Lovemore Show back in the Boland

That a single person can hold an entire democracy to ransom, simply beggars belief. Despite the highest court in the land finding that Jacob Zuma broke his oath of office by disregarding the findings of the Public Protector over Nkandla, he prevails.

Calls for him to step down by senior members of the ANC – Mathews Phosa and Ahmed Kathrada most recently – have fallen on deaf ears.

Opposition parties are united in demands for him to be impeached or for the ANC to recall him.

The DA’s motion of impeachment will end up being debated and defeated, and demands for his recall have already been rebuffed by the ANC. Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe nailed the ANC’s colours to the mast after the Constitutional Court judgment, when he said the ANC must do what is best for the party.

Ergo, the party is more important than the country, but we already know that, because Mr Zuma told us so in November last year, in an address to the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference. Remember? “I argued one time with someone who said the country comes first and I said as much as I understand that, I think my organisation, the ANC, comes first.”

That Mr Zuma “apologised” on Friday night is academic, because he very cleverly avoided acknowledging accountability for what happened, instead placing blame on the very people who supported him in his perfidy over Nkandla. (It is worth noting, that in his “apology” he avoided acknowledging that he had broken his oath of office, or that Parliament had acted illegally in not holding him to account.)

But the focus of our attention as a nation now needs to shift from Jacob Zuma, to the ANC, because it is the ANC which moved heaven and earth to ensure that we find ourselves where we now are.

When confronted with strident – and entirely justifiable – calls for Mr Zuma to step down (or be recalled or impeached), the ANC top six had to figure out what would do more damage to its electoral prospects later this year; keeping him in office until after the election, or pushing him out of office now.

That there was no moral component to the debate is self-evident. It’s not at all about what is good for the country, it’s about what is good for the ANC.

Aside from a national general council which only happens once in five years, the NEC is the highest decision-making body of the ANC, so it wields the power, and decides whether Jacob Zuma stays or goes.

The tedious technical argument that, unlike Thabo Mbeki at the time of his recall, Mr Zuma is president of the ANC and the country and therefore cannot be recalled, is misdirection. If the forces in the National Executive Committee (NEC) who want Jacob Zuma out were in a majority, he would already have been pushed onto his sword in the wake of 9/12, the Gupta ‘state capture’ revelations, or the Constitutional Court judgment that he broke his oath of office. Instead, the NEC consistently comes out in support of Mr Zuma, after each fresh calamity.

What exactly is it about the man, that allows him to sidestep every bullet that comes his way, while the country virtually implodes? Why is it that no matter what he does, the forces which have the capacity to get rid of him, instead consistently keep him in office?

Perhaps the clue to this conundrum lies in something ANC Women’s League president and NEC member Bathabile Dlamini said at the time of Mcebisi Jonas’s revelation about the Gupta family offering him the finance minister portfolio. She suggested at the time, that ANC members had best fight their battles “not through shouting outside because all of us in the NEC have our small skeletons and we don’t want to take out all skeletons”.

This is the ANC which insists that it is the only party in South Africa which can bring about the promised better life for all.

This is the ANC which has driven this country to the very brink politically and economically.

This is the ANC which has ignored every opportunity to set our politics on a path which will drag us back from the brink, preferring instead to support a man who has the party, the country, and every citizen in a choke-hold.

This is the ANC whose president says it will rule until Jesus comes.

This is the ANC which does not deserve a single vote in the upcoming municipal election.