aic Political Research Note
Stef Terblanche Political Risk Services / Africa-International Communications (AIC)
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Special Update Note
POLITICAL RESEARCH NOTE 18.06
14 February 2018
South Africa / Politics
Rapid developments heating up SA political environment – more volatility to follow?
Further to our aic Research Note 18.05 sent out this morning, a series of rapid developments have followed that are fast heating up the domestic political environment. The rand has responded as it has done the past two months – seesawing between negative and positive interpretations of the news, with markets in general keeping a wary eye on developments. By and large the markets have interpreted the developments as being positive.
After the rand fell to nearly R12 per dollar on Tuesday following the ANC’s announcement of Zuma’s recall without a deadline for his resignation it firmed on Wednesday to R11.79, its best level in more than two-and-a-half years, on the back of sustained optimism that Zuma would be gone by the next day, before losing a little ground again. These fluctuations show just how much nervousness is being caused by the ongoing, rapidly changing developments.
Since this morning –
· the ANC parliamentary caucus has decided to remove President Jacob Zuma from office through a vote of no confidence;
· chief whips of all parties have unanimously agreed to this;
· the presiding officers have moved forward the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) motion for a vote of no confidence to tomorrow (Thursday);
· a decision has been taken to swear in Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president on Thursday as well, depending on the availability of the Chief Justice;
· if sworn in by then, Ramaphosa will deliver the state of the nation address on Friday;
· the Budget will go ahead as scheduled on February 21;
· the police’s Hawks raided the home of the Guptas and other premises with one Gupta brother allegedly having been arrested while other arrests are imminent; and
· President Zuma went on national television where he said he would not resign.
Zuma issues veiled warning to ANC leaders
In some of the remarks Zuma made during his SABC TV interview, apart from his refusal to resign, he issued what seemed like a veiled warning to the ANC leadership. He somewhat ominously warned the top leaders of the ANC that a crisis could emerge that they “will regret”. He said: “Because some people may not like this (what is being done to him),” and “if the leadership of the ANC is not careful they might actually cause a bigger problem than we think”.
What is disconcerting about this is the fact that the context in which Zuma issued this warning to the ANC leaders is not clear.
Zuma had earlier in the interview referred to recent violent clashes between pro- and anti-Zuma factions made up of both ANC and non-ANC members outside Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg. He also alluded to the fact that his removal as deputy president by former President Thabo Mbeki in 2005 created problems that still have not been resolved and of which he is a part (this may be a reference to the factions that emerged thereafter). And he also referred to the breakaway group of ANC members who formed the Congress of the People (COPE) after the ANC had recalled Mbeki as president.
It is not clear in which of these contexts – if any of them - Zuma issued his warning to the ANC leadership: whether there will be a violent backlash from his supporters, whether the factional battles in the ANC will intensify, or whether there will be a breakaway and the formation of a new political party, ostensibly by Zuma’s supporters who are mainly concentrated in KwaZulu-Natal.
If Zuma’s warning proves correct in whatever context, however, it would suggest even more volatility to come.
Political Analyst & Editor
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As one of the longest-established political risk consultancies in South Africa, based in Cape Town, Stef Terblanche Political Risk Services, also operating as Africa-International Communications, has provided strategic risk analysis services to international and local major corporate, institutional, government and other clients since 1986. Our intelligence and risk alert reports are based on primary-sourced information, extensive research, expert analysis and to-the-point interpretation, ensuring that our clients have all the critically important information required for their own strategic forward planning and decision-making in today’s often volatile political, social and economic environment, and to facilitate their timeous preparatory responses to anticipated future political shocks, trends and developments. Read more below…