South Africa is increasingly being ruled not from the Union Buildings in Pretoria but from the wealthy politically-connected Gupta family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, and the time has now come for President Jacob Zuma to resign, the South African Communist Party said.
Let us call for the South African passports and residential rights of the Guptas to be revoked immediately,” the SACP said in a statement issued after a meeting of its political bureau (PB) on Friday.
The political bureau met in Gauteng on Friday in the context of the “deep crisis into which the reckless actions of President Zuma have once more plunged our ANC-led movement, our hard-won democratic institutions, and our country in general”, the SACP said.
“The recall from an overseas trip of comrades Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas while on a promotional tour in South Africa’s interests, and now the firing of these comrades and other well-performing ministers is more than regrettable. It is frankly outrageous, particularly while the worst performers in cabinet continue to enjoy presidential protection and even in some cases promotion.
“This recklessness has provoked widespread concern and anger within the ANC itself and across all sectors of our society. We have reached a decisive moment in which in the considered view of the SACP leadership Zuma must now resign,” the SACP said.
The coincidence of the dramatic cabinet events with the desperate application this week in the Pretoria High Court by the Gupta-linked Vardospan company should not be missed. Vardospan brought an urgent application to force the SA Reserve Bank (SARB), the registrar of banks, and the minister of finance to allow it to take over ownership of the obscure Habib Bank.
The current owners had given them a deadline of Friday to settle the matter. Vardospan’s desperation was clearly linked to the closure of Gupta-related bank accounts by the major South African banks, the Bank of China, and now reportedly by their last remaining banking facility the Indian headquartered Baroda Bank, the SACP said.
The SARB opposed the Vardospan application on the grounds that it had a responsibility to ensure the financial sustainability of the proposed deal. According to the SARB, Vardospan had failed to provide clarity on the source of their funding and to provide transparency on other Gupta-related companies, including the “notorious Tegeta mining company involved in a dodgy deal with former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe”.
“The timing of Zuma’s cabinet reshuffling and the deepening banking troubles faced by the Guptas is not, therefore, fortuitous. Once more it lays bare a disturbing reality. Increasingly our country is being ruled not from the Union Buildings but from the Gupta family compound. More and more, critical ANC decisions are being decided not by elected and collective structures in Luthuli House but in Saxonwold,” the SACP said.
In the coming days the SACP would meet its provincial structures, all its alliance partners, and a wide range of social movements and formations. “It is imperative that popular anger is mobilised and organised in constructive ways that unite South Africans of all persuasions and backgrounds in the defence of our country’s interests,” the SACP said.
“This is not a struggle against an individual. This is not a factional struggle. It is a struggle against a network of parasitism and patronage in defence of our hard-won democratic sovereignty. Let us roll back corporate capture of the state. Let us call for the South African passports and residential rights of the Guptas to be revoked immediately.
“Let us call for the sacking of [Hawks head Berning] Ntlemeza, an ex-Transkei security policeman who many allege tortured our own comrades. Let us demand progress on the numerous stalled prosecutions and investigations.
“What has happened to the civil and criminal prosecutions recommended in regard to the Nkandla scandal? Let us ensure that the dodgy Tegeta deal is exposed. Let us insist that those involved in the wholesale ripping off of the public broadcaster, the SABC, and of key state-owned corporations, including Prasa, Eskom, Denel, and SAA are brought to book.
“Mainstream corporate outfits like Allan Gray and the Ruperts’ Remgro must own up to their profit-driven collusion with Cash Paymaster Services, Net1, and Grindrod in the exploitation of vulnerable social grant beneficiaries. Politicians and officials who have benefited from backhanders in all of this must be exposed.
“Inevitably, SACP members who serve in executive positions in government are now being asked if they will resign. The PB’s instruction to these comrades is: remain at your posts. This is not because there is any individual entitlement. You are serving in various capacities because of the support you enjoy across the ANC movement, because of your struggle credentials, and because of your performance in government. You have a responsibility to serve a massive constituency and the country at large – now more than ever. If you are fired at the behest of the Gupta network because of the SACP’s stand on these matters – so be it,” the SACP said.