Pres­i­dent Zuma in 2015 – the farce awak­ens

Hlengiwe Nh­la­bathi

CityPress - - News -

Gam­bling with Na­tional Trea­sury

Zuma’s brief re­place­ment of re­spected fi­nance min­is­ter Nh­lanhla Nene with an un­known par­lia­men­tary back­bencher, Des van Rooyen, cost the coun­try R171 bil­lion as the rand plum­meted in re­ac­tion to the news. After be­ing called to or­der by busi­ness and his ANC coun­ter­parts, Zuma did a his­toric about-turn and re­in­stalled Pravin Gord­han as fi­nance min­is­ter. He de­ployed Van Rooyen to co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs, the post held by Gord­han. This swap calmed an eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal storm, but was de­scribed as a farce by ANC al­lies, in­clud­ing Cosatu.

Mosebenzi Zwane

Not much was known about Zwane, but af­ter a se­ries of se­cret ma­noeu­vres were un­der­taken for more than a month, the for­mer Free State agri­cul­ture MEC was ap­pointed as the new min­eral re­sources min­is­ter in Septem­ber. Zwane’s ap­point­ment was met with dis­may by the min­ing in­dus­try and other ob­servers. Those in the know say the new min­ing min­is­ter played a role in the in­fa­mous land­ing at Waterk­loof Air Force Base of a Gupta-char­tered plane car­ry­ing guests from In­dia to a fam­ily wed­ding at Sun City.


Zuma used one of his ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sions in Par­lia­ment to make a mock­ery of the op­po­si­tion for rais­ing the is­sue of the mul­ti­mil­lion­rand up­grades to his home. His dress­ing-down of the op­po­si­tion – ac­com­pa­nied by re­marks that trended for days on so­cial me­dia like “Thixo wase Ge­orge Goch” and “Maibabo” – had the coun­try in stitches. Zuma also mocked DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s man­ner of speak­ing. But con­sid­er­ing the R246 mil­lion spent on his ru­ral home, the joke is on South Africans.

Omar al-Bashir

Zuma’s gov­ern­ment de­lib­er­ately ig­nored pleas from the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court to ar­rest Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of war crimes and geno­cide. It al­lowed him to leave the coun­try in fla­grant dis­re­gard of a court or­der that sought to get the South African gov­ern­ment to ar­rest Al-Bashir. Zuma shocked many peo­ple last month when he twice de­clared that the ANC, and not the coun­try, came first.

“I ar­gued one time with some­one who said the coun­try comes first and I said, as much as I un­der­stand that, I think my or­gan­i­sa­tion, the ANC, comes first. Be­cause those peo­ple, if they are not part of the ANC and there was no ANC, they could be mis­led,” he told del­e­gates at the gov­ern­ing party’s KwaZulu-Natal con­fer­ence.


When stu­dents marched on the Union Build­ings de­mand­ing a freeze on in­creases in their uni­ver­sity fees, Zuma failed to come out on stage to face the Africa is the big­gest con­ti­nent. All other con­ti­nents can fit into Africa. Zuma was brave enough to say this at a busi­ness event, where he had also told the sec­tor he was merely a politi­cian and did not know much about the econ­omy.

“This con­ti­nent is the big­gest con­ti­nent in the world. All con­ti­nents put to­gether will fit into Africa,” the pres­i­dent said.

“Africa is not sep­a­rated even by a river. The rivers that are there, flow with the con­ti­nent – they don’t cut it into half or quar­ter.” Wrong! The big­gest con­ti­nent is, of course, Asia – even in terms of pop­u­la­tion size.

Nh­lanhla Nene

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