President Jacob Zuma is becoming increasingly isolated and facing opposition from the top layers of the ANC – all while opposition parties are expected to pile additional pressure on him after his latest cabinet reshuffle, the Sunday Times reports.
The paper cited party insiders saying that there has been a complete breakdown of trust between Zuma and three of the ANC’s top 6 – namely deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary general Gwede Mantashe, and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize.
The insiders claimed that Zuma could not consult with any of the ANC leaders over the reshuffle, because they could not be trusted – as evidenced by the fact that the media had received all the information about the reshuffle, despite only the aforementioned officials being involved in discussions during the week.
Following Zuma’s reshuffle, Mantashe said that the ANC heads were merely ‘informed’ about Zuma’s plans, and there was no consultations, while Ramaphosa made his objections clear.
Mkhize later said that Zuma’s actions showed that it was clear that the ANC was no longer the center of power, as its top leadership could no longer hold the president to account.
Zuma’s actions “deprived the leadership collective of its responsibility to advise politically on executive matters,” the Sunday Times quoted him as saying.
“Ordinarily, this is how leadership takes collective responsibility for decisions made and as such is comfortable to own all the decisions taken in the interest of the ANC and South Africa.”
Beyond the three ANC leaders, Zuma is also facing open opposition from the ANC’s alliance partner, the SACP, who have called for the president to resign.
Opposition parties, the EFF and the DA are also targeting Zuma, with the former seeking a court order to have the president impeached, and the latter moving forward with yet another motion of no confidence in Parliament.
Civil groups are also kicking up dust over the reshuffle with a number of protests having already taken place, and more in the works.
Despite all the noise, analysts believe that Zuma holds enough power within the ANC – particularly holding majority support within the party’s NEC – that he will likely survive any attempts to have him removed.