Relations between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his predecessor Jacob Zuma are inevitably rocky. These relations were soured mainly by the removal of Zuma as president.
Pressure on him to appear before the State Capture Commission has also worsened the already frosty relations. Remarks by Ramaphosa on the nine wasted years under Zuma also compounded the worsening relations.
But Zuma could not help the situation alleging that money was used to secure the African National Congress (ANC) presidency for Ramaphosa. He also alleged that some judges have assisted him to hide from society what could possibly be bribes obtained to help him win an internal ANC election.
There was a time Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa were comrades in arms and in 2012 they became the ANC’s first and second-in-command respectively.
The two also went to the Union Buildings together as the country’s president and deputy president. But things only changed at the time of the change of guard in the ANC. At the 2017 ANC elective congress, Ramaphosa was vying for the top spot, and instead, Zuma backed Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
But at the end, Ramaphosa became party president. A few weeks later Zuma was removed as president, a move that terribly soured their relations.
“Nine wasted years of Zuma’s presidency “
In 2019 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ramaphosa and some of his ministers told the world that the Zuma presidency was a wasted nine years.
“When we came here we brought a message of renewal. Almost optimism about our country and actually saying that we had come through a very dark period over the last nine years where there was policy uncertainty, where state institutions had been captured and where corruption had run rife in our country and we had been saying to everyone here in Davos, for South Africans, we are putting that behind us, we are now in a new dawn. ”
But Zuma had refuted the accusation in a statement saying he never blamed any of his predecessors.
“I never once blamed any predecessor or pointed any perceived failing of any predecessor when I came to the leadership. I focused on what we would do to achieve in the ANC, and we focused on achieving those things. ”
Zuma’s refusal to appear before the Zondo Commission has again pitted him with the current leadership with Ramaphosa cautiously reacting to Zuma’s attitude towards the commission.
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the end of the NEC said: “He has expressed his own thoughts and views that he doesn’t want to go to the commission. But this is a matter that I am sure he is going to give much more thought to because he has been counselled by many organisations that the constitutional structure that he contributed so much time to needs to be given consideration and I am sure in his own mind and his own time he will think about all these. And I would like to say let’s give former President Zuma time and space to think about this also to hear what other people are saying. ”
President Cyril Ramaphosa weighs in on former president Jacob Zuma’s refusal to appear before the Zondo Commission:
With the commission now calling for a jail term against Zuma, the former president is crying foul accusing some judges of being complicit in the many crises in the country.
“We sit with some of the judges who have assisted the incumbent President to hide from society what on the face of it seem to be bribes obtained in order to win internal ANC election. We sit with judges who seal those records simply because such records may reveal that some of them while presiding in courts have had their hands filled with proverbial 30 pieces of silver.”
It seems factionalism is deepening and battle lines again drawn in the ANC ahead of its next elective conference. And on whether the much talked about unity and renewal will ever be achieved in their lifetime only time will tell.