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Release him, nationalise everything in 14 Days

By Kola Omotoso
25 July 2021   |   3:07 am
If ever there was an empty threat I heard it last week. A number of discredited African National Congress members issued an ultimatum to President Cyril Ramaphosa to release former President Jacob Zuma,

Edward Zuma, the son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, (C) gestures to the crowd to move back along with Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members while they gather in front of his father’s home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on July 4, 2021. – On July 3, 2021, hundreds of supporters gathered to show solidarity for former South African president Jacob Zuma outside his Nkandla homestead, as the deadline looms for him to surrender to the authorities. In an unprecedented ruling, the constitutional court told Zuma on June 29, 2021 to hand himself over by Sunday to start a 15-month jail term for contempt of court after he repeatedly refused to give evidence to corruption investigators. (Photo by Emmanuel Croset / AFP)

If ever there was an empty threat I heard it last week. A number of discredited African National Congress members issued an ultimatum to President Cyril Ramaphosa to release former President Jacob Zuma, nationalize all the mines, nationalize all banks, nationalize the Reserve bank. He must do all these nobody within 14 working days and nights. If not, they will do nothing.

It was the Constitutional Court that jailed former President Zuma for contempt of the court. Since that sentence was passed, former President Zuma had asked a lower court to nullify the sentence. The lower court could not. President Zuma petitioned the Constitutional Court to nullify its own judgment. The apex court refused, it did not.

Soon after the former president handed himself over to avoid being arrested rioting and looting started in KZN and Gauteng. Will there be more of these?

The Freedom Charter demanded that in future South Africa all the main economic activities must be nationalized. Plus all land must be returned without compensation. That was in 1952 or thereabouts. By the time negotiation began between Mandela’s ANC and the apartheid government of South Africa, Nelson Mandela had changed his mind about nationalizing anything in the economy. Over the last 27 years, no body and no group of people have been able to nationalize any part of the South African economy.

As for returning land to the original owners without compensation it had been impossible to achieve. And President Cyril Ramaphosa is supposed to click it within 14 days!

To deal with the people rioting and looting, the government asked the SANDF, 2500 of them, to help the police to restore law and order at the estimated cost of R600 million. Some people suggested that a state of emergency be declared.

In contrast a group of senior journalists addressed an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa mainly advising him on the strong arm decisions he should have taken. And when he should have taken those decisions.

Those who gave the ultimatum to President Ramaphosa said they belonged to the revolutionary economic transformation, with the acronym RET. Revolutionary economic transformation is to be contrasted with White Monopoly Capital WMC. So, we have RET fighting WMC. Other groups who identify with RET include Black First Land First and ATM African Transformation Movement. These are all new formations, which came into existence since the setting up of the Zondo Commission. No particular person represents the group until former President Zuma put himself up as the person leading the struggle and that is why he is in trouble with the African National Congress and the leadership of the ANC.

There is the unstated statement that President Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale made their money through Black Economic Empowerment with the acronym of B.E.E, which they interpret as crumbs which white monopoly capital passed on to them. While RET is not supposed to be equivalent to the type of business they and members of their family and their followers are doing with the state – inflating prices, getting payment for undelivered services and such fast money making scams – there is the feeling that the next level of the struggle will be the nationalization of everything. President Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma will continue the revolution, which will come to fruition under presidency of Duduzeni Zuma through the guardianship of the Russians.

Of course, the present Vice President changed sides, did not support Dr. Nkozasana Dlamini-Zuma. Instead, he supported Cyril Ramaphosa. It is still to be revealed what he was promised besides the second most powerful position in the country. Money perhaps? No investigation or possible prosecution of the case or cases against him. That is a story still to unfold into the future. If the stories told in a recent book, Predator Politics: Mabuza, Fred Daniel and the Great Land Scam by Rehana Rossouw, are to be believed, the Vice President has a case or two to answer. If President Jacob Zuma can be made to go to jail who is a Vice President to be beyond prosecutions in South Africa?

Two of the groups giving the ultimatum, Carl Niehous and Andile Lungisa, are on suspension from the party. As the elders are wont to say on such occasions: you are not wanted in a gathering or a game, you want to raise a song or be the referee.

The veteran military wing that Niehous speaks for has been disbanded. Like Ace Magasule who is suspended from his position and sees fit to suspend the president of the party. Ridiculous, laughable and very sad.

Each time there is a major disagreement in the African National Congress, there is a breaking away from the party. In 1959, Sobukwe broke away to form the pan African congress emphasizing the africaness of the African National Congress.

In 2008, Mosiuoa Gerard Patrick “Terror” Lekota broke away to form Congress of the People emphasizing the populistic direction that the party should be going. In 2013, Julius Malema formed the Economic Freedom Fighters. It would seem as if nothing substantial is left to leave the African National Congress. If not why has there not been a breakaway since the beginning of this controversy? Like the great sub-continental break-up and breakaway.

First something broke up from India and it was called Pakistan. That happened in 1947 at the independence of India. What broke away to become Pakistan were East and West Bengal separated by1800 km of Indian territory. In 1971, West Bengal became Bangladesh (land of the Bengalis). Since then nothing has broken away from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Those alienated from the ANC could join any of the existing parties although no party is advertising for people kicked out of their parties for allegation of still to be proved corruption. They could check out of politics completely, although this doubtful.

There is no way that Ramaphosa will accede to the demand of these people without losing the power he spent so much to purchase. And the ANC will not do what those it has expelled from the party ask it to do. Especially since they say they can do nothing if their demands are not met.