Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma has a knack for plunging South Africa into despair as well as for consuming every available ounce of oxygen. Zuma, the Guptas and the band of reckless, self-indulgent and destructive followers have the habit of casting dark and deep shadows over South Africa’s future. Zuma, and all that he has come to symbolise and represent, has very little regard for the consequences of his actions. And a total disregard for the burden that South Africa is being forced to accept because of the failed years under a man who is not fit for purpose.
It should not surprise us that Zuma this past week would demand that Pravin Gordhan and the National Treasury team should return to South Africa, thereby cancelling an important international South Africa Inc roadshow. A decision that was made by the Presidency not at the 11th hour – but rather a decision made at the worst possible moment – during the course of that roadshow and with little appreciation or care for what the consequences would be for that sudden about-turn.
South Africans are not taken into the confidence of the president. Instead the rumour mill and reports of secret “intelligence reports” (all based on the usual mudslinging and innuendo) make the rounds in this vacuum. South Africans have a very reasonable and sound expectation that they should be able to have faith that their elected leadership will act in the interests of the republic and in accordance with the Constitution. However, we are burdened, and have been burdened for far too long, with a man that is not only unsuitable to hold the office of president but who also continues to wilfully plunge South Africa into the darkness.
It is easy to forget that there is a great deal that remains possible should South Africans start the process of reclaiming their country from Zuma and his cabal who have so gleefully indulged in all of the obfuscation, theatrics and dirty politicking for their own very narrow interest and at the expense of South Africa’s present and future.
We must prepare ourselves in the coming days and weeks because logic, reason and restraint are not virtues or words that are understood or appreciated by this cabal of destructive individuals. The republic is at stake and we must heed the call that is growing in strength across our nation. We must protect the republic.
The reporting since Monday appears to suggest that Zuma had particular intentions of removing Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas with some talk that this irrational decision by Zuma was spurred on by some manufactured “intelligence report” that Gordhan and his colleagues at the National Treasury were plotting against the president. A misdirection but the usual and expected antics from a cabal that has very little capacity for original thought or meaningful appreciation for the South African project, its democratic institutions or the needs and desires of its people.
It is against this backdrop that the loss of a South African giant is even more harrowing. South Africa has lost another giant and the sadness of losing Ahmed Kathrada, a true man of principle and integrity, is especially felt in these troubled times. Uncle Kathy reminded us often that the struggle for freedom came at a profound cost and accordingly the building of a new country requires a commitment by all South Africans, especially our elected leaders, to uphold the values and aspirations with the knowledge that our fight for freedom was also a moral fight for what was right and just. Zuma and his cabal disgrace the legacy of that fight for freedom and disrespect the profound and heart-wrenching cost that secured a free and democratic South Africa.
Last year in April, Uncle Kathy had to remind Zuma that he had a particular role to play in our democracy and that the “position of president is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans. It is a position that requires the respect of all South Africans, which of course must be earned at all times. The position of president is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans. It is a position that requires the respect of all South Africans, which of course must be earned at all times”.
Zuma did not take heed of that call or the many other pleas that simply asked him to do the right thing. On Wednesday, at Uncle Kathy’s funeral service, Kgalema Motlanthe during his eulogy quoted extensively from Uncle Kathy’s open letter to Zuma and repeated the call to say “in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?”
We have hoped before that Zuma would heed the call for sensibility and finally act in the interest of the Republic. However, Zuma and his cabal have continued to wilfully act with very little regard for our Constitution, the democratic institutions that they should uphold and protect. Instead they have continued to play out their game of wilful sabotage. On the issue of removing Gordhan, there appears to be a stalemate between those in the Zuma cabal that wish to continue tearing down the promise of South Africa and those that wish to protect our democracy from that conduct.
We must give pause in these troubled times as we remember Uncle Kathy and all that he represented. Zuma and his cabal are not simply going to start conducting themselves in a manner that is befitting of their position or station in our republic. We will have to protect the republic from the antics of these reckless fools not only in the coming days and weeks but rather to do so urgently, vigilantly and consistently. We must remember that no individual or party should ever be greater than our South African project and that if we are ever going to confront poverty, unemployment, inequality as well as the work that will be required to rebuild our democratic institutions then we will need to start the work immediately and in spite of Zuma and his cabal. DM