As #ZumaMustFall marches and petitions are gathering momentum, many South Africans are wondering if there are any new leaders within the ruling party worthy to take the helm of our beloved country. Cyril Ramaphosa? Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma? A trend seems to be picking up on social media of reminding people who exactly has helped President Jacob Zuma get into power…and stay there.
Are these the kind of people, it is being asked, that would do any better fixing up the country or would even want to see Zuma removed from power?
Some commenters on social media have pointed out that Deputy President Ramaphosa – who many have pinned as the new hope for South Africa – was one of at least 200 in the African National Congress (ANC) who voted to adopt the report by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko that absolved Zuma of having to “pay back the money” for Nkandla.
This report came after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (who herself has many fans wishing she could be president) had found Zuma and his family had benefited unduly from the upgrades to his home and that he should pay back a portion of the money spent on non-security features.
In August, right after the vote on the police chief’s report, a news story by Aakash Bramdeo listed the names of 200 MPs who signed the report.
Bramdeo pointed out that signers included Ramaphosa, just-ousted Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene – whose sudden removal by Zuma this week has caused SA markets and the rand to tumble and has spurred the #ZumaMustFall movement – as well as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and his deputy, Jeremy Cronin, Trade and Industry Minister Robert Haydn Davies and former agriculture minister in Thabo Mbeki’s office, Angela Thokozile Didiza, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Science and Technology Minister Grace Pandor.
Bramdeo also noted that some cabinet ministers might not have voted because they were away from parliament.
And in the context of lists, another story this week, published in Biznews.com, is titled “Name & Shame: SA’s 137-strong COP delegation. Fuels carbon footprint.” The story notes that instead of sending a team of 10 to the recent climate summit in Paris, South Africa’s government sent a “bloated” team of 137 led by Zuma and Minister of Environment and Water Affairs Edna Molewa.
This at a time of economic turmoil in the country and a drought.
“This obscene expenditure will also burn taxpayers, as many also expect further pain when the budget is delivered next year February,” Biznews said, and listed the names.
A petition on Change.org, calling for Zuma to step down, now has over 110,000 signatures and is growing rapidly. Another petition, launched on Avaaz.org, calls on the National Executive Committee of the ANC to recall Zuma as president of South Africa. It has over 5,000 signatures so far.
#ZumaMustFall marches are also being organised. The first march is at 10am on Wednesday 16 December at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It is described as a gathering of people “peacefully marking their dissatisfaction with a president who does not care for them”.
More formal marches are planned countrywide which will be formally registered and without political affiliation. Announcements are expected on Monday 14 December as to where and when the nationwide mass demonstrations will take place.
If the campaigns are successful and Zuma does indeed fall, let’s hope that his successor becomes SA’s John Magufuli who has taken his country and the world by storm with his strong anti-corruption drive, a powerful force for good that few would have guessed before he became president of Tanzania at the end of October.
In the meantime, as one SAPeople member, Kajil Tilak, says: “If there is one good thing that Zuma is doing for South Africa, it is that for the first time in a very long time, I see so many of my fellow South Africans, regardless of race or religion, finally stand together…”