/ 10 November 2023

A photobomb too far as Duma seizes the moment – and the Rugby World Cup

Hollywoodbets Durban July 2023
Shade: KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and economic development MEC Siboniso Duma: Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images


Another day, another drama in the kingdom.

The fur is flying on this occasion over the decision by KwaZulu-Natal’s apprentice premier, Siboniso Duma, to overshadow the incumbent, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, instead of shadowing her.

Duma, KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC chairperson and leader of government business, stole  Dube-Ncube’s limelight and hoisted the Rugby World Cup trophy aloft at the Durban City Hall during the Springboks’ victory tour.

Since then, Duma has had a rough week.

Not as rough a week as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) shadow minister for social development, Ghaleb Cachalia, had last week. 

Duma is Dube-Ncube’s boss in the ANC so she can’t fire him or banish him to the back benches like John Steenhuisen did with Cachalia over his comments about the genocide in Gaza — but a rough week nonetheless.

Duma has been taking hits for using his political seniority — and height advantage — over the premier and grabbing the trophy for himself while Dube-Ncube stood next to him looking embarrassed and uncomfortable.

It’s been a long time coming.

Duma has been marking the premier since Dube-Ncube was appointed last August, popping up on government podiums around the province to remind her — and the rest of us — that it was him who was elected ANC provincial chairperson.

The political apprenticeship was intended to allow Duma to familiarise himself with the provincial cabinet ahead of a move to (hopefully) become its number one citizen after next year’s elections, while calling the shots, politically speaking, from Seme House.

But rather than simply tagging along and learning the ropes, Duma appears to have chosen to outshine his principal, seizing the moment, the microphone — and even the World Cup — in the process.

A photo bomb too far.

The ANC Women’s League has weighed in on the matter, calling Duma out and sparking an ugly spat with the provincial party leadership that was unavoidable, inevitable and entirely of its own making.

The premier says she is unfazed, but the flare-up highlights the tensions in the ANC in the province, not just along factional lines but in terms of having two centres of power, one in the premier’s office, one in ANC headquarters.

The problem won’t go away, or at least until after elections, when Dube-Ncube’s term as premier — and Duma’s as her shadow — end.

It’s election time, so the would-be Western Cape secessionists are at it, once again advocating a break away from the Republic.

Cape secession is one of the hardy perennials of South African politics that pops up ahead of every national and provincial election.

After a little bit of media sustenance, it shows brief potential of flowering, but then withers and dies — until the next voting cycle comes around.

Emboldened by the 11 votes they received the last time South Africans went to the polls, the proponents of Cape independence are in the process of launching the Referendum Party to contest the coming elections.

The Referendum Party wants to turn the Western Cape into a separate country — an Oranje by the Sea, so to speak — although there are many here among us who believe that it has been another country since the DA  took control of the province in 2009.

They reckon the party can force the DA to hold a referendum on Cape independence after the next elections — the first step towards a break away from South Africa and the declaration of an independent Western Cape.

They clearly haven’t spoken to Steenhuisen lately.

John wants to take over the country next year, rather than break away from it, so the chances of the secessionists getting much of a hearing from the would-be anchor tenant of a moonshot coalition after the elections are a tad slim.

They would be better served by convincing the rest of us in the Republic — and the ANC — of the benefits of voting to get rid of the Western Cape, than by trying to strong arm the DA into backing a breakaway.

Cape Town is already so overpriced that a visit there costs as much as — and feels like — a trip abroad, so it might not take all that much convincing on their part to win the comrades — and the rest of us — over.

Excising the Western Cape from the voters’ roll will also work wonders for the ANC’s national parliamentary majority, given the province’s current contribution to the proportional representation totals, so that’s another positive to sell Luthuli House.

Who needs an ocean that’s too cold to swim in, curry with dried fruit in it and an unhealthy Karen to citizen ratio?

All of a sudden Cape succession doesn’t sound that bad after all.