EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Wednesday challenged SACP and Cosatu members in Parliament to vote with the opposition in the upcoming motion of no confidence, as President Jacob Zuma was “beyond repair”.
“Zuma is a kleptomaniac, meaning he is beyond repair as an individual. He cannot but steal,” Ndlozi said at an open forum in Cape Town under the theme “Whithering ANC: Zanufication or renewal (sic)”.
The other speakers included SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin and Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich.
The ANC with Zuma at the helm was incapable of any type of renewal, Ndlozi said.
“The test is not December 2017 and the ANC’s elective conference. The test is in Parliament, now. If we do not remove Zuma now, you will not be able to remove him in December 2017.”
He said it would take about a month for the motion of no confidence in Zuma to come before Parliament, once the Constitutional Court ruled on whether MPs could vote by secret ballot.
If Zuma stayed in his post, the country would spiral into a kleptocratic, despotic regime.
“It’s going to come from within the ANC and the alliance. He will lock you up, if he has to. We have to remove him now, and we debate it after.”
No confidence motion ‘no quick win’
Cronin said the party still supported that Zuma should go, but cautioned against seeing the motion of no confidence as a “quick win”.
Zuma would remain ANC president until December regardless and the party had become the centre of power in the country.
He wasn’t convinced that the motion would succeed, but that even if it did, the ANC would ultimately have the final say in Zuma and his supporters’ fate.
Ehrenreich said that, while Cosatu supported the call for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected ANC president in December, the party needed to address systemic problems.
He admitted the union federation made a mistake by personalising the leadership battle between former president Thabo Mbeki and Zuma.
“Cosatu supported Zuma to centre Mbeki’s policies, but what they got under Zuma was not that,” he said.
“What came about with President Zuma was corruption, enriching himself, his family and his cabal. As a result, Cosatu today is a fraction of what it was.”
‘ANC’s problems can be traced to 1994’
Both Cronin and Ehrenreich earlier told the audience that the crisis the ANC found itself in could be traced back to an economic policy shift.
“The Freedom Charter was the ANC’s election manifesto in 1994, and essentially said we will grow the economy, but through redistribution. That is what we promised our people,” Ehrenreich said.
“But two years into the marriage, the ANC changed from RDP to GEAR, a fundamental difference. It was classic trickle-down economics and was meant to address the problems, which it clearly couldn’t do.”
Cronin said the adoption of a “social-democracy lite” policy in the mid-1990s led to the ANC losing its grip on the second phase of the national democratic revolution.
He said the ANC became the strategic political centre after its Polokwane elective conference in 2007. It had been Mbeki’s desire to make Cabinet and the executive the centre.
“Since 2014, what we’ve seen is this parasitic patronage network becoming reckless, and even more aggressive, with parts of the state against other parts of the state.”
‘New types of politics’
Cronin said the key was to find a new type of politics, led on the ground, as seen in the mass protests over the last few weeks.
Government needed to take race out of the debate about the economy, and discuss socialising it and empowering workers.
He questioned if a political elite using BEE would be able to fix South Africa’s deeper problems even if 80% of the economy were black-owned.
Ehrenreich said Cosatu needed to rebuild and unite workers on a non-partisan basis, and set political affiliations aside.