If it is correct that the reason for the secrecy around the Nuclear deal with Russia is that procedures are being circumvented and also that money has passed, probably to Zuma himself, then there is considerable pressure to deliver. It is different when money is to be paid at a later date. There is a different quality of pressure exerted where payment is in advance of a deal being settled.
The problem for Zuma, all along, has been that if procedures are to be circumvented then Treasury is a barrier and that is said to be the reason for dismissal of Nene. With the return of Gordhan it was not possible to simply dismiss him and attempts have been made to find ‘legal’ reasons for undermining and dismissing him and also undermining SARS and those who had held the line against irregularities.
Put at the service of these goals has been the NPA, under Abrahams and now the Hawks under Ntlemeza. Because there has been no case over the so –called rogue unit, they tried to pursue fraud charges, demonstrating failure to prepare a case according to basic forensic and prosecutorial rules. That they did not know of or disclose the legal opinion on which Pillay’s retirement was based (in the public domain since 2014) has led to Freedom under Law and Helen Suzman foundation action for removal of Abrahams as head of NPA and Zuma seeking to pre-empt that by calling on Abrahams and two other NPA advocates to provide reasons not to be suspended. A similar process may end up being followed with Ntlemeza who is due to face similar action from FUL and HSF in early December
If Zuma gets rid of Abrahams and Ntlemeza, how does he secure the Nuclear deal and in the event of reinstatement of his 783 fraud etc charges who will be a barrier in the way of his facing these and possibly going to prison for that and potential charges over state capture?
As the Zuma presidency is engulfed by more and more crises of legality, corruption and other forms of irregularity Zuma is demonstrating as he has before that any ally is expendable if that is required to provide him with a measure of security. The latest to learn this is Shaun Abrahams.
It is some 9 years since he cut his ties with Shabir Shaik, whose payments to Zuma landed him in jail, albeit for a short period. Shaik managed to get ‘medical parole’ but clearly there is no longer any bond with Zuma.
Maybe Zuma’s options are gradually running out. In the course of a very short time he has seen the resignation of Brian Molefe, the potential permanent removal of Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi from the NPA (who sought to protect General Mdluli another Zuma ally from prosecution and of course bent every effort on the part of Jiba to save Zuma from reinstatement of charges). In order to protect himself Zuma is prepared to singlemindedly cut ties with those who have been fiercely loyal to him. He is clear about what he believes has to be done. On this he can be very decisive. But maybe his options are running out.