The latest announcement from Luthuli House came as a much bigger surprise than any of the recent announcements from the Union Buildings. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has been ordered by her party to reverse the re-appointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO. While controversial decisions or appointments have become the norm in government circles, this one failed to stick.
Since President Jacob Zuma’s midnight cabinet reshuffle, the governing party has, for no apparent reason, made a number of ‘acceptable’ political decisions. It became more than apparent that the ANC is disintegrating when Pravin Gordhan was removed from his post. But this only begs the question: what has led to this sudden decisiveness?
Molefe received a warm welcome at the power utility on Monday morning, but it now seems he too might be remembered as a ‘weekend special’. And this is not the only announcement to be met with a gasp.
Shortly after his appointment, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula abandoned his predecessor’s court application to appeal a ruling which found Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza’s appointment invalid. Mbalula has subsequently replaced him, resulting in a legal tit for tat between the two. Similarly, the newly appointed Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo announced she would no longer be reviewing the Public Protector’s report into the SABC. Meanwhile, her colleague over at the Department of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi will not appeal a High Court ruling against the nuclear build programme. Instead, she announced a new approach to acquiring nuclear energy.
It appears that in the wake of President Zuma’s latest blow to the survival of his own party, the ANC has, without his assistance, started addressing some of the biggest political controversies facing the country. This does not imply that the liberation movement suddenly has its fingers back on the pulse of South Africa. It rather suggests that it has become apparent to some of those in the ANC that while there is insignificant political will to rid the movement of the rot, it can still score political points on other fronts.
Battles between the existing factions within the ANC could also be playing out before South Africans’ eyes. Considering the fact that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Brian Molefe, and Berning Ntlemeza have either been linked to the Guptas or described as being close to the president, it is clear that Zuma played an insignificant, if any, part in these decisions.
(For all we know, these decisions could have come from the ‘forces’ trying to overthrow South Africa’s democratically elected government. But I would not entertain that notion by the State Security Minister.)
Twitter appears to be the latest theatre of war in the fight for the ANC. Following the directives given to Brown, party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa took on ANN7, the Gupta owned news network (if one would go so far as to call them as such).
ANN7 reported its sources claimed Kodwa’s statement in which the party condemns the decision to re-appoint Molefe as head of Eskom was not authorised. Days later, the ANC issued the order to Brown. It appears ANN7’s sources lied.
“Breaking News : I feel your pain at this moment, you will never capture ANC through lies and deception,” read Kodwa’s reply to the network’s tweet. ANN7 has since removed the tweet in which it claims that Kodwa was out of line.
Whether this is an attempt by the ANC to prove that it is listening to South Africans, or a fight between factions to take control before December is still unclear. What has become abundantly clear is that the ANC is now aware of what South Africans have been warning since August, when millions of voters showed a specific (and inappropriate) finger to the party: The ANC faces a serious threat of losing power in 2019.