The South African political landscape remains a volatile and pregnant one. We are two days away from the much-made-of August 8, vote of no-confidence. There have been seven before this. 

This one is slightly different because we see before our own eyes a full-blown and heavily sponsored campaign at hand that seeks to culminate in the vote of no-confidence.

One cannot help but assume there is money being thrown around on this one.

2017 marks an elective year for the ANC and as always we have contenders.

The difference this year is that we have, at this stage of the race, more than the usual two contenders. We have seen a mushrooming of potential contenders for high office on the one hand and on the other hand some Members of Parliament who in recent months have emerged as vocal voices.

In the case of the presidential contenders, they are entitled to be in contention as a democratic ANC at organisational level affords.

In the case of parliamentarians, they too have the right to speak, yet that right must be cognisant and made to stand within the circumference of the rightful organisational structures.

The interesting dynamic in our current discourse of ANC high-office contenders and a few vocal ANC MPs is the salience of their scripted choice as to what anchors their personal campaigns, namely Jacob Zuma.

It appears their personal, or shall we say “conscience choices”, are less in what we are made to believe of moral rectitude, new awakenings of sanity, even a sense of convicted morality evidenced in a confirmed selflessness, but perhaps in pure and utter interest of self and future political survival.

It would seem the common means that some contenders for high office along with an assortment of MPs have chosen to have their campaigns fly is interestingly the ANC president.

What these clever politicians quickly realised is there is currency in making Zuma the target of your attack, the subject of question and the raison d’etre for all ANC and South Africa’s problems.

Therefore red-carding Zuma, repeating the accusations against Zuma, naturally endears you to the so-called holy ones as opposed to the evil ones.

Our scripted narrative communicates natural demons and angels and some are beyond question whilst others are always to be suspected.

It would appear that Jacob Zuma is used to give some a reason to campaign for high office since he is the central theme for their respective campaigns. In a democratic setting we naturally expect contenders for high office to have a core message, theme and carefully relevant policy pursuit that would inform their campaigns to win the hearts of those who will decide their relevance or not.

Is the infamous Bell Pottinger advising some contenders to just go after Zuma and you have the media forgiving you and showering you with love? We have seen this to varying degrees: Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign attests a measured but visible one; for Matthews Phosa this is his only weapon or tool; Zweli Mkhize is mumbling the same; Lindiwe Sisulu in recent days after Phosa is the most vocal and is gravitating to this as her benchmark for a campaign.

One expects candidates to have a theme, to tell us why they are the best candidates to lead the ANC. What we get in turn is a glaring one-dimensional focus on the ANC president, which of course gains some natural airtime and a frivolous endearment from a media that as far back as 1994 decided its role was never to support a black-led SA.

Over time this same media grew bolder and more arrogant to show its defiance and ultimately this campaign has found traction with some black constituencies, namely elites, who consider themselves the barometer of what leading South Africa means. We somehow allow candidates with nothing to offer in authenticity but take their cue from the opposition ideology and tactics, to run for high office on nothing but Zuma.

We are a very forgiving nation because we easily forgive the wrongs of those who contend for high office; as long as we have a common enemy we can be friends and that friendship may be built on air.

It warrants asking those in contention why they have challenges with the amended Mining Charter? I am still waiting to hear contenders explain how Radical Economic Transformation will be implemented in a practical sense.

Beyond the Zuma topic, we hear nothing about a plan for society that will create jobs; we are misled to believe that as soon as Zuma leaves, the economy will jump back to life, and that the much-needed jobs will appear from space, that inequality that defines us as a nation in crudeness of expression, will all be a thing of the past as soon as Pravin Gordhan is returned to the finance ministerial position.

Corruption will die a natural death is what they pontificate.

While some contenders have made Zuma their core focus in absence of a true discernable personal visionary plan of solutions for SA, we give them a free pass in not keeping them accountable since they served with the one they accuse today in singularity.

It appears the contenders are only willing to share the glory of the story and not the shame of the lame.

Apart from the contenders, some MPs too have seen an opportunity and hope they will be remembered by some benevolent politician in and outside the ANC and roped in to a place that they may have deemed of significance if the campaign of the opposition from within and without the ANC succeeds.

They all have determined not to respect the structures of the ANC, to raise their concerns instead in public and in the media and cash in on their new fame.

After all, this campaign is run by well-heeled non-profit organisations resourced by capital and, may I categorically add, white monopoly capital.

The hoped-for and orchestrated fulcrum moment for most of those who make Jacob Zuma their means to an end: August 8, 2017. They hope with all the marrow in their collective bones that Zuma becomes the victim of a vote of no-confidence, because then they will be the heroes and “sheroes” and this very economy will take care of them.

If this fails, they have a back-up plan they hope will come into play once a Ramaphosa candidacy holds that they would then early in 2018 recall the SA president.

The obsession to have Jacob Zuma removed has reached fever pitch and the money to make it happen is rolling, because this is no cheap campaign.

Some time ago we heard that Zuma was offered R20million by Mbeki to go away silently. In this season we hear of R5.2 billion, and some are even saying they are willing to pay anything to see him go. Clearly the “Zuma stock” has climbed meteorically.

I cannot help but ask why would business be so interested to see the back of Zuma, what threat is he for their status quo? I have much earlier contended anyone that can get whites to march is doing something right.

It’s clear there is a huge economy around Zuma’s potential removal. If, therefore, there is this very real economy, can we also rightfully guess that those who dare to speak against Zuma from within the ANC either share or hope to share in this economy, if they are not already taken care of, with intent of being handsomely paid and rewarded once the deal is finalised?

Is it no wonder there is a contest at contender level to outdo each other in proving the meridian of anti-corruption, the voice against corruption as attached to Jacob Zuma.

Why would MP Makhosi Khoza share with the media her personal request to have the president removed when she has not raised that inside the organisation she joined as an individual and voluntarily? What will make MP Mondli Gungubele, without us soliciting his views, tell us all how he will vote, if it’s not to place him in the centre of the debate? He tells us he will vote with his conscience come Tuesday. Can we trust his new conscience or is this someone still angry for losing the mayoral chain in Africa’s first developing metropolis?

What makes Pravin Gordhan tells us he will vote with his conscience come Tuesday, whatever that means?

Are we casually deceived to think we have moralists all of a sudden? There is an economy that flows around being anti-Zuma? Some have decided this is their chance.

An even bigger concern is if capital is so willing to pay both a sitting president and plausibly contenders and MPs, why would it not capture the state with the same resources in directing their choice for high office?

* Ramalaine is a political analyst & columnist.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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