President Zuma in 2015 – the farce awakens
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.
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.
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.