Political analysts: 2017 a defining year for SA

Political analysts say that in the current environment, any decision taken this year could have a political impact for the next decade.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma reads through papers ahead of an address. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Political analysts say that in the current environment, any decision taken this year could have a political impact for the next decade.

On Thursday, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) called for a dissolution of Parliament and an early election to rebuild the country’s moral fibre.

At the same time, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema called on President Jacob Zuma to withdraw his opposition to the Public Protector’s State of Capture report.

And African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told the national union of mineworkers that the party did not ask Zuma to resign because it would have torn the movement apart.

Analyst Tinyiko Maluleke says some of these calls, particularly from church leaders shows a lack of trust.

“In the current parliamentary process but above all, lack of trust in the leadership that the ANC has installed.”

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says 2017 is a critical year.

“The year 2017, by any indication, is going to be a defining year for South Africa. Any decisions that are taken this year, are most likely going to determine the trajectory, political, social and economic path of the country for the next decade.”

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Malema says his party will oppose any attempts to broaden the scope of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, saying the commission must specifically focus on the Gupta family’s influence on government.

The ANC has already indicated it wants the commission of inquiry into state capture to not only focus on the Gupta family but the influence of business on government.

Malema says his party is against this.

“They want to investigate from 1652 and all those things. The terms of reference of the inquiry should be based on the findings of Thuli Madonsela. We want the Guptas.”

He has urged South Africans to also play their role.

“We want our people to go to the streets. We want our people to picket.”

Malema says if the president doesn't withdraw his review allocation, the EFF will head to court to seek an early date for the president's review on the grounds that the commission of inquiry is urgent.

Malema says given the recent revelations contained in the Gupta email leaks, it is clear a commission of inquiry must be established sooner rather than later.

“We have instructed our lawyers this morning [Thursday] to send a letter to Zuma demanding that in the next few days he should withdraw his review application.”

He says if the president doesn't withdraw, he must agree that all parties can approach the Pretoria High Court Judge President to ask for the hearing to be brought forward to July.

“Should he fail to accept our demand then the EFF will have no option but to approach the court for an early date on the grounds that the matter has now become urgent.”

Malema has also revealed the EFF is also in possession of the Gupta emails and that the party's security department is going through each and every one of them.

He says after that process, the EFF will compile a dossier and submit it to Parliament, seeking the impeachment of MPs involved.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)