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ANC, learn from the BDP on presidential succession!

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

For the second time in its young democracy, South Africa is experiencing a crisis in as far as the presidential transition is concerned. On 20th September 2008, former president Thabo Mbeki resigned after being recalled by his party, the African National Congress (ANC), with about nine months left in his second term.

Mbeki’s resignation, together with most of his cabinet, made it easy for a transition to former president Kgalema Motlanthe who held fort until president Jacob Zuma ascended to the presidency on 9th May 2009. Currently, following the ANC’s recall of president Jacob Zuma he defied the party and attempted refusing to resign, leaving his party with no option but to threaten to remove him through a parliamentary vote of no confidence moved by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The ANC gave Zuma forty hours to resign, but despite, in the morning of 14th February 2017, giving indications that he was not going to resign, but would rather let the ANC remove him constitutionally through a vote of no confidence or impeachment, he, with about one hour remaining before the deadline, resigned, albeit reluctantly.   

There is no doubt that removing president Zuma through a vote of no confidence was going to cause a crisis of unprecedented proportions not only to the ANC, but also to the country as a whole. Zuma’s resignation, as Mbeki did, therefore, saved not only his party, but also South Africa as a whole.

In terms of section 102 (2) of the Constitution of South Africa, “if the National Assembly, by a vote supported by a majority of its members, passes a motion of no confidence in the President, the President and the other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign”.


It is needless to state that had Zuma refused to resign and had to be removed through a motion of no confidence his entire cabinet would have had to resign and South Africa’s economy, which is already in junk status, would have been further weakened, resulting in increased hardship and suffering by the people, especially the poor.


The ANC itself, especially following its cooperation with the Opposition leading up to the intended vote of no confidence, would have emerged even more divided, the result being that its fortunes in the 2019 national elections would be diminished. Of course, even then the ANC was unlikely to lose power in 2019, but the losses it suffered in the 2014 national elections as well as during the 2016 local government elections, coupled with the loss of support it would suffer as a result of the Zuma debacle, were likely to lead to a further decline in 2019.


Even worse, had the matter progressed to Zuma’s removal through a vote of no confidence the possibility of a split within the ANC could not be discounted. Though Zuma left at his weakest considering his popularity when he defeated Mbeki with an overwhelming majority, his support, especially in his strong hold, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces, he still commands significant support within the ANC.

It is this support base, possibly fueled by tribalism and the disgruntlement of the Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma (NDZ) supporters, following Dhlamini-Zuma’s loss to Cyril Ramaphosa at the December 2017 elective conference, that could be the base for a splinter political party.   
The ANC, therefore, needs to come up with a solution to avoid this saga which, in my view, if not addressed will result in further turbulence within the ANC. Today it is Zuma, but tomorrow it may be the current ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who could be compelled to resign before the end of his term as state president.

If precedence were to prevail, Ramaphosa will have to resign as state president immediately he ceases to be party president if he is to avoid the humiliation of a recall which Mbeki and Zuma have suffered. In Ramaphosa’s case, it is likely to be more painful because considering the narrow margin with which he won the party presidency, and the existence of the Zuma faction which is likely going to grow following his recall, he is unlikely to win the second term as ANC president, limiting his term as state president to one.

The other reason why Ramaphosa may only last for one term is that his deputy, David Mabuza, is likely to unseat him considering the fact that unlike Ramaphosa, Mabuza has support in both factions of the ANC. No wonder he got the highest votes during the elective congress.
Mabuza, dubbed “Mr. Unity” because of his call for ANC to avoid factional slates, but to have consensus candidates in an effort to unify the party in the run up to the December 2017 elective conference, is, in my view, a threat to Ramaphosa’s presidency.

His silence during the Zuma recall debacle was conspicuous. He, together with the Secretary General, Ace Magashula, and his deputy, Jessy Duarte, are no doubt in the NDZ faction which may have been defeated at the December 2017 elective conference, but is not over and done with.     In my view, the reason the ANC is faced with the recall debacle is that the ANC elective congress is not aligned with the national elections. Currently, there is a period of one year six month between the elective congress and the national elections.


The effect of this is that following the elective congress, there can be two centers of power in that there can be, as was the case until Zuma’s resignation as the state president, a party president who is not necessarily the head of state. This is problematic in that if the party president and the head of state are not in good terms there can be conflict which can paralyze the functions of the state.


Every politician has a political program he or she campaigns on and wants to implement after being elected. And for the newly elected person to implement his or her program he or she has to have full control of not only the party, but also the state machinery. There is an understandable apprehension that the state president can use his or her state powers to frustrate the party president’s political programme, especially if they are not in good terms as it was the case with Zuma and Ramaphosa.


During the run-up to the December 2017 elective conference, Zuma openly declared his support for his ex-wife, NDZ, despite the fact that Ramaphosa had been his deputy since Kgalema Motlanthe’s departure. It is because of this apprehension that after being elected ANC president Zuma engineered Mbeki’s recall though he today claims he was against the recall, something which the EFF Commander-in-Chief, Julius Malema, has vehemently denied.   


In this respect, South Africa needs to change the way it manages its transition in order to bring stability to the country. It can learn from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). In the BDP, there is a tradition that the state president who is also the party president resigns as state president before the end of his term, allowing the vice president, to automatically succeed him.

In terms of the BDP tradition, this state vice president would have been the party Chairperson and is only elected party president at a special congress a day before the state president resigns. So, there is never a time when the state president is not the party president.
Coupled with this is the constitutional provision which provides for automatic succession in terms of which the state vice president automatically succeeds the state president when the state president, for reasons specified in section 35(1) of the Constitution, ceases to be president.

Section 35(1) of the Constitution of Botswana provides that “whenever the President dies, resigns or ceases to hold office, the Vice-President shall assume office as President with effect from the date of death, resignation or ceasing to be President. The South African Constitution does not provide for automatic succession. Section 90(1) provides that “when the President is absent from the Republic or otherwise unable to fulfil the duties of President, or during a vacancy in the office of President, an office-bearer in the order below acts as President: (a) the Deputy President; (b) a Minister designated by the President; (c) a Minister designated by the other members of the Cabinet and (d) the Speaker, until the National Assembly designates one of its other members.

Thereafter, as per section 86(3) of the Constitution, the president would be elected by the National Assembly, at a time and on a date determined by the Chief Justice, but not more than thirty days after the vacancy occurs. Of course, there are those, especially in the Opposition, who are opposed to the automatic succession provision, arguing that it denies Batswana to, through an election in Parliament, elect a person of their choice as president when the president ceases to be president.   

As shown above, in the BDP, there is never the two centers of power which obtains in the ANC after the state president steps down as party president. According to Zuma, about two years ago, the North West province suggested that the elective congress be aligned to the national elections, but the motion was not adopted. This, in my view, was a costly mistake which Ramaphosa needs to remedy now when he still has the political gravitas to influence the party to adopt the resolution and to amend the Constitution accordingly.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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