Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s allies secured several top posts in the nation’s parliament in a blow to his successor Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to clean up the government and cement his control over the ruling African National Congress.
The ANC’s fielding of dubious figures to head crucial oversight committees will be understood as talking right and acting wrong, with analysts and alliance partners saying this reduces President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “new dawn” to pie in the sky.
Secretary-General Ace Magashule, who announced the names on Wednesday in Cape Town, is a Zuma ally who oversees the day-to-day running of the ANC. He called the nominations a collective decision.
Ramaphosa, who won control of the ANC in December 2017 by a razor-thin margin, still has a tenuous hold over the party because his allies failed to secure other key posts.
With the ANC holding an outright majority in Parliament, the appointment of its picks is a formality.
The list of nominations for leaders of parliamentary portfolio committees, unveiled only a day before Ramaphosa is set to deliver his State of the Nation address, confirmed weekend reports that former president Jacob Zuma loyalists, left out of Ramaphosa’s Cabinet and some implicated in the state capture inquiry, were making a comeback.
This is said to be part of the fightback charge by Zuma loyalists, led by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who himself has a cloud over his head regarding the Gupta-linked Estina dairy farm debacle.
Among those nominated are:
1. Zuma’s former transportation minister, Joe Maswanganyi, to chair the finance committee.
2. Ex-Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi to head the budget appropriations committee.
3. Faith Muthambi, an-ex communications minister who was proposed as chair of the co-operative governance committee.
4. Mosebenzi Zwane, a former mines minister, as head of the transportation committee.
5. Supra Mahumapelo, who quit as premier of the North West province last year after violent protests against his leadership, as chairman of the tourism committee.
Testimony given to a judicial panel that’s probing graft during Zuma’s rule has implicated Muthambi and Zwane in helping businessmen linked to the former president to loot billions of rand from state coffers — allegations they all deny.
The main opposition party has laid criminal charges against Buthelezi in connection with his role in concluding irregular contracts while he was chairman of the nation’s commuter rail service. He denies any wrongdoing.
Political scientist at North West University Andre Duvenhage said the submission of these tainted figures, which flew in the face of Ramaphosa’s efforts to revive the voters’ faith in the party, revealed who was really in charge.
He said the list exposed the power wielded by Zuma and Magashule in the ANC.
The party has shot itself in the foot by fielding figures closely linked to Zuma and the notorious Gupta family.
“This is an area of serious concern. The question is how the ANC agreed to the nominations of these controversial elements, knowing they are implicated in wrongdoing,” Duvenhage said.
“It tells the public that things would continue as normal. There is no new dawn and no future of ending corruption … we are in serious trouble,” he said.
– Citizen / Business Tech