A group of organisations on Monday called on KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi to arrest President Cyril Ramaphosa for the alleged crimes he committed when he visits the province at the weekend.
The ANC in the province is expected to hold its ninth conference from Friday and Ramaphosa is expected to close the conference on Sunday.
Sacked ANC member Carl Niehaus and member Nkosentsha Shezi convened the march to the KwaZulu-Natal police headquarters in Durban to deliver a list of grievances to Mkhwanazi.
The memorandum was titled “Arrest president Ramaphosa”.
“Basically we are here to make sure that Cyril Ramaphosa is arrested and we have instructed the Hawks to arrest him immediately he sets his foot in KZN or within their jurisdiction in the province," president of the People’s Revolutionary Movement Nhlanhla Buthelezi said.
This comes a few days after the ANC's alliance partners – the SACP and Cosatu – banded together and called for the arrest of all politicians implicated in corruption, particularly those from the governing party.
In an unprecedented move by the SACP and Cosatu since the formation of the alliance in 1990, they stated that their continued association with a tainted governing party was eroding their credibility as entities that represent workers and the poor.
Despite not naming him directly, their call further dampens ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa's chances of being re-elected. Until the end of June, Ramaphosa was considered a shoo-in for a second term as ANC leader, but his chances were being tainted by allegations of wrongdoing arising from the theft of money at his Phala Phala farm.
Delivering Cosatu's message of support on Thursday, on day two of the SACP elective congress in Boksburg, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi did not mince her words. She called on law enforcement agencies to arrest all high-profile politicians implicated in serious crimes, regardless of their positions.
According to her, the alliance cannot remain as it has been, given that Cosatu and the SACP are organisations championing the plight of the working class and the poor. She said they ought not be associated with a governing party whose leadership was out to serve its own interests.
Losi said: "There can be no unity with criminals. Those who have broken the law must go to prison, no matter their status in life."
This vote of no confidence in the ANC under Ramaphosa's leadership was a blow to his chances of being re-elected, given that Cosatu was one of his biggest backers leading up to the 2017 ANC elective conference.
Delegates at the packed Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg erupted into chants of "Phala Phala" as Losi said that "anyone, regardless of their status", should be arrested and go to jail if they had committed a criminal offence.
She also called for the speedy prosecution of all high-profile politicians implicated in wrongdoing, adding that this would deter others who were meant to serve the public from going down the same path.
Losi said: "In fact, the failure of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), SAPS and judiciary to ensure that the most senior criminals among us go to jail, is exactly why the nation, movement and workers are in these crises."
While Losi did not directly mention the ANC president, it was clear from the chants of the SACP delegates that their dissatisfaction was directed at Ramaphosa in connection with the Phala Phala debacle.
This comes at just the wrong time for Ramaphosa, who faces a leadership challenge in the ANC in December. His anti-corruption campaign within the party has not prospered, and Zuma’s supporters staged riots that killed hundreds when he was jailed.
There’s a lot that’s wrong with this story. Arthur Fraser, the former spy chief who brought the complaint against Ramaphosa, is a close ally of Zuma’s. The South African president does hold regular cash auctions of his prize Ankole cattle and various game animals at his farm, but why would he hide the cash in pillows? Tax avoidance?
This is a man who has sat on literally dozens of boards and is allegedly worth $450 million. If he wants to avoid taxes, he has lawyers aplenty; he doesn’t need sofa cushions. The whole “burglary” operation, and especially the source and the timing of the “complaint,” smells like a political sting.
Nevertheless, Ramaphosa is in deep trouble.
It’s less lurid than Zuma’s route to great wealth via partnership with Indian “entrepreneurs” in a project of “state capture,” but both men’s riches come from their ties to the ANC. To the average voter in Alexandra township, the two men will look exactly the same.
That is why the ANC will probably lose its majority in Parliament in the 2024 election, after 30 years in power. High time, really, even though nobody knows what’s coming out of the box next.