Monday, 1 May 2017

The end of Jacob Zuma?

Could the broad anti-Zuma protests which are now reaching a crescendo across South Africa, finally be bringing the President close to his CeauČ™escu moment?  

The humiliating and crushing treatment dished out to Zuma at the main Workers’ Day rally in Bloemfontein on the 1st of May where he was prevented from speaking by trade unions members, could finally spell the end of his presidency. This is in addition to several months of calls for his to resignation from leaders across the spectrum, including opposition parties, members of the tripartite alliance – Cosatu and the SACP, ANC veterans, three former South African Presidents and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and even members of his own cabinet.

The significance of Zuma booed and heckled will have emboldened the anti-Zuma elements both within the ANC alliance and in the opposition, especially supporters of the EFF, a party which is frequently thrown out of Parliament when disrupting Zuma's speaches. His rapidly diminishing support-base is now limited to group of financial beneficiaries, assorted sycophants and the Gupta family. The rousing applause that Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa received at a similar venue and his open criticism of Zuma, make it unlikely for the two men to ever appear together at a public venue again. 

When Nicolae CeauČ™escu of Romania, Erich Honecker of East Germany were confronted by hostile and resentful crowds and were seen as powerless to do anything about it, the floodgates finally opened and soon led to their downfall. Zuma should keep these examples in mind in case he is considering an authoritarian response to growing opposition to his Presidency, as Matthews Posa warned he might doing.

In either case, South Africa has moved past the point of no-return, where either the masses in the streets will soon bring down Zuma, or his own Party will do so as an act of self-preservation.  

© Johann van Rooyen, 1 May 2017

Also see the author's other blog at  Residency and Citizenship for Investors