucially, this includes part-ownership of the state power utility Eskom, which the Guptas achieved by taking charge of its coal supplies. They accomplished this by hijacking competing coal mining supply companies, with the assistance of SARS, Eskom, Transnet and government officials, who play hardball with Eskom’s supply contracts, impose business-destroying penalties, suspend mining rights, impede rail transport, and crowd out other interested buyers. The Guptas begin exporting coal to India.

Zuma signs the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill into law [39][40], raising the BEE ownership requirement from 25% to 51%, which amounts to an indirect expropriation of companies [IRR].

Having weakened business competitors with damaging legislation, manhandling by SARS [41], and control over SOE contracts, one hundred black industrialists are selected by Zuma and his benefactors, to expropriate businesses which will prove crucial for the nuclear programme, under the guise of ‘transformation’. This take-over is directed by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), which drives the nuclear programme’s local skills development and industrialisation plans. Necsa is under the control of Zuma allies and nuclear deal “lynchpins”, Phumzile Tshelane and Mochubela Seekoe [42].

The industrialists also receive government funding in the billions as part of ‘transformation’.

Rosatom begins work on recommissioning South Africa’s apartheid nuclear enrichment plant in Pelindaba.

Around the bend – 2019 (including the National General Election)

With allies imbedded in the IEC and the Demarcation Board, the provincial and ward boundaries are adjusted to undermine opposition parties, as well as Zuma-opponents still hold up within the ANC. Parts of the Eastern Cape are incorporated in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, overwhelming the Democratic Alliance (DA) governed Western Cape, and weakening Zuma’s rivals in the former ANC[43][44].
Overall, Zuma reduces the number of provinces from nine to six, ensuring his provincial patronage network receives the lion’s share of resources. 

To give the appearance that South Africa is a democracy, the country still holds elections.

However, in the run-up to the 2019 National General Election, Zuma manipulates and distorts the hearts and minds of the people through his dominance of the media.
Due to non-encrypted set-top boxes distributed by government, Zuma’s state-controlled SABC and the Gutpa-controlled Infinity broadcaster are the only free-to-air broadcasters available for the approximately 8 million poor and low income earners. (eTV is forced financially to become a pay-TV channel.)
Information is further censored with the signing by Zuma of the Protection of State Information Bill (the so-called Secrecy Bill), and other information censoring Bills, that impact on the freedom of expression for print media, radio, TV and the internet. The introduction of a media appeals tribunal, and the slashing of government advertising expenditure to independent media outlets further decimates media freedom.
Zuma also strengthens his control of the IEC, while election results in strategic regions lose their legitimacy.

Altogether, these manipulations guarantee an unassailable, albeit illegitimate, ANC victory.

The poor receive just enough government handouts to survive poverty, but never enough support or schooling to escape its pernicious clutches for good, thus ensuring their dependence on ANC handouts.

Universities are a shadow of their former selves since the Higher Education Amendment Bill became law. The Bill curtails institutional autonomy and provides the minister with draconian powers to intervene in universities’ affairs, including withholding funds and making appointments or promotions [45][46]. Meanwhile, students are controlled by gate-keeping over who receives funding from the national student financial aid scheme (NSFAS). Independent and dissenting voices are thus silenced.

Rosatom, in partnership with the Zuma-Gupta alliance and other Zuma benefactors, begins the construction of the nuclear power plants, while controlling tenders in all manner of industries – thanks to the 100 industrialists programme - including mining, steel production, computer systems, transportation… Taxpayers money is increasingly siphoned off through bogus projects and crooked tenders with inflated prices (in the same vein as the Free State dairy project and Nkandla).

Assisted by the earlier Bills, Zuma shows his partners of China and Russia undisguised favouritism for trade and state projects. The West, meanwhile, is on the receiving end of intensifying hostility by the Zuma-controlled government.

In anticipation of the need for uranium - as fuel for the still to be built nuclear power plants - the Gupta-controlled Shiva Uranium is awarded the contract to supply Eskom and Necsa with uranium, for stockpiling purposes.

The nuclear enrichment plant is completed.
As a kickback for the securing the 9 600MW nuclear deal, Russia’s Rosatom opens its considerable nuclear network to the Zuma-Guptas alliance, providing them with export contracts to supply low enriched uranium to Russia, India and China.

Hitting the straights – 2020 to 2030 (?)

(In reality – in 2012, Zuma refused to dilute or dispose of South Africa’s high enriched uranium (HEU) left over from the apartheid regime [47][48][49]. HEU is used in nuclear weaponry. Officials at the time also explained that Zuma was keeping SA’s options open for producing HEU in the future [50].)
The nuclear enrichment plant - built by Russia’s Rosatom in 2019 - has the capabilities to produce more HEU, and thus the Zuma-controlled government is now capable of selling weapon-grade uranium to any rogue nation who is willing to pay for it. (Consequently, South Africa may itself eventually be declared a rogue nation. In 2018, Zuma had withdrawn South Africa from the International Criminal Court, in an attempt to avoid any possible future prosecutions.)

Meanwhile, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt commence with their nuclear programme through Russia’s Rosatom, with South Africa ready and eager to supply the enriched uranium to fuel their nuclear power plants. Zuma’s continental influence grows behind Putin’s. 

Zuma’s son, Duduzane, as shareholder in a multiple of companies and industries, including mining, computers, media, aviation, etc. and intricately linked with the Guptas, is groomed to take over from his aging father, ensuring the start of a family dynasty as rulers of South Africa.

The 9 600MW nuclear build is completed.

The eventual supply of electricity is controlled by Russia’s Rosatom and Zuma-Gupta appointees at Eskom and Necsa, thus yielding enormous power (both literally and figuratively) over people and businesses (particularly mining and manufacturing), inviting kickbacks, ‘protection money’, and even corporate hijacking opportunities. AND SO ON AND SO FORTH...

That concludes the game plan of Zuma and his benefactors.

And all this economic insanity was set to start on the 9 of December 2015, when Zuma pulled the trigger and fired Nene … BACKFIRE!

That is how close we came to the capture of the ANC, and the overthrow of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, including the elimination of our hard fought-for rights and freedoms, and those rights and freedoms for our children, and our children’s children... 

Zuma and his benefactors failed to predict the scathing response van Rooyen’s appointment would generate, as well as how it would lay bare their game plan.        
But, be that as it may, we are all still in real danger. Zuma, his patronage network, and his benefactors, although damaged by the exposure, all remain in place. And Zuma has begun a campaign to reassert himself.

It is not game over.

Reality bites back

As stated earlier, the game plan by Zuma and his benefactors is naïve in the extreme, as well as a disaster for the country. Below is where reality is biting down hard on their scheme.

On 9 of December 2015 – which was international anti-corruption day, and whose theme for the year was to ‘Break the corruption chain’ - Zuma sacked Nene. It has since been dubbed “9/12” by treasury insiders, for the devastation it had on the country.

At the time, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange lost R170 billion [51].

Peter Bruce stated in the Financial Mail that since that fateful day, South Africa has had to pay R30.8 million more every day to pay our national debt, which he added “just about sums up Zuma’s recent stewardship of the economy” [52]. Economist Dawie Roodt said that, “The currency bombed because of Zuma's effect on the currency. I would say that at least 25 of the 50- basis-points rise [in SA’s interest rates] was because of him.” [Rand Daily Mail][53].

Regarding food prices from the drought, Professor Johan Willemse (department head of Agricultural Economics at Free State University), said in January 2016, that if the rand had not weakened by 40% in the last six months, South Africa would be okay. “The changing of Finance Minister (by President Jacob Zuma) also didn’t help the situation – it further pushed the Rand in that direction,” he added. “What this means is that there will be less money in your pocket. Lower income groups spend 40 to 50 percent on food – they won’t have money left for other necessities or will eat less and then malnutrition starts to happen,” said Willemse [54]. This includes child malnutrition [55].

If van Rooyen remained as finance minister, “the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) would have brought the roof down [in parliament]. It is doubtful that Van Rooyen would have been able to finish the [budget] speech – provided he was even allowed to start it,” [56] wrote Ranjeni Munusamy in the Daily Maverick.

On the 28 of December 2015, the swap transaction between SAA and Airbus - which Nene had approved, and which Zuma’s close friend Dudu Myeni had tried to hijack - was officially concluded by treasury, under Gordhan.

In 2015 the constitutional court ordered that, as part of the voters roll, the IEC must obtain sufficient information from the voter as to their place of residence (but that the address need not be verified). This is to ensure the voter is recorded in the correct voting district [57].
Although the implications of the ruling are serious, such as the possible postponement of the 2016 local government elections [58], it would assist in preventing electoral irregularities or tampering. (The IEC is appealing the ruling to obtain clarity as to whether voters who are registered without addresses must be removed from the voters roll [EWN][59][60].)

Gordhan promised, on the day of his appointment in December 2015, that treasury would tread carefully in regards to the 9 600MW nuclear build programme [61]. Since that time, the nuclear programme has been moved to the office of the Independent Power Producers (IPP), which is a partnership between the department of energy, treasury and the Development Bank of South Africa.  This is in keeping with Gordhan’s steadfast approach that the nuclear build will only proceed after a thorough and transparent tender process [62]and that “government will only expand such capacity at a scale and pace that is affordable” [63].

What Zuma and his benefactors fail to recognize is that Putin is attempting to do to South Africa - with the “unnecessary” 9600MW nuclear programme and accompanying corrupt-inducing tenders - what Zuma and the Guptas tried to do to SAA, namely make a deal that is unaffordable and thus provide the opportunity for grabification. Except in this case it is potentially the grabification of the whole of South Africa by a foreign power.

In November 2015, the High Court ruled in favour of the DA, after finding that the permanent appointment of SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng by the communications minister (who, like van Rooyen, is a backbencher appointed by Zuma) was “unlawful and irrational”.
Despite losing three cases in relation to Motsoeneng’s appointment, the communications minister, the SABC and Motsoeneng have appealed the latest ruling. It is yet to be determined if an appeal will even be granted.

The Taxation Amendment Acts were supposed to come into effect on 1 March 2016 [64]; however, the legislation was met with strong opposition by Cosatu and other federations who refuted claims by the presidency that there had been an “extensive consultation process” [65]. Zuma’s government has since agreed to delay the implementation of the amendments to 1 March 2018 [66], but this could be seen as an attempt to appease the unions in the lead up to the local government elections [67].
Cosatu said it would continue to campaign against the Acts until sections it opposed are scrapped [68]. As the union federation has already stated, “Workers will fight any attempts to impose the compulsory preservation of our hard-earned deferred wages. We will spare no effort to stop this tyranny; because no government has a right to unilaterally decide for workers‚ how and when to spend their retirement savings.” And added, “This is a barefaced perversion of the system‚ where worker’s undeniable rights are considered to be the dispensation of government…This is a disturbing sign that our movement is abandoning the people-driven and people-centred approach to development.” [69][70]

In regards to the Expropriation Bill, independent bodies and commercial associations have warned of the consequences if Zuma signs it into law, such as the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) which described the Bill thus, “Basically, it means that any member of state can take what they want, when they want it, as long as it sits in the camps of ‘for public purposes’ or ‘in public interest’ – as defined by... well, the government”. While the Banking Association of South Africa warned in July 2015 that the Bill put forward undermines the rights of owners and mortgage holders and deters investment. It said, “This [Bill] has the potential to introduce unintended economic consequences and introduce systemic risk into the sector” [Fin24][71].
The Bill will have serious consequences for property rights for all South African citizens, including the approximately 8.6 million African black South Africans who own their homes, and the 1.1 million white South Africans; or, the 12 250 African black commercial farmers and 22 750 white commercial farmers [IRR][72][73][74]. As stated previously, the definition of “property” for potential expropriation by Zuma’s government includes mining and agricultural land, as well as commercial property, shares, intellectual property, pensions, and property of ordinary people such as peoples’ homes.

No “property” will be safe from Zuma’s government. A predatory state does not discriminate against who it robs, be they black or white, be it property or even people’s lives, just so long as those in power profit by it. And that is why South Africa has a constitution, which is there to protect citizens from their government.
(Although the Bill was approved by the Zuma-dominated parliament in February 2016, the Bill is yet to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces, only then can it be signed into law by Zuma.)

Thuli Madonsela’s non-renewable term as public protector ends on 19 of October 2016. Her replacement requires a minimum of 60% support from members of parliament to be considered by the president [Daily Maverick][75].

In response, the non-profit organisation Corruption Watch has begun a nationwide awareness campaign, called the Bua Mzansi (Sesotho for ‘Speak up South Africa’) campaign, to ensure the upcoming appointment of the new public protector is done in a transparent manner, is influenced by public opinion, and that the candidates are properly vetted, and are qualified and suitable for the post. Corruption Watch will use new media technologies (such as a mobile phone crowd-voting application [76]) and traditional mobilising methods, to encourage public participation [77], such that the public can frame questions for the candidates, as well as take an active part in nominating and voting for suitable candidates [Engineering News][78].
Corruption Watch hopes the campaign leads to reflection on other state institution appointments [Daily Maverick][79].

By the end of 2016, if Zuma’s plan had succeeded - opposition parties, civil society organisations, religious groups, and unions would, by then, most likely have been galvanised into action, consisting of court cases, constitutional court challenges, mass rallies and possibly civil disobedience. Calls for a tax revolt would also possibly have gained traction.

In regards to Nomgcobo Jiba, head advocate at the NPA - the DA, Freedom Under Law, the Council for the Advancement of South Africa’s Constitution, and Corruption Watch have all called for Jiba to be suspended or removed [80]. As Stephen Grootes wrote in the Daily Maverick, “Over time there have been more and more complaints that Jiba has been acting to defend Zuma.”[81]
Taking the matter further, the DA is going to court to force Zuma to suspend or remove Jiba from office. In a dramatic intervention, NPA deputy Willie Hofmeyr, has written and signed an affidavit which pits him against Jiba, and his boss, NPA head Shaun Abrahams [82].

In mid-2015 it was reported that Jiba was the subject of an inquiry by the Pretoria Bar Council, as to whether she should be struck from the roll of advocates for not being fit and proper to be a member of the profession [IOL][83][84]. (As of writing, the Bar Council’s determination could not be located.)

The game plan overall assumes all court challenges against Zuma are either dropped or stymied, due to strategic cadre deployments in the security cluster, including the NPA. This, however, has failed to prevent the EFF (joined by the DA, and friends of the court Corruption Watch [85]) from having their case heard in the constitutional court, regarding the public protector’s findings for the R246 millions worth of “security upgrades” paid for by the state on Zuma’s Nkandla residence.
Meanwhile, the DA is continuing with its six-year court battle to compel the NPA to have the arms-deal-related fraud and corruption charges against Zuma reinstated [86].   

The Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, which raises the BEE ownership requirement to 51%, and threatens the USA’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and trade agreements with the European Union, is yet to be signed by Zuma. In 2014/15, SA’s exports were 2.5 times and foreign investments to SA were 30 times greater with the West, as compared with Russia and China.

As a result of the antagonistic environment towards the West by the Zuma-led government and ANC [87][88][89], the West could withdraw their business interests, costing at the very least 850 000 jobs [90], and billions of rands.

The above excludes the impact of yet another economy-destroying Bill, the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, which was quietly signed into law by Zuma just days before or after firing Nene. The Chamber of Commerce for both the USA and EU expect this Bill will make investors think twice before deciding to plough money into the local economy; its results will be felt in five to eight years’ time [91]; and that it was “another nail in the coffin” of South Africa’s economy [92].

For 2015, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Africa fell 31%, yet FDI inflows to South Africa dropped nearly 2.5 times that, with a 74% plunge [93].

Meanwhile, UK’s largest retail bank Barclays is disinvesting its 62.3% stake in the Absa group [94]. Fin24 reported two days after Nenegate that Barclays decided to offload its R120 billion South African subsidiary Absa, which marked a significant and sudden reversal in its strategy, including abandoning the rebranding of Absa’s logo [95]. Reasons given by Barclays about-turn was the rand’s devaluation, South Africa’s slowing growth, and risks of corruption and misconduct in Africa [BizNews] [96]. Fin24 said that this is set to be the biggest disinvestment in South Africa since the mid-1980s [97], while Alec Hogg said that sceptics are concerned the Barclays sale will spark a similar exodus [98].

By the end of 2018, if all of Zuma’s plans were realised, the SA economy would have collapsed, as we would have long passed junk status; domestic and international companies would be rapidly divesting - possibly requiring the introduction of exchange controls - as the rand plummeted; and socio-political unrest would spiral.

With the collapse of the economy, social grant payments would cease, or become meaningless as they are eroded by massive inflation.

The Gupta-controlled Infinity Media Networks (Infinity), which includes holdings by Duduzane Zuma, applied for a free-to-air broadcast licence from the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa). However, the City Press reported in February 2016 that a leaked legal opinion commissioned by Icasa warned the regulator that awarding the tender to Infinity would be “in contravention of the principle of legality, and advised it to reject Infinity’s bid [99].

Meanwhile, eTV was granted by the High Court leave to appeal an earlier ruling that allowed the communications ministry to implement non-encrypted digital television [100]. With non-encryption set-top boxes (decoders), independent free-to-air broadcasters like eTV will find it difficult to operate (thus removing any competition for the Gupta-controlled Infinity TV station). In giving his ruling, the High Court Judge said that the digital migration process would affect the vast majority of people in the country and was a matter of national importance [101].
For his post-budget briefing, finance minister Pravin Gordhan refused to attend the Gupta-owned New Age sponsored breakfast show on SABC. Instead the briefing was broadcast by SABC directly, and eNCA [102][103]. 

While Zuma is dreaming of starting construction of the 9 600MW nuclear power plant programme in 2019, and having an operational nuclear enrichment plant, in reality taxes would no longer be able to fund the most basic of government services. At this stage SA would need an IMF bailout, as foreign debt would not be an option.

Zuma’s dream that China and Russia will seamlessly take over investment formerly held by the West, is rudely replace with the reality that the loss of trade agreements with the West would result in the collapse of many industries, but particularly vehicle manufacturing in South Africa, except for plants owned and operated by the Chinese for their models. The Russians and Chinese would move into the other areas of the devastated economy, but they would most likely not provide the same level of investment or employment opportunities.

The assumption that the 9 600MW nuclear build programme is completed in 2030 as planned, contradicts studies which found it took on average 13.8 years to complete reactors that should have taken four to six years [104]. Thus the building of the 9 600MW nuclear power plants would most likely consist of years of delays, as well as the potential for environmental concerns, health and safety scares, tender scandals, and ballooning costs. And, if or when completed, it would result in exorbitant electricity costs, stifling what little economic growth there is, if any.

Earth shattering

Zuma has been seriously weakened politically [105], and according to Carol Paton of Business Day, “In a growing number of quarters in the ANC, there is a new-found appetite to bring Mr Zuma to heel and a growing conviction that his leadership is bad for the country and the party.” [106]

But, it would be unwise to underestimate Zuma. As Paton cautioned, “It would be foolish to assume from this that Mr Zuma has lost his control of the ANC’s national executive committee — it remains his stronghold. And the security establishment is also firmly behind him.”[107]

Steven Friedman (director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy) noted in Business Day that the security cluster and intelligence services have played an excessive role in Zuma’s presidency. This is not surprising, considering Zuma was schooled in the “security world” and was the head of ANC intelligence. The implication of this, though, as Friedman highlights, is that “the patronage barons and the securocrats are the two groups in the governing party and government most unaffected by what happens in the marketplace.” This impervious, cloak and dagger outlook perhaps explains the naivety of Zuma’s game plan; his underestimation of the influence of the market; and, his failure to recognize the vulnerability of the country’s economy[108]. It also may explain why, as William Gumede (associate professor at the Wits School of Governance), wrote in IOL, that “The president dismissed the market response [to his firing of Nene] as an ‘overreaction’ and as a ‘#ZumaMustFall’ conspiracy by ‘big business’ to bring down his presidency.” (The problem with spooks is that they so easily spook themselves with conspiracy theories.)  Gumede added that, “The harsh reality is that the market, its institutions and actors cannot simply be dismissed, rejected or ignored”[109][110][111].  And yet Zuma continues to do all three. As Friedman observed, Zuma “operates politically much as a security operator would, far more concerned with how to stay one step ahead of the "enemy" than with trying to achieve something for the country.”[112]

(With South Africa’s low growth prospects, increasing inflation, a severe drought, potential for a ratings downgrade to junk status, and an unfriendly emerging market environment, the last thing we need is political intrigue.)

Although the forced appointment of Pravin Gordhan shifted the ANC back into balance, “the tenderpreneur faction has not ‘lost’ and is now fighting back”, said economist Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura [Cape Times][113].

It was therefore inevitable that a pressure point was going to appear within government and the ANC, and it has, between finance minister Gordhan and the Zuma-appointed SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane[114][115]. And neither is budging. They can’t.

On the one side of the divide is Gordhan, who is determined to head off what he described as a group of people who are not interested in the economic stability of the country and the welfare of the people, and that “it seems they are interested in disrupting institutions and destroying reputations” [Fin24][116].
While on the other side is Moyane, who is allegedly the keeper of secrets most foul. As Max du Preez wrote, “One of the keys, perhaps the main key, to the Sars hostility towards finance minister Pravin Gordhan is a dossier in the safe at Sars headquarters containing dynamite allegations of corruption, fraud, front companies and foreign bank accounts against prominent benefactors of President Jacob Zuma” [News24][117]. (Even if there is no actual physical ‘dossier’, the implications still hold true.)

Another key reason for the hostilities is Moyane’s restructuring of Sars, which the SACP warned in a statement could be for “entirely parasitic ends”, especially for high-income individuals and corporations, where settlements would be done behind closed doors, inviting all kinds of manipulation [Business Day][118][119].

The Gordhan-Moyane point of impact is creating a fault-line within the ANC and Alliance partners, forcing people to choose sides: either they are with Gordhan, or against him – which is a politically correct way of saying: either they are against Zuma, or with him. As Paton wrote, “It’s no secret that this is a proxy war between Mr Gordhan, who presided over the establishment of SARS, and Mr Zuma.” [120]

According to senior leaders of the party, the ANC’s support for the embattled Gordhan was “unquestionable”, noted Natasha Marrian in Business Day [121].

However, when it comes to challenging Zuma directly, political analyst Shadrack Gutto said about the ANC, "There are a lot of career politicians. They don't have the courage and ability to come forward and say enough is enough. And that really says at the moment that the ANC doesn't have a clear leader." [Rand Daily Mail][122] They are all waiting to see in what direction the ground buckles and rises, but eventually they will have to choose where to plant their feet: ZANC or ANC.

Whatever happens, Zuma will soldier on, attempting to maintain his deployment of cadres, in the NPA, the Hawks, the communications ministry, the mineral resources ministry, SARS, SABC, SAA, Necsa, IEC, State Security, Eskom…
Zuma has to fight on, since he has everything to lose, and everything to gain (or so he believes). du Preez wrote - if Zuma’s pawns fall, he will face his worst nightmare: prosecution on corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering charges [123].

This makes Zuma exceedingly determined; however, it also makes him just as vulnerable. For instance, to avoid the potential for impeachment, Zuma conceded in the constitutional court that the public protector’s finding against him for the R246 million security upgrades to his Nkandla home was binding [124]. For those “pawns” who had defended their king to the hilt, they learnt a hard lesson that No. 1 has no qualms sacrificing them in order to save himself [125]. 
The Sunday Times reported that, after Zuma’s U-turn, a senior ANC parliamentarian said, “There is a feeling of fear. No one feels safe. Everyone wonders if they are going to be thrown under the bus next. A breach of trust - that is what it is” [126].

Daylight robbery

In the past, Zuma has shown exceeding patience. Yet, interestingly, he is turning up the heat on Gordhan so soon after the (forced) appointment. The fact that Zuma is acting with such haste, suggests an air of desperation.

Proposals for the nuclear programme are meant to be presented this month by vendor companies, but, with the programme being moved to the office of the IPP, perhaps Zuma feels the 9 600MW deal - upon which so much rides - is slipping away from him, especially with Gordhan at the helm (who is well aware of the country’s perilous situation).

In addition, if the constitutional court finds Zuma violated the constitution, then calls for his impeachment will follow. To avoid this, Zuma’s position would have to be unassailable.

Some of his “pawns”, meanwhile, are being ring fenced. Court cases by the DA are pending against his cadres in the NPA, and against Motsoeneng at the SABC. While, Gordhan has made his intentions clear that SAA (and its seeming merger with other state-owned airlines) will be governed by a new board, spelling the end of Dudu Myeni and her cohorts in SAA [127]. (According to the Sunday Times, Gordhan personally  informed Zuma of Myeni’s impending removal [128].)"The first time the president ignored him and after some time he said it again. This time the president simply responded that he had heard him. He never said yes or no, or asked why," a source close to the situation told the Sunday Times.)

Gordhan has also ordered treasury to investigate all of Eskom’s coal supply contracts, including those with Gupta-linked companies [129].

Therefore, Zuma’s game plan of awarding the 9 600MW nuclear programme to Russia, taking advantage of the resulting tenderpreneur opportunities, grabbing a stake in SAA and other SOEs, and having total command of SABC, may all be failing.

As determined as Zuma is, events will probably overtake him and he will no longer be in control. When that happens, he will be forced to choose to either defy his enemies in broad daylight, or scorch his allies.

In the meantime, Judith February of the Institute for Security Studies wrote in the Daily Maverick, “Already we are feeling the effects of this battle spilling into the public sphere as the rand took another tumble in a jittery environment for emerging markets.” [130]

Ground changer

The Gordhan-Moyane rift will be the epicentre of an earthquake that will grow in intensity, and eventually rupture into the open. There is just too much at stake: on the one side a “kleptocracy” [131] with untold riches and power for the Zuma elite (but in reality the country’s destruction); and on the other, South Africa’s constitutional democracy, hard-won rights and freedoms, and a genuine chance for a “better life for all”.

This is a battle over control of the ANC and the country, with two divergent paths. There is no compromise to be had.

A seismic ground shift is inevitable; it is just a matter of time.



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[111] http://www.fin24.com/Economy/people-overreacted-to-nenes-sacking-says-zuma-20160110

[112] http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/columnists/2016/03/02/zuma-as-a-former-spy-is-important-in-understanding-the-moyane-gordhan-battle

[113] http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/its-jz-vs-pravin-1990882

[114] http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2016/02/29/as-forces-rally-behind-gordhan-zuma-is-increasingly-vulnerable

[115] http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-02-26-gunning-for-gordhan-will-the-real-anc-please-stand-up-please-stand-up/#.VtQJ2I9OKUl

[116] http://www.fin24.com/Economy/gloves-off-between-gordhan-and-disruptors-20160226

[117] http://www.news24.com/Columnists/MaxduPreez/the-sars-dossier-that-could-spell-trouble-for-zuma-and-friends-20160301

[118] http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2016/02/29/gordhan-receives-more-support

[119] http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2016/02/29/pravin-gordhan-can-t-be-fired-right-now-but-he-can-be-ignored

[120] http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2016/02/29/as-forces-rally-behind-gordhan-zuma-is-increasingly-vulnerable

[121] http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2016/02/29/gordhan-receives-more-support

[122] http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2016/02/29/jacob-zuma-can-save-south-africa-by-supporting-pravin-gordhan

[123] http://www.news24.com/Columnists/MaxduPreez/the-sars-dossier-that-could-spell-trouble-for-zuma-and-friends-20160301

[124] http://mg.co.za/article/2016-02-09-concessions-in-concourt-as-zuma-accepts-nkandla-report-binding

[125] http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2016/02/14/ANC-outrage-over-Zumas-Thuli-U-turn

[126] http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2016/02/14/ANC-outrage-over-Zumas-Thuli-U-turn

[127] http://www.fin24.com/Economy/is-saas-myeni-facing-gordhans-axe-20160228

[128] http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2016/02/28/Its-war-Gordhan-Zuma-rift-brings-junk-status-nearer

[129] http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2016/02/28/Its-war-Gordhan-Zuma-rift-brings-junk-status-nearer

[130] http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Eskom/molefe-on-eskom-coal-deals-probe-we-have-nothing-to-hide-20160222

[131] http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2016-02-28-anc-a-house-divided/#.VtVS_I9OKUk

[132] http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/businesstimes/2016/02/25/SA-at-risk-of-kleptocracy-warns-Gordhan

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