What will the Good Book say?

CityPress - - Voices - Mondli Makhanya voices@city­press.co.za

Just a few hours af­ter he had con­ceded through his lawyers that the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity’s (NPA’s) de­ci­sion in 2009 to drop charges against him was ir­ra­tional, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma threat­ened to write a book.

While vis­it­ing the In­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional African Min­is­ters As­so­ci­a­tion of SA in Port Elizabeth, East­ern Cape, for much-needed prayers, Zuma told wor­ship­pers that “maybe when I write a book I will talk about this guy” from Nkandla in KwaZulu-Na­tal.

It was not the first time that Zuma had threat­ened to write a book, so we must take his claim se­ri­ously. Pre­sum­ably, he in­tends to dic­tate the book to some­one who will write it be­cause, as we all know ... nah, let’s leave it.

Any­way, when the pres­i­dent last made the threat – last year – he was ral­ly­ing sup­port­ers in KwaZu­lu­Na­tal to back him through his trou­bles. He said then that, in the book, he would re­veal the iden­tity of the sor­cer­ers who had made his life a liv­ing hell.

“One day, when I am re­tired, I will write my book and you will re­alise why I said what I said. This is be­cause I know where things went wrong. I know who the witches at work are. It is fine when the en­emy is at a dis­tance, but when it is your friend, it is not easy be­cause they know your weak­nesses,” said Zuma, omi­nously.

It was not the first time he had made that threat, ei­ther. More than a decade ago, when his fraud and cor­rup­tion charges were still fresh, Zuma said he would one day tell the whole story be­hind his so-called per­se­cu­tion. Back then, he also said that he could not wait to get his day in court so that he could clear his pris­tine name.

Eight years af­ter ANC heavy­weights shame­fully strong-armed the NPA into drop­ping charges against Zuma, the man may at last get his day in court.

If the judges at the Supreme Court of Ap­peal dis­miss the Zuma le­gal team’s bid to get him a sec­ond bite at the rep­re­sen­ta­tions cherry, NPA head Shaun Abra­hams will have no choice but to re­fer to Num­ber One as Ac­cused Num­ber One.

So, when (and if) the Book of Ja­cob is even­tu­ally writ­ten, it will not end with a fond farewell to the peo­ple from the top of the Union Build­ings’ lawns. If it is writ­ten truth­fully, it will not be a ro­man­tic story of a herd­boy who went on to be­come a strug­gle hero and a leader who rubbed shoul­ders with global lead­ers and roy­alty.

Inas­much as the “writer” will want to tell a sani­tised story of his jour­ney from poverty to power, a truth­ful Book of Ja­cob would have to be dom­i­nated by the flight of moral­ity from the for­mer herd­boy’s con­science and the in­flux of vile filth into that space.

An hon­est book will take us into his seedy re­la­tion­ships with grungy busi­ness­peo­ple, of whom con­victed fraud­ster Sch­abir Shaik is but one. It will show us how he man­aged to hood­wink a no­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion into be­liev­ing he could be the cus­to­dian of its val­ues and prin­ci­ples.

In those pages, the reader will learn how the man who crafted the im­age of be­ing a peo­ple’s cham­pion was, in fact, so greedy that, if it was pos­si­ble, he would have reached into their gul­lets to steal their food.

A frank Book of Ja­cob would also tell the story of a man who squan­dered a golden sec­ond chance. De­spite his cor­rupt deal­ings, his party res­cued him from po­lit­i­cal ex­ile and elected him to its lead­er­ship in 2007.

In 2009, it saved him from a hu­mil­i­at­ing crim­i­nal trial that would, in all like­li­hood, have re­sulted in his shar­ing com­mu­nal show­ers with heav­ily tat­tooed mem­bers of the 26 and 28 prison gangs.

Then the for­giv­ing peo­ple of the repub­lic el­e­vated him to the high­est of­fice in the land, be­liev­ing he had learnt his les­son and would hence­forth be­have.

What the party and the elec­torate did not re­alise was that this man was so gut­ted of moral­ity, he could not tell right from wrong. The mes­sage that he re­ceived from the sec­ond chance and his be­ing given the code to a big­ger safe was that he was home and dry, and could do as he wished.

So, he swapped Shaik – who, to be fair, was a self­s­tart­ing en­tre­pre­neur with a ter­ri­ble pen­chant for short cuts and quick wins by any means nec­es­sary – for a par­a­sitic fam­ily that just wanted to suck the state dry. Where Zuma’s other dodgy friends added some value to the econ­omy through their en­ter­prises, the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries of Zuma’s sec­ond chance were a fam­ily that were only skilled at tak­ing.

Such a book would also tell of how the 10 years spent de­fend­ing an in­cor­ri­gi­ble man had de­stroyed a 105-year-old in­sti­tu­tion, wrecked its re­la­tion­ship with its al­lies and torn apart a work­ers’ move­ment that was built on blood and sweat.

It would tell of an econ­omy that was re­duced to a tor­toise and a so­ci­ety that was taught that this “ethics what-what” was re­ally not that cool.

Those look­ing for­ward to Zuma stand­ing trial – which should hap­pen – should also brace them­selves for scenes uglier than those we wit­nessed a decade ago, when the “man of the peo­ple” ral­lied sup­port­ers to his cause.

That sup­port may have dwin­dled sig­nif­i­cantly since then, but those who re­main are cultists who will do any­thing for their cult fig­ure.

This is an­other rea­son the fi­nal chap­ter of this book may not be pleas­ant read­ing.

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