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Zuma’s Wrecking Ball: The parasitic consumption of the presidency and the republic


Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar was born in Cape Town and raised by his determined mother, grandparents, aunt and the rest of his maternal family. He is an admitted attorney (formerly of the corporate hue), with recent exposure in the public sector, and is currently working on transport and infrastructure projects. He is a Mandela Washington Fellow, a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, and a WEF Global Shaper. He had a brief stint in the contemporary party politic environment working for Mamphela Ramphele as Agang CEO and chief-of-staff; he found the experience a deeply educational one.

The ANC has an important weekend ahead and in this age of collective leadership it will be critical, for the republic and its citizens, that the leaders of the ANC’s National Executive Committee start standing for more than just defending Zuma.

South Africans over these past few years have had to contend with the unthinkable (most of it of a bizarre nature). Our country and future have been consumed by President Jacob Zuma and the fallacy that is his presidency, under the instruction of the Guptas. We have been forced to confront the theatrics of the Gupta family and their antics in our mines, our boardrooms, our newspapers, our TVs, our military air force bases and now even with the appointment of Cabinet members and surely other senior government officials.

Mr Zuma has always had a huge entourage of interested individuals who would dote dutifully on his well-being. It can be no surprise that the willful sabotage that has been captured these past few weeks by the Daily Maverick, and other news titles, by Zuma has continued unabated and that his inability to lead has consumed the state apparatus and has paralysed a 104-year-old liberation movement.

None of this is surprising if we are brutally honest, as the disaster, the wrecking ball, the chaos that consumes the air is exactly what Jacob Zuma is about. We all knew that the clouds lingered heavily around him, a man who is unable to lead himself. Mr Zuma is known to live beyond his means, and has on a number of occasions been bailed out by a number of benefactors including Mr Mandela, the Shaik family and Vivian Reddy among a string of other benefactors, sympathisers and supporters.

Vytjie Mentor took to the airwaves last night on Power FM and spoke about her unexpected meeting with the Guptas when she was under the impression she was travelling to the Union Buildings to see Mr Zuma. Mentor’s version is that Zuma would in fact see her only later that day but only after the bizarre meeting where she was offered a Cabinet position by the Guptas.

Mr Zuma, unable to channel integrity, is instead gripped with an inability to recall or to do anything to stop his close personal friends.

Patriotism is not going to be enough to save the republic and to correct the rot that has set in under Zuma’s Presidency. The antics of the Guptas are nothing new in South Africa except that the scale of it is unthinkable and offensive.

These past few weeks have reminded us all what is at stake if we allow the corrupt and broken to preside over our democracy.

We hoped that Zuma would serve out his time and go quietly into the night. Instead, we have seen a Kebble-esque parasitic consumption of the presidency and the republic and the ANC. We have been compromised and consumed by the cabal of Mr Zuma and the Guptas. We only need to look back to the relationship of our current Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and the late Brett Kebble to understand what the consequences are if people allow corrupt and parasitic practices to seep into organisations. Kebble gave such significant support to the ANC’s Youth League that at the time it was widely reported that he controlled it.

Zuma has allowed these elements to capture the state apparatus and allowed their agenda to trump any constitutional considerations and, even more shockingly, the interests of South Africans. As Kebble was able to capture many leaders within the ANC Youth League, the Guptas have perfected the art of acting as a generous patron and friend that is then able to use other people’s money (often our own taxpayers’ money) to buy influence and power.

The capture that the ANC now speaks of is nothing new but the Guptas have perfected the art because they have indeed captured the biggest fish yet in our post-democratic history. We have seen Barbara Hogan, Mcebisi Jonas and Vytjie Mentor come out fighting claiming that the Guptas usurped our democracy to act with brazen arrogance to peddle corruption.

In all of this chaos, it will be critical to consider why so many comrades remain quiet.

Where is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa? Why have Zuma’s Cabinet colleagues and his fellow top six ANC leaders not dealt with this already? DM


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