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Opinionista

Jacob Zuma enabled by insurrectionists desperately clinging to the trough of greed and malfeasance

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Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar was raised by his determined maternal family. He is an admitted attorney (formerly of the corporate type), with exposure in the public sector, management consulting, advisory and private sector. The focus of his work is about enabling equity, justice and leveraging public policy effectively. He had a stint in the South African party-political environment and found the experience a deeply educational one.

Those agitating and mobilising outside Nkandla would have us believe that their show of force is an act of defiance. We know better, and we see their desperate fear for what it is – an intentional affront to our rule of law and the values of our constitutional democracy.

The growing escalation of events following the decision of the Constitutional Court to jail Jacob Zuma for 15 months should not surprise the people of our country. It is not surprising that the intentional escalation of events in Nkandla and in KwaZulu-Natal has been manufactured by those who have constantly shown their disrespect and disdain for the rule of law and for the people of this country.

The State Capture project was not accidental or incidental to the former presidency of Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma – rather it was the sole focus of that presidency. The lost decade was enabled not only by one leader of the African National Congress, but a host of political and societal actors who continue to battle in his name.

Some of those actors have moved on from the Zuma project, but far too many have remained within the corridors of power and government. Those agitating and mobilising outside the Zuma residential compound in Nkandla would have us believe that their show of force is a warning and act of defiance. We know better, and we see their desperate fear for what it is – an intentional affront to our rule of law and the values of our constitutional democracy.

Our Constitutional Court this past week, in its precedent-setting judgment, was unequivocal in fulfilling its role as guardian of our democracy. Some of the Nkandla agitators would want to suggest that our judicial system is captured or somehow subverted, but we know that this is another attempt to avoid accountability. Our Constitutional Court has resisted the poison and corruption of the State Capture project. The portrayal of Zuma as a victim and subject to the whims of political foes is disingenuous for a man who continues to actively subvert the rule of law and avoid accountability in our democratic dispensation.

Those agitators in Nkandla are not simply expressing their views, as Zuma suggested on Sunday, but are intentionally agitating to create a storm and crisis to distract the nation. The playbook is a tried and tested method utilised by the State Capture conspirators and enablers, but they seem to forget that South Africa today is quite different to when Zuma was sworn in as the country’s fourth president on 9 May 2009.

The legal tactics and antics that will play out in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday will continue to capture the national media attention, as much as the impending rescission application that the Constitutional Court has agreed to hear on Monday, 12 July. However, Zuma and his supporters know that the decision of the Constitutional Court remains binding regardless of those court applications, and that he should abide by handing himself over as directed by the Constitutional Court.

Zuma and his supporters have this past weekend shown their complete disdain for the rule of law, and instead of being happy to push out the usual tropes, portraying and playing the victim and peddling conspiracies, Zuma has told us that he is not happy with the decision of the State Capture Commission, he is not happy with the majority decision of the Constitutional Court, and as a result he believes that he can simply ignore it. A staggering admission by the former president, but one that should not surprise us.

South Africa’s founding president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was mindful of the role that our judicial system should play in a free and fair democratic South Africa. Madiba, like many freedom-loving South Africans today, was aware that our judicial system was essential for enabling the transformation of a democratic South Africa.

Mandela, on the occasion of the establishment of our Constitutional Court some 26 years ago, was unwavering when he reminded the incoming justices and the judicial system at large that, “We expect you to stand on guard, not only against direct assault on the principles of the Constitution, but against insidious corrosion. Attacks on the basic rights of the people are invariably couched in innocent language.”

Zuma and all those who have continued to enable his active defiance are peddling their views in insidious and insurrectionist language and conduct. The sheer scale of this defiance is not simply to assault those who differ with them politically, but is a direct assault on the principles and values of our Constitution.

South Africa finds itself at another crossroads, but we must hold firm to the foundations of our democratic principles and values. The fundamental pillars of this democracy are no longer in the service of Zuma and his insurrectionist State Capture apparatchiks. Those foundations in Parliament, our elected government and our judicial system, must be steadfast in serving the people of this country.

Propaganda and insurrectionist conduct in Nkandla, at the urging of Zuma, seeks to impugn the sacred oath that has been sworn by the justices of the Constitutional Court, and he seeks to unravel our democratic principles.

However, we see through this farce, and South Africans must mobilise, not in self-interest or disdain for the rule of law, but to protect and defend the democratic values of South Africa.

Madiba, on the inauguration of our apex court in February 1995, knew that the court and its guardians would be tasked with an immense responsibility, and that the authority to do so came from South Africans and the Constitution. 

“The people speak through the Constitution. The Constitution enables the multiple voices of the people to be heard in an organised, articulate, meaningful and principled manner,” Mandela said.

We know better, Mr Zuma, we see through this farce and escalation that seeks to undermine not simply the Constitutional Court and our rule of law, but the sacrifice and endurance of millions of South Africans. Zuma may pontificate and make pronouncements from Nkandla, but we know that he does so enabled by insurrectionists who are desperately clinging to the trough of greed and malfeasance.

South Africans must be reminded that we are duty-bound to reject this behaviour for what it is, we must continue to honour the Constitution, and know that in doing so, as Madiba said, there are “no short cuts, no easy solutions”, but we have the might of the Constitution to protect us against this show of brute force.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, National Commissioner Khehla Sithole and Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi have a duty to uphold the rule of law, and are ordered to do so by the Constitutional Court. Zuma has actively challenged the law, as have the crowds outside Nkandla, and our judicial system and the people of South Africa demand that they arrest Zuma as directed to do so.

This insidious conduct will continue to escalate, seeking to protect corrupt individuals enabled by delinquents and the State Capture project politicians and tenderpreneurs. Those are the people who showed up for Zuma – not ordinary South Africans, but only those who have benefited from his immoral and corrupt presidency. This is not the will of the people, but rather of charlatans, criminals and delinquents.

South Africans, continue to be steadfast in defending our democracy against these insurrectionists. Continue to push for accountability and stand up to those who peddle half-truths and mistruths to protect their stolen privilege that has impoverished millions of South Africans. DM

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