President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing accusations of employing state organs to eliminate his political rivals, with critics claiming that arrests have significantly weakened the “RET faction,” Ramaphosa’s longstanding adversaries since his pre-2017 ANC presidency.
During Ramaphosa’s tenure, numerous opponents, including former President Jacob Zuma, ex-ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, and former spokesperson Carl Niehaus, among others, have faced legal actions. Niehaus, speaking to the Saturday Star, asserted that his arrest was politically motivated due to his support for Zuma and his persistent calls for Ramaphosa’s resignation.
Toshan Panday, a KZN businessman and known Zuma loyalist, also claims to be a victim of state victimization, citing raids and asset seizures. Panday, expressing concern, stated, “We are being persecuted, and the laws are being weaponized to deal with some of us.”
In 2021, Bongani Bongo, a former State Security minister, was cleared of corruption charges related to a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom in 2017. The case took a turn when the secretary to Parliament’s ethics committee, Shaham Langkar, accused the evidence leader, Ntuthuzelo Vanara, of lying and being used to “deal with Bongo.”
Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko, recently acquitted of corruption charges, accused the ANC, Ramaphosa, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of using the courts to victimize him and his family. Koko emphasized the need to uphold the rule of law and criticized the ANC’s loyalty to the Constitution.
Koko has laid a complaint with the public protector, alleging that the Investigating Directorate (ID) and the NPA have overstepped their bounds by “usurping the function of the courts.”
Despite arrests and legal battles, several pro-Zuma supporters still face charges, raising questions about the fairness and completeness of the legal proceedings.
Media personality Ngizwe Mchunu, a vocal critic of Ramaphosa, was arrested in 2021 for inciting violence, but charges were dropped earlier this month due to a lack of evidence from the NPA.
Attempts to obtain comments from President Cyril Ramaphosa were unsuccessful at the time of publication. The situation has sparked concerns about the potential misuse of state institutions for political purposes, leaving many to wonder who might be the next target in this growing list of legal challenges against Ramaphosa’s critics.