The only good political news South African citizens crave to hear these days is a shocking announcement of Jacob Zuma, but as serious as the news sounds, not all have stopped to question what future has for the country after Zuma is gone.
As thousands take to the street in series of marches aimed at ousting Zuma, a mobile survey conducted by Research firm Kantar TNS has it that Seven in every ten South Africans believe and want President Jacob Zuma to step down. But, the main daring issue in the hearts of analyst remains the political state of South Africa after Zuma bows out.
This quest for Zuma’s removal, according to public analysts, may not solve the country’s political and even economic problems.
The popular slogan “Zuma must fall” has since 2015 been a slogan that describes citizens fight against state capture, corruption, failed infrastructural development and mass unemployment.
The calls for his resignation or recall grew this year after he took the “disastrous decision” to fire Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas. However all the calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears leading to mass protest indicating people’s disapproval of his leadership
Now, rumours have it that Zuma is considering offering to step down next year, at least 12 months before his term as South African president ends.
Zuma knows quite well that his reputation has been greatly tarnished by a string of corruption scandals, including one involving the use of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his country home, and his close ties to an influential business family – the Guptas.
Hence, his offer to step down earlier before his tenure ends would allow him a dignified exit, as there remains a possibility that he could be removed by the ANC before next year. Who becomes the next leader of the ANC is key for Zuma, given that he could yet face corruption charges, analysts say.
It is also argued that Zuma fired Gordhan- not minding its harsh effect on the ailing economy- because he wanted to replace him with someone more aligned with their plans, which include a more radical redistribution of wealth to address the legacies of apartheid and looser fiscal policy.
Not only did Zuma and his allies achieve this, they also achieve the aim of further weakening the governing ANC, particularly the faction supporting his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa as future president and party leader.
This, also pose a great stepping stone for the President’s plan to have his ally and supporter succeed him, analyst further stated.
Turning to the country, the political war going on both within the ruling party and with oppositions have further affected the country’s economic and social growth.
“Wastage and corruption together with the bailing out of a series of unproductive state-owned companies have squandered very precious tax resources that should have gone into infrastructure development and service delivery,” said Frans Cronje, CEO of the think-tank South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
The problem is not only slow growth, but also the “gigantic inequality” between the rich elite and the poor masses, said Nicolas Pons-Vignon, senior economics researcher at Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University.
The country has one of the highest inequality rates in the world, with the top decile accounting for 58 percent of the country’s income, while the bottom half accounts for less than 8 percent, according to the World Bank.
Added to these economic downfalls is the growing racial differences which not cut across the country’s private and public sectors.
According to IRR report, more than two decades after the end of apartheid, the social inequality still largely overlaps with the black-white divide, despite the emergence of a black middle class.
The group said more than 70 percent of the country’s top managers are white, despite blacks making up 80 percent and whites only 8 percent of the 56-million population, according to IRR.
Nearly all white children graduate from secondary school, compared to 67 percent of black children, and only 14% of blacks have so far benefited from the so-called government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programmes, which take measures in helping the black businesses such as giving black-led companies preference for state contracts.
These and many other issues have continued to wane the country, down to the poor citizens who only hope for a better life, away from the struggles that reminds them of the apartheid era.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday said its #NoConfidence petition against President Jacob Zuma, whose Cabinet reshuffle had ignited a backlash, has exceeded 500 000 signatures.
In addition to online petitions, the DA’s activists and public representatives have been going door-to-door in every corner of South Africa encouraging support for the petition and for them to see the need to have Zuma removed.
While this is going on, amid other proposed protest marches, public analysts argue that South Africans are yet to consider what the future holds for the country if Zuma finally leaves.
Will Zuma’s resignation bring the death of the country’s ruling part, will it further bring back the country’s democracy back to its feet. Most importantly, will Zuma’s removal awaken the country’s ailing economy… Who is fit to stand in as President of the Republic of South Africa after Zuma goes remains the question yet to be answered by SA majority.