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Hlengiwe Nhlabathi and Setumo Stone

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma may gig­gle in front of cam­eras or crack jokes at ANC gath­er­ings, but that is only a fa­cade. In re­al­ity, Zuma is an­gry that his au­thor­ity has in­creas­ingly been chal­lenged and that his power is di­min­ish­ing. Adding to the list that once only fea­tured “clever blacks”, Zuma seems of­fended, up­set and em­bar­rassed by a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple and in­sti­tu­tions turn­ing against him

The ju­di­ciary

At the last ANC national ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing in Novem­ber, Zuma, faced with the prospect of a vote of no con­fi­dence among com­mit­tee mem­bers, al­legedly pitched him­self as a vic­tim of the courts and even the CIA. He said the courts and the CIA are the en­e­mies and they want to take him out be­cause he is from a ru­ral area and he is not ed­u­cated. He com­plained that non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and op­po­si­tion par­ties “ran” to the courts af­ter los­ing bat­tles in Par­lia­ment and that was a “mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of democ­racy”.

He said op­po­si­tion par­ties brought the sharpest lawyers to court, which he could not af­ford

Thuli Madon­sela

He said of Thuli Madon­sela’s State of Cap­ture re­port: “This re­port has been dealt with in a very funny way. It af­fected me and many. No fair­ness at all (sic),” said Zuma of the re­port, which or­dered him to es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion of in­quiry.

“I in­ter­dicted it be­cause she was go­ing to is­sue a re­port hav­ing not talked to me or asked me ques­tions,” he said in his de­fence to block­ing the re­lease of the re­port. Days later, a record­ing of Madon­sela’s meet­ing with Zuma emerged; in it, she pleads with the pres­i­dent to an­swer her ques­tions on the state cap­ture claim. “No one, no mat­ter what po­si­tion they hold, can in­struct the pres­i­dent to es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion and even tell the process through which it must go ... so that’s a prob­lem,” he said

The clergy

Just last week in Dur­ban, Zuma was an­noyed with church lead­ers, warn­ing them to stop med­dling in pol­i­tics be­cause their role was to “pray for political lead­ers”.

“It is sad to see the church and church lead­ers get­ting mired into mat­ters of pol­i­tics in­stead of pray­ing for lead­ers. I urge the church to pray for us as lead­ers‚ pray for our peo­ple to stop the ha­tred.”

It was a pri­est, Fa­ther Stanis­laus Muyebe of the Catholic Church, who was the first per­son to ask for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela to in­ves­ti­gate whether the Gup­tas had cap­tured Zuma to en­able his and their com­mer­cial in­ter­ests

The ANC’s in­tegrity com­mit­tee

Zuma com­plained to the NEC that the in­tegrity com­mit­tee was not fair on him as they had al­ready ex­pressed mis­giv­ings about him even be­fore they met him.

Af­ter meet­ing them, he said he told the com­mit­tee that they should not come to con­clu­sions with­out in­for­ma­tion, “oth­er­wise they would come to the wrong con­clu­sion”

Rat­ings agen­cies

In his crit­i­cism, he also said the rat­ings agen­cies’ ap­proach to eval­u­at­ing economies showed favouritism to those in Europe com­pared with de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

He also com­plained that South Africans politi­cise the rat­ings. “We tend to politi­cise the grad­ing. We pick and choose what we think rat­ing agen­cies will talk about. There was France in Septem­ber, the UK in June, Turkey in Septem­ber to junk sta­tus, Rus­sia, Brazil and China. I’m sure some of you here have heard for the first time that all these coun­tries – big and small – have been down­graded (sic)”

The op­po­si­tion

Par­lia­ment turned out not to be a happy hunt­ing ground for Zuma and he lashed op­po­si­tion MPs.

“Each time I come here I am abused. In­stead of an­swer­ing ques­tions‚ I am called a crim­i­nal ... a thief. This House has to do some­thing. If this House is not in­ter­ested in me an­swer­ing ques­tions‚ then don’t call me,” an ex­as­per­ated-sound­ing Zuma said in the National Assem­bly af­ter his sched­uled ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion was again dis­rupted by the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers led by Julius Malema.

In his Fe­bru­ary state of the na­tion ad­dress, he said: “They are show­ing how use­less they are, peo­ple will never vote for them. They don’t un­der­stand democ­racy, how it works. They just move with the wind when it goes this way, that way, shame on them”

Crit­i­cism by ANC stal­warts

Zuma said: “These peo­ple called the veter­ans, they have for­got­ten what our Con­sti­tu­tion says. They are say­ing what­ever they want, they are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to do what is not done, some­thing that they should go to jail for. Some call press con­fer­ences in or­der to re­lay a mes­sage di­rected at you. You hear in the me­dia that so and so has said this about you (sic)”

Civil so­ci­ety move­ments, ex­em­pli­fied by Save SA led by Sipho Pityana

“There are com­rades that we last saw in 1994, and have since changed … but all of a sud­den they are up in arms. Most of them are not ac­tive in their branches, they are nowhere in our struc­tures … and they say Save South Africa … save it from what?” asked Zuma at a rally re­cently


Speak­ing last month, he was crit­i­cal of how big busi­ness con­ducts it­self, say­ing they be­lieved that they could buy peo­ple. “They buy peo­ple like they are blaz­ers. They make you an of­fer you can­not refuse, they give you mil­lions and say that your chil­dren should never suf­fer.

“Some of us who don’t have money are promised prom­i­nent po­si­tions and then ask you for political favours in re­turn for po­si­tions. Then you find your­self in a trap (sic)”

THEUNS KRUGER, Graph­ics24

Thuli Madon­sela

Ahmed Kathrada

Hlengiwe Nhlabathi

Se­tuma Stone

Sipho Pityana

Julius Malema

Mmusi Maimane

Fa­ther Stanis­laus Muyebe

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