Zuma’s last outpost is defiant

Former president Jacob Zuma still has fans, especially in the troubled province of KwaZulu-Natal. (Matthew Kay/AFP)

Former president Jacob Zuma still has fans, especially in the troubled province of KwaZulu-Natal. (Matthew Kay/AFP)

Tuesday. Durban’s air’s thick. Wet.
Fetid. It’s only 10am. I’m boiling. Part of the sense that I’m about to combust comes from the heat. The rest comes from a day and a half of unsuccessfully trying to get through to Telkom to find out why they can’t give me the service I have been paying them for.

I’m shaking like Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba every time his call register displays the word “Presidency”. But I’m shaking from anger. Not from fear that I’m going to get the chop for being a Gupta fuckboy. Or for playing Candy Crush while the boss is talking in Parliament. I’m choking with rage because the phone company’s employees won’t answer the phone.

I should be at the Moerane commission, hearing the South African Police Service (SAPS) KwaZulu-Natal lahnees explaining why they have failed to deal with political killings in the province. They pulled strings for Team Daddy while the bodies piled up. For more than a year they have been quiet while witnesses have testified about the murder of their loved ones in municipalities around the province. Sat dom while whistle-blowers risked their lives to try to bring the killers stalking the municipalities to justice. And their paymasters and political bosses.

The lahnees had nothing to say when asked how they had allowed more than 100 people to be killed in the Glebelands Hostel. How the Glebelands hit men pursued their targets to the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court and finished them off there. Each time claims were made of police complicity in the killings, which continued after the commission started its hearings, the SAPS legal team asked for time to respond in detail at the end of the commission’s sittings. The time is now.

I give up my war with Telkom and head for the hearings.

From the past 12 months’ evidence, the cops have plenty to answer for. I don’t want to miss their response.

I make a detour through town. The easterly has dropped after two days. I want to see whether the ocean’s swimmable yet. I hope I can get an hour in the water with my 11-year-old after work. I’ll be back in the afternoon. I’ll die if I don’t.

On my way up Old Fort Road towards Mayville, I pass the ANC provincial office. Pixley ka Isaka Seme House. It’s almost a week since Daddy gave the nation a St Valentine’s Day present and got the hell out of Dodge. Well, out of the presidency at least, despite his “disagreement” with the leadership of the party that sent him there. It’s nearly two months since Daddy ceased to be president of the ANC. Gave his farewell speech at Nasrec promising to remain a loyal and disciplined cadre of the movement.

The leadership of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal doesn’t seem to have received the memo about either event. They seem to think Daddy’s still running the ANC. And the country. Either that or they’re still sulking about both outcomes. Aren’t prepared to take down the mural exhorting the punters to vote for Daddy in the 2016 local government elections.

Build a bridge and get over it. Move on. Put up a new mural with the ANC’s and the country’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, asking the faithful to vote for the governing party next year.  Or a wanted poster offering a reward for Duduzane and his Sojidaddy.

How else does one explain the fact that there’s still a two-storey mural of Daddy’s double-headed visage leering down at passersby?

Perhaps the comrades want to keep the mural up forever. Turn Seme House into a permanent monument to Daddy and his decade of raping the republic.

Perhaps they’re passing round the hat to buy the building. Put in a bunker and a fire pool. Give it to Daddy for when he’s in Durban, so that he doesn’t have to squat with Roy Moodley in his flat on North Beach.

It’s close enough to both the magistrate’s court and the high court, so it could be pretty convenient for Daddy’s court appearances in the city. And Daddy can take a walk if Roy won’t send the driver.

The provincial leadership’s inability to stop clinging to Daddy isn’t helping to smooth the transition. They appear to be fuelling — if not stage-managing — the wave of refusals from ANC branches in some regions to accept Daddy’s recall.

The ANC’s national leadership was never going to let Daddy finish his term. They couldn’t. Daddy’s an embarrassing liability to the ANC. A danger to their hope of maintaining their majority in KwaZulu-Natal next year. A spanner in the works of any plan the ANC may have of winning back the voters they have lost in the Gauteng and Eastern Cape metros.

Mobilising their own membership against Ramaphosa on Daddy’s behalf cost the ANC the Nquthu by-election last year. It will cost them a lot more next year.