Analysts claim Mantashe’s Nkandla comments show Zuma is slowly losing political power.JOHANNESBURG – As African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe sticks by his claims that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has not properly handled the Nkandla scandal, analysts are claiming these comments show President Jacob Zuma is slowly losing political power.
On Monday morning Mantashe confirmed comments made in the City Press on Sunday that Nhleko was reckless to say more government money should be spent on Zuma’s Nkandla home.
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says this comment by someone as senior as Mantashe suggests that the president is not as politically powerful as he was.
“What we are maybe seeing is the possibility of the lame duck factor approaching much sooner than we had thought.”
While Daily Maverick political writer Ranjeni Munusamy says it’s interesting Mantashe made these comments now and not after last week’s alliance summit.
“What we can decipher now is that Mantashe is basically going rogue.”
It’s been claimed that some people within the ANC want the secretary general elected as its deputy leader at its next conference in 2017.
Matshiqi says, “Consciously or unconsciously he may be responding to these rumours by providing some kind of leadership when it comes to the Nkandla matter.”
Munusamy agrees, “He is realising and other people in the ANC are realising that Nkandla is weighing heavy on the organisation.”
In March 2013, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her Nkandla report.
Madonsela found that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the R246 million upgrades to his private home.
She recommended that the president pay back a portion of the money spent on the upgrades.