A campaign has started to oust South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the ruling party.
Ahead of a conference in December in which party members will vote on senior leadership positions, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu criticized the nation’s top judges as “mentally colonized” and said it has not been done enough to address the legacies of apartheid, including poverty and territorial inequality.
Read: Sisulu did not criticize the judiciary, he insulted it
Sisulu’s comments position her as the potential leader of a faction of the African National Congress loyal to former President Jacob Zuma. That group has opposed Ramaphosa’s attempts to implement political and economic reforms and crack down on corruption.
The key to Ramaphosa’s drive to renew the party after nine years of scandal under Zuma is respect for the rule of law and rebuilding the institutions that underpin the constitution. Persistent attacks on the judiciary and corruption scandals under Zuma undermined business confidence.
“His statements are dangerous because investors, especially international investors, watch how cabinet ministers defend the rule of law and will not appreciate a minister criticizing the constitution they have sworn to uphold,” Minister of the Presidency Mondli said by phone. Gungubele. “If she doesn’t agree with that now, she can resign.”
Sisulu, who has been a member of parliament since the end of apartheid and has held various ministerial portfolios, has changed allegiances.
In his initial opinion piece, published on January 7 by a media organization aligned with the Zuma faction, he said that “we have legitimized the irregularities under the umbrella of the rule of law” and described the constitution as a “palliative.”
The 67-year-old daughter of Walter Sisulu, a close ally of Nelson Mandela who spent time in prison with him on Robben Island, was Ramaphosa’s running mate at the 2017 party conference, where he narrowly defeated the ex-wife. of Zuma, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. whom the former president had endorsed.
Zuma faces a trial on corruption charges linked to a 1990s arms deal and was sentenced last year by the Constitutional Court to 15 months in prison for refusing to testify in a state corruption investigation that, according to the The government saw 500 billion rand ($ 33 billion) stolen during his rule. His imprisonment sparked riots that sparked the worst violence since the end of apartheid, with more than 350 people killed. He is currently appealing an order to return to jail after his medical probation was declared invalid.
While no one has formally announced their intention to run for party chairman in December, Ramaphosa is expected to seek a second term.
Ramaphosa, 69, became president of South Africa in 2018 when the ANC ordered Zuma’s resignation for fear it would cost the party votes. An initial wave of investor enthusiasm, fueled by his promises of reform and corruption, caused the rand to rebound. While that enthusiasm, dubbed Ramaphoria by the media, has cooled, he remains more popular than his party.
Sisulu’s criticism of the judiciary in his first article published on January 7 drew criticism from acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who described the attack as unfounded and “unacceptable.”
“There is no analysis of anything,” Zondo said on January 12. “They are just accusations, insults to the judiciary.”
Zondo spearheaded the more than three-year investigation into state corruption. The first of three reports from the Zondo commission, all expected by the end of February, linked Zuma to widespread corruption in the state revenue service and the national airline. Ramaphosa is expected to announce what action he will take on the commission’s recommendations by June.
Sisulu defended his position in a second article published on January 12.
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