The recent Gupta aircraft scandal has caused divisions in the African National Congress (ANC) and in cabinet and could lead to President Jacob Zuma’s ousting, according to unnamed sources in news reports this week.
The Star reported that Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had “fallen out” over the Guptas’ landing a private aircraft with wedding guests aboard at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on April 30.
It said the incident had been the final straw for Mantashe, who had privately expressed concerns that the family wielded too much influence in government and ANC affairs.
Mantashe’s supporters had since thrown their weight behind ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, after reports that some of Zuma’s allies planned to block him from taking over as ANC president in 2017.
It also said Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula threatened to resign, rather than be the “fall guy”, a claim her adviser Mike Ramagoma denied.
According to the report, a “kitchen cabinet” of “predominantly Zulu-speaking” ministers and national ANC leaders, took key ANC and government decisions without Mantashe’s input.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu dismissed suggestions Mantashe and Zuma had fallen out and that there was a “kitchen cabinet”.
He said that according to ANC tradition, Ramaphosa was likely to succeed Zuma.
The Citizen newspaper said it “understood” that plans were afoot to sack Zuma following the Gupta plane scandal.
“ANC top brass have concluded that Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas has brought the organisation and the government into disrepute and Zuma should go,” its source said.