South Africa

Editorial: Jacob Zuma – Man of No Character

By Daily Maverick 13 February 2018

A person's real character always emerges under pressure, and Zuma is certainly this country's ground zero right now. And everything that the people of South Africa could learn about Zuma's character over the years, and especially now, is that he doesn't have one.

He claimed he loved his South Africa, but he did everything in his power to ruin the country he “led” for so many years. He allowed the Guptas, and many more like them, to run roughshod over the South African people, ruining millions of lives and robbing the country of its future. It never mattered to him that black people’s lives in the country he presided over were not getting better, and for most of them, were getting worse.

His years in power brought in the worst enemy of a human being’s spirit – hopelessness. Millions were waking up in the country Jacob Zuma was busy ruining, knowing their todays would not be better than their yesterdays and tomorrows were going to be equally hopeless too. He never cared.

Zuma and his henchmen – and women – have over the years steadily eroded the very fundamentals of a modern democratic society, from attacking the public protector (and installing a pliant servant the next time around) to marshalling the parliamentarians into a deadly force that would readily violate the Constitution in order to cover for him. His pawns ran the SABC, SAA, Transnet, Eskom, and every other entity into the ground, ruining the economy in the process.

He swore a presidential oath to the Constitution of South Africa, but he worked tirelessly to undermine it. Many times, in moments of merriment, Zuma would express his fondness for dictatorship powers, even if only for six months, so he could “sort out the country”, laughing with abandon at the Constitution and its norms that he so readily accepted when he was inaugurated, his hand on the Bible. His words were just a means to an end – never the meaning itself.

(Granted, ascribing the term meaning to anything Zuma did would be a mistake.)

He often spoke about being a proud member of the mighty Zulu nation, but now hopes he could push them against the rest of South Africa, even in a violent conflict if need be, so they could serve his political needs of the day.

He claims he loves his family and yet he will leave them with a tarnished legacy of the tainted patriarch. To his next generation, he is handing a burden which children should never be saddled with, the burden of notoriety.

Perhaps more than anything else, over the many decades of his life, Jacob Zuma professed undying love for his beloved home, the ANC. But now, faced with the final political curtain, the man who couldn’t help but almost ruin the ANC’s good name and crucial standing in South African society is cheerily prepared to wreak havoc and devastation on the movement he claimed he lived for, and whose decisions were always going to be paramount for him. Until, of course, they ran against his personal interest.

For anyone still having any illusions about Jacob Zuma, the man, this final betrayal, the one of the ANC, should be telling enough: He was the worst possible combination of ignorance, selfishness and incompetence that could have been inflicted upon the long-suffering people of South Africa. Right now, stripped to the bare essence of being Zuma, the final image emerges, one of the selfish man who cared only for himself, and himself alone. History will judge him, and his enablers, harshly and definitively. It is time for the people of South Africa to do the same. DM

Photo: Jacob Zuma (Sapa)

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