South Africa Watch

ANC power struggles brings SA governance to grinding halt


At a multitude of levels governance in South Africa is entering a deep crisis, with the Zupta network the big winner and democracy in mortal danger.

Most ominously, Parliament as the supposed representative of the people, has become an entity of no consequence in all but name. It is in the grip of paralysis.

This fact is best illustrated by news last week that the house of the people’s portfolio committee on public enterprises had its investigation into state capture rendered toothless. Its acting chairperson – ‘acting’ for responsible positions at most spheres having become rather the rule than the exception – informed member MPs there won’t be money for an independent evidence leader.

About this move, MPs from across the political spectrum questioned whether the reluctance to hire a professional from outside Parliament meant that there had been an instruction to undermine the probe from the outset.  Even ANC MP Zukile Luyenga, said: “I must indicate my total dismay at the failure of Parliament to provide the necessary resources for these purposes.”

However, illustrating how the ANC’s factional battles has created a ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ political environment, this ‘budget-move’ might also be intended as a message aimed at National Assembly speaker. Baleka Mbete. Having, apparently on her own, taken the decision to have a secret ballot on a Zuma no-confidence motion, she is reportedly in hot water for missing two meetings with the party’s top structures to explain her decision.

Other speculations, however, have it that she, in consultation with Zuma, decided to follow a ‘calculated risk’ strategy to avoid potential further embarrassing opposition party driven court challenges.

Case study

In a case study of the boycott of ANC MPs of a meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee for Public Service and Administration last week, legal assistant at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Rebecca Sibanda, analysed how the factional battles obstruct parliaments oversight role.

Five ANC MPs refused to attend the meeting because it was chaired by Dr. Makhosi Khoza because of her open criticism of President Zuma and her support for the motion of no confidence.

The meeting was to question Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi, about serious allegations of misuse of funds to the tune of half a million rand, and nepotism.

And, just adding to parliament’s growing lame-duck status, the minister and her director general (DG) of the department did not turn up for the meeting either. Amongst other, she allegedly engaged in R500 000 irregular spending on flying family and frinds to Cape Town to attend her budget speech.  

Before being moved to the portfolio of public service and administration, Minister Muthambi was in the hot seat during the inquiry into maladministration at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) during her tenure as Communications Minister – found by another committee at the time to be "incompetent" in that post.   .

In her new portfolio she reportedly stripped the DG of his powers to appoint staff and appointed family and friends in key positions in the department without following procedures.

      Also read:  Will Zuma go the Africa-way?

                       Southern Africa’s scheming birds of a feather Presidents

Wider problem

In a recent article Biznews wrote: “False proclamations about adhering to the rule of law, toothless commissions of enquiry and blatant contempt of Parliament’s oversight committees–all are now hallmarks of our hapless, corrupt and faction-ridden government.”

A cursory look at a short list of extracts from recent news articles tells the story of how deep and wide, across the full spectrum of the state household this paralysis runs:

  • No Confidence Vote aftermath: ANC moves on Derek Hanekom;
  • Only NEC can replace me as ANC disciplinary chair - Derek Hanekom;
  • Veteran says institution of disciplinary action against former finance minister a symptom of desperation;
  • Grace Mugabe assault probe halted – SAPS;
  • SAA has no place in South Africa, new CEO set up to fail – analyst;
  • Makhosi Khoza: Dissenters support for MONOCO a treasonous act – ANCYL;
  • Suspension notices (on top of mismanaging officials were finally issued this week – Eskom;
  • Hlaudi Motsoeneng evades the court again;
  • SAPS and Hawks generals received a snotklap from the police committee;
  • No witchhunt against MPs please! - ANC Limpopo & Mpumalanga;
  • The ANC's disciplinary circus is about to take on the constitution;
  • ANC MPs' 'treachery' worse than Nkandla;
  • Five years later, we haven’t learnt anything from Marikana;
  • In-fighting escalates at crime intelligence;
  • In a context of State capture, the ‘developmental-State project is almost dead’;
  • Getting rid of Zuma is one thing. Getting rid of his corrupt 'deep state' is another; and
  • If things go wrong for the ANC in the KZN court case about alleged internal vote rigging, December party elective conference, might be delayed by a few months.

It is against this background that one commentator last week wrote: “False proclamations about adhering to the rule of law, toothless commissions of enquiry and blatant contempt of Parliament’s oversight committees –all are now hallmarks of our hapless, corrupt and faction-ridden government.

Against this backdrop, one has to agree with Chris Bateman when he writes in Biznews: “Little wonder Jakkie Cilliers, in his new book, ‘Fate of the Nation,’ coined the phrase; Republic of No Consequence.

And, speculation by some commentators, that the Zuma-network is engineering a crisis to have the 2019 general election postponed or made impossible, might not be as farfetched as most people think.

by Intelligence Bulletin Team

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