David Mabuza, the Cat with Nine Lives
Current Deputy President of South Africa, David Mabuza is the man who ditched the Jacob Zuma camp at the eleventh hour, to save the African National Congress (ANC) in the name of unity, only to secure his position in the 6th democratic administration.
David Mabuza’s, “DD” as he’s known in ANC circles, life seems to be some sort of an action movie where everyone gets caught or hurt, except for him. The Chuck Norris of politics, he is also known as ‘The Cat’ due to his consistency to always land on his feet after political fights.in never getting caught where he has dirtied his hands. There are many claims about the Deputy President of which tender corruption, patronage and severe financial mismanagement are some. Political killings are added to the list too. The deaths of Jimmy Mohala and Sammy Mpatlanyane are the two which have stood out to the police the most. Both were killed in January 2009. The two were gunned down, Mohlala, then speaker of the Mbombela council was on a mission to expose corruption involving the constitution of the R1.2bn Mbombela Stadium built for the 2010 soccer world cup. Mpatlanyane, a spokesperson for Mpumalanga Arts and Culture at the time was gunned down in the bedroom of his double story home. As per Mabuza style, his involvement in these deaths has never being confirmed or concluded and no, he was never charged.
Another claim to his name was that he enabled lying and the rigging of matric results as far back as 1998, where the Mpumalanga matric pass rate went from 51% to an astounding 71%. This happened at a time when he was the provincial education minister, at the onset of his political career. He has been alleged to have created a massive corrupt system in Mpumalanga as well, but in all these claims David Mabuza, yet again, was never charged.
The Cat’s unity slate may have succeeded but it left him in bad books with the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction as several ANC members in the country are unhappy with him for unexpectedly backing Cyril Ramaphosa on a “unity” slate at the December Nasrec elective conference for the ANC.
Mpumalanga took a staggering 736 delegates to the ANC national elective conference. This comes with a case that speaks to alleged ghost members whose names appeared on ANC branch lists to falsely inflate the membership levels of the party in David Mabuza’s province at the time. Mabuza was announced as the Deputy President, having survived the integrity commission questions. While the integrity commission may have cleared him despite the strong claims against the Deputy President, a lot of young people are unlikely convinced by these claims. David Mabuza embraced Cyril Ramaphosa moments after his official swearing in.
For David Mabuza to achieve what may be his ultimate goal, there is a certain time frame but he is limited by his own mortality. He would probably only be able to take over after Cyril Ramaphosa, this means that he has to try to win the conference which is scheduled for December 2027 or try his luck at the December 2022 conference.
The rumours peddled by critics of the Cat have not succeeded in bringing about his downfall neither did an alleged attempt to poison him in 2014.
On the 22nd May, David Mabuza shocked the country as he confirmed that he would not be swearing the oath to become a member of parliament. In the very same week post his announcement, we saw the rand gain value. After his re-appointment however, the currency dropped for a day, making it its biggest drop in more than two months.
There are many arguments around the ally or enemy that has positioned himself so closely next to our President. Will we see a replica of the JZ rule? Or is our country in safe hands. For this one, all we can do is to wait and see.