'Zuma is a bitter man who is leaving behind a deeply divided ANC and economically damaged state compared to the one he inherited from his predecessors'.
Opposition parties, trade unions and political analysts welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s resignation last night, saying it could be a catalyst for an improved South Africa.
Political analyst Daniel Silke described Zuma as a bitter man who is leaving behind a deeply divided ANC and economically damaged state compared to the one he inherited from his predecessors.
Silke said Zuma’s legacy would be remembered by the damage he caused to the alliance and of polarising the ANC .
“He is leaving behind an organisation whose fundamentals has been severely damaged.
“Ethics in government are simple a pale shadow of what it was under Mandela and Mbeki administrations,” said Silke.
Silke said when he watched Zuma on SABC yesterday afternoon he saw an aggrieved man.
“He is angry and clearly he is fearful of what could unfold once he leaves office,” said Silke.
He said ethics in the government were “very very low”. He said under Zuma the ANC had damaged state institutions “through pursuing narrow political ends”.
“In the last decade had been incoherent or non-existent economic policy and that had led to the resumption of economic decline,” he said.
He said when Zuma succeeded Mbeki as the head of state he had portrayed himself as pro-poor.
“But we have more poor in South Africa than in the previous years. This had been an economic disaster for South Africa over the last decades or so.
“He inherited a reasonably well functioning state under Thabo Mbeki, there was a technocratic aspect that he inherited with state departments functioning relevantly efficient under Mbeki.
“Even though there were policy challenges under Mbeki, but we just had nothing in the last 10 years. We had regression, and we lost almost a decade in South Africa ,” he said.
Political analyst Bukani Mngoma blamed the previous NEC for Zuma’s “defiance” saying they had used their numbers to defend him from being held accountable despite the reputational damage to the party he had caused.
“I differ with his obsession of saying prove me wrong in a disciplinary inquiry. If Mbeki had done something wrong, was he subjected to a disciplinary process? The answer is no. Therefore I don’t understand why he feels he needs to be subjected to DC,” said Mngoma.
Trade union federation Cosatu, which has called for disciplinary measures against Zuma, demanded that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa exclude any compromised and tainted leaders of its alliance partner in his new cabinet.
Ramaphosa is widely expected to replace Zuma.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said all ministers under a cloud of corruption and mismanagement should step aside. He listed Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who has been found wanting in the strategic sector since his appointment by Zuma in September 2015, and Zwane’s counterpart in Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who has presided over the social grants crisis.
Pamla said Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has overseen the bankrupting of the department and the water crisis that has engulfed the country.
Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi also came under fire from Cosatu, after it emerged that she leaked confidential cabinet documents to the controversial Gupta family.
“The Zuma administration has been an incubator of rot,” Pamla said.
Future South Africa, a politically nonpartisan coalition of civil-society organisations, and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse also ratcheted up the pressure, calling for the removal of members of Zuma’s cabinet who were advancing the president’s state capture programme.
The ministers include Malusi Gigaba (Finance), Lynne Brown (Public Enterprises), Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins and David Mahlobo (Energy).
However, no wholesale changes are likely to be made in the cabinet if Ramaphosa is elected president today, according to sources close to Ramaphosa. Sources said he was likely to make changes to only 10 cabinet posts.
“We would not make no less than 10 changes and among those facing the axe is the controversial Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. He is also going to remove Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane and others with close Gupta ties.
“Ramaphosa is definitely going to shift David Mahlobo as minister of energy to a different ministerial post. And the Minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, will be removed from his position.
“The ANC president wants to assure the country and the international community that South Africa was not ready for a nuclear deal,” one of the government sources said.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan should be brought back into the cabinet because they were fired for challenging Zuma, the leader added.
SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said Ramaphosa should know where to “tick, fix and improve”.
The EFF said its Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema alongside its leadership would brief the media on Zuma’s resignation at midday today.
On Twitter Malema said “Thank you fighters, stay focus (sic)” to his follower. EFF Member of Parliament Floyd Shivambu tweeted “Let the man follow (sic) on his sword” followed by an emoji of a sword, before later exclaiming “He’s gone!! Good Riddance!”.
The party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also had his fair share to say when Zuma had resigned.
He tweeted the EFF’s logo with the caption: “This is the generational flag that swept the inevitable winds of change. Those who swear allegiance to it and its mission know that today is a step to an even bigger victory. Economic Freedom in our lifetime,” Ndlozi wrote.
IFP MP Narend Singh said Zuma’s resignation came after unbearable pressure from all sides and within his own party, who had supported a motion of no confidence in him that had been scheduled for this afternoon.
“He saved himself and his cabinet the humiliation of being asked to leave in a motion of no confidence which definitely would have been carried today,” Singh said.
“We know Jacob Zuma for a long time he would never have gone down without a fight and he fought to the bitter end, but the pressure on him from all sides caused him to do that (resign).
“He would have been removed today by us in parliament and he saved himself the embarrassment and humiliation,” Singh said.
Mmusi Maimane, Democratic Alliance leader, said they were rejoicing with all South Africans “as the long, painful decade of Zuma’s presidency” reached its end.
“Jacob Zuma did untold harm to our country. More people are unemployed than ever before, and more people live in poverty than when he came into office.
“On his watch, corruption has been allowed to flourish to the point of nearly destroying our country and completely capturing the state and prosecution system. That will forever be his shameful legacy,” said Maimane.
He said the ANC’s next step should be to fire “corrupt individuals”. Maimane labelled the ruling party’s deputy president David Mabuza, secretary-general Ace Magashule and spokesperson as those deserving to get the axe from the ANC.
The South African Federation of Trade unions issued a statement today saying they welcome Zuma’s resignation.
“This is long overdue! Zuma betrayed the working class of this country. He conned many into believing that he had the working class’s interests in his heart, but he proved through his actions that he is the most self-centered and self-serving leader only concerned about his self-preservation,” the statement read.