Disc Dem

Disc Dem

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Hamster Wheel of SA Politics

In the wild, hamsters will run for several miles in a single night, but they obviously can’t do this when confined to a cage. So does the wheel dupe them into believing they are still free, or are they really so dumb they will run around in the same circle for eternity? The answer is they are not so dumb - running is in their DNA so they will use whatever is available to ensure their survival - but what about our own metaphorical hamster wheel, the one that keeps us going around and around in the same circles, doing the same things again and again with the same results?

How many more disappointments is it going to take before we realise that a different strategy is needed to counter Jacob Zuma’s State Capture project? All efforts to date have been directed at removing him as President of the Republic, whether through the High Court, Constitutional Court, Parliament (6 times with one pending), or the ANC’s own NEC (twice). All failing to achieve their objective, with little chance that further legal or political challenges targeted directly at him will enjoy any greater degree of success.

One certainty is that we do not have the luxury of enough time to play a waiting game. We cannot just hope that alles sal reg kom if the ANC lose the next election, so put the “Roll on 2019” mantra back in its box for a while. If Zuma can’t be removed as seems to be the case, then we desperately need an alternative strategy that will at least neutralise some of the damage being done. We need to start thinking differently, and creative thinker Edward de Bono hit the nail on the head when he said “We may need to solve problems not by removing the cause, but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place.”

There are many South Africans capable of finding creative solutions if they put their minds to it, but let me get the ball rolling. It is fairly certain that in the upcoming parliamentary vote of no confidence, ANC MP’s are again likely to toe the party line, secret ballot or not, leaving Zuma in place to continue  plundering the country’s financial resources while decimating social cohesion. Thinking beyond this eventuality, he still needs his captured apparatchiks in place to give effect to his plans. Without compliant ministers he will be frustrated, so is there a way to remove the captured or incompetent ones without throwing the baby out with the bathwater? I believe there may be.

Section 102 (1) of the Constitution says: If the National Assembly, by a vote supported by a majority of its members, passes a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet excluding the President, the President must reconstitute the Cabinet

The Constitutional question is did the writers really intend this clause to be inclusive of the entire Cabinet, or could it perhaps be interpreted to apply to a single member of Cabinet? After all, it does seem a bit silly, does it not, to have to reconstitute the entire Cabinet if it is only a single minister at fault? The thing is, we can be fairly certain that going after Zuma directly is an exercise in futility, but is it possible that a sufficient number of ANC MP’s might be willing to propose or support a vote of no confidence in, for example, Mosebenzi Zwane or Nomvula Mokonyane, Faith Muthambi or Bathabile Dlamini, Lynne Brown or Malusi Gigaba, thereby cutting off the potential for direct access to State resources? It would certainly be less risky for them to depose an incompetent or possibly captured minister rather than the main man, and they can also earn some kudos by being seen to be making a contribution to halting the rot.

Of course, Zuma will just replace deposed ministers with other sycophants, but if anti-Zuma MP’s remain steadfast, at some point the Zupta’s will be fighting on so many fronts, that they must eventually run out of willing sycophants and this war of attrition will be won.

Is it Constitutionally viable?  I don’t know.  Only a Constitutional lawyer can offer an opinion on that, and the Concourt itself is the obvious final arbiter. Will sufficient numbers of ANC MP’s be prepared to grasp this nettle? Again, I don’t know. What I do know is that we have to find ways to circumvent our apparently unassailable president, and I refuse to believe we are dumber than a hamster.

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