Graphic: Wade Geduldt/African News agency (ANA) – Primarily in South Africa where the governing ANC is heading for its elective conference in December, the former minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize upped the ante in his fight to dislodge the incumbent ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
By Sihle Mavuso
Politically, a lot has happened in South Africa and the African continent at large in the past week.
Primarily in South Africa where the governing ANC is heading for its elective conference in December, the former minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize upped the ante in his fight to dislodge the incumbent ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
On the other hand, Ramaphosa was further squeezed by the Phala Phala scandal when national assembly speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced progress in the panel which is tasked with establishing whether or not there are grounds to impeach Ramaphosa for the scandal.
In KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of his coronation Zulu King, Misuzulu KaZwelithini was engulfed by a mini-scandal regarding a “secret meeting” the provincial government had with him.
In the African continent, a lot happened this week. In the neighbouring kingdom of Eswatini, the so-called international solidarity forces stepped up their game of retaliating against the security forces of King Mswati III, which are accused of arbitrarily killing citizens who are fighting for political reforms which threatened the King’s hold on absolute power.
In Nigeria, bandits who make a living out of kidnappings and other crimes continue to kidnap citizens and demand hefty ransoms. The illicit business is booming.
Still determined to get their full freedom from Morocco, the President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, (also known as Western Sahara), Brahim Ghali, visited South Africa to lobby President Cyril Ramaphosa to help the desert country to persuade the United Nations to fulfil a 1991 undertaking to have a referendum on whether they should be ruled by the Kingdom of Morocco or being a standalone country.
On the local front, in the week ahead, factions of the ANC are expected to intensify their campaigns and consolidate their slates to stand a better chance to take over the ANC.
Equally, as the coronation of King Misuzulu in Durban gets closer, the jostling between the ANC and IFP to be seen as most supportive of the King will intensify. Already there is an ongoing fight regarding seating arrangements and how the King should enter the Moses Mabhida stadium and who should be next to him, Ramaphosa or his traditional prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Mkhize, Ramaphosa and the ANC elective conference
With branches still nominating, in the past week, this was one of the most dominant political news. What makes this news more interesting is that despite having the Digital Vibes on his neck, Dr Zweli Mkhize appears to be the only contender who is likely to give Ramaphosa a run for his money.
To clear his path, Mkhize has been persistently knocking on the door of the SIU, asking it to prove its allegations against him or leave him to contest the ANC elections unhindered. He hopes that if the SIU is defeated, his campaign will be bolstered.
In the same breath, the campaign of Lindiwe Sisulu, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and ANC deputy president, David Mabuza, appears to be failing to take off the ground. A few branches are nominating them, thus leaving them with no option but to join forces either with Mkhize or Ramaphosa so that their political future could be secured.
Zwakele Mncwango ditches DA for ActionSA
In the past week, ActionSA made clear its intention to have a presence in KwaZulu-Natal when it announced Zwakele Mncwango as its interim provincial chairperson.
Mncwango recently ditched the DA. His decision to join ActionSA is a big coup for Mashaba as Mncwango was one of the first black leaders to join the DA and helped it to make inroads in townships and rural areas where the ANC used to rule the roost uncontested.
Proving his worth, a few days after Mncwango joined the party of Herman Mashaba, they trekked to Nongoma to introduce themselves and their next political mission to Zulu King, Misuzulu KaZwelithini. That has paved the way for ActionSA to start crisscrossing the province without hindrance. It should be remembered that the Zulu King is a revered figure in KwaZulu-Natal and voters may shun any party that is seen not to recognise his ceremonial role.
Zulu King’s “secret meeting” with KZN provincial government
On Tuesday last week KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube fulfilled her undertaking that she would introduce her cabinet to Zulu King, Misuzulu KaZwelithini.
However, the meeting and introduction were marred by controversy when it emerged that, at some point, the provincial government asked two of the King’s men, Prince Mbongiseni and Prince Thulani to leave the meeting room.
That irked the King’s traditional prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who said that was unheard of as the traditional leader does not hold secret meetings. Buthelezi even reminded the provincial government in all meetings, the King should have someone by his side and that is a long-established royal protocol.
This issue is raising once again the issue of the tug of war around the King. Two weeks ago when deputy president, David Mabuza, visited the King, another royal protocol was breached a later corrected.
The government had excluded Buthelezi from the official programme, raising suspicions that the ANC wanted to “capture the King” and use his influence for the 2024 general elections.
Markus Jooste of Steinhoff fraud free reign nearly coming to an end
After living large for years despite committing one of the largest frauds in the country that cheated civil servants (PIC money invested in Steinhoff) and other investors of their money, the axe partly fell on the man.
The South African Reserve Bank froze some of its assets worth over R1 billion. The frozen assets include a wine farm in the Western Cape and a townhouse in Hermanus.
As expected, the raid and the freezing of the assets drew large cheers as it has always been felt that Jooste was getting away with murder. One of those who hailed the move was Cosatu, the largest labour federation in South Africa, which called on the Hawks and the NPA to now criminally charge the man.
Mavuso is a journalist at www.iol.co.za and writes on current affairs in South Africa and parts of the SADC region.