Man­dela Foun­da­tion blasts Zuma, joins calls for lead­er­ship change

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The foun­da­tion set up to guard the legacy of the late Nelson Man­dela yes­ter­day blamed South Africa’s Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma for the “wheels com­ing off” Africa’s most in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tion and urged a change in po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. Since com­ing to power in 2009, Zuma has sur­vived a string of cor­rup­tion scan­dals al­most un­scathed.

But South Africa has had to bear the cost of his an­tics as in­vestors worry about its po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, busi­ness cli­mate and rule of law. The non-profit Nelson Man­dela Foun­da­tion, whose board con­sists of ten prom­i­nent South African aca­demics, politi­cians and jour­nal­ists, called on the African Na­tional Congress (ANC), the lib­er­a­tion move­ment once headed by Man­dela and now led by Zuma, to change its lead­er­ship.

“We call on the govern­ing party to take the steps nec­es­sary to en­sure that the ve­hi­cle of state be pro­tected and placed in safe and ca­pa­ble hands,” it said in a rare state­ment en­ti­tled: “Time to ac­count for crip­pling the state”. Zuma’s spokesman did not an­swer a phone call seek­ing com­ment. Sev­eral ANC mem­bers have called for the 74year-old to quit but the ANC’s top ech­e­lons have backed him. In Au­gust mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions the ANC suf­fered its worst losses since tak­ing power when apartheid fell in 1994. Op­po­si­tion par­ties and civic groups are plan­ning to march in the cap­i­tal Pre­to­ria on Wed­nes­day to de­mand, among other things, that he re­sign. In a blow to Zuma and the ANC, Ndileka Man­dela, a grand­child of Man­dela, backed the foun­da­tion’s stance. “As Gran­dad al­ways said, if the ANC does what the apartheid govern­ment did, you have ev­ery right to do what we did to the apartheid govern­ment,” she said. “That state­ment could never be more true than now with what we are see­ing hap­pen­ing.”

But Zuma has shown no signs of step­ping down be­fore his sec­ond and fi­nal term as pres­i­dent is up in 2019, de­spite cor­rup­tion scan­dals dam­ag­ing him both fi­nan­cially and po­lit­i­cally. In March, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court or­dered him to re­pay some of the $16 mil­lion spent on en­hanc­ing his Nkandla home in ru­ral KwaZulu-Natal prov­ince. But Zuma weath­ered a mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence in par­lia­ment over the scan­dal and has since paid back more than $500,000.

The Man­dela Foun­da­tion said the court rul­ing over Nkandla was an ex­am­ple of how Zuma had failed to up­hold the con­sti­tu­tion. “It is in­creas­ingly a na­tional con­sen­sus that he has failed the test,” it said. Zuma is also en­tan­gled in a scan­dal around the al­leged po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence of a trio of wealthy broth­ers. About a hun­dred protesters chanted slo­gans against Zuma out­side a court in Pre­to­ria where his lawyers were try­ing to de­lay the re­lease of a re­port on the mat­ter.

The pres­i­dent also faced ac­cu­sa­tions of med­dling af­ter fraud charges against Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han were un­ex­pect­edly dropped on Mon­day. Near record un­em­ploy­ment and a stag­nant econ­omy have ex­ac­er­bated dis­con­tent with Zuma’s govern­ment, which also failed to end weeks of of­ten vi­o­lent stu­dent demon­stra­tions over the cost of univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion. The Man­dela Foun­da­tion said it had seen a weak­en­ing of law en­force­ment bod­ies un­der Zuma and sup­ported “the de­mand to hold to ac­count those re­spon­si­ble for com­pro­mis­ing our demo­cratic state and loot­ing its re­sources.”— Reuters

South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

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