Zuma got a lit­tle help from friends

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE -

WH E N open­ing the SACP congress on Tues­day, party boss Blade Nz­i­mande ac­cused Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma of be­tray­ing him and the party.

Nz­i­mande, who was set to re­tain his po­si­tion as gen­eral sec­re­tary, said Zuma, a man he sup­ported whole­heart­edly, had bro­ken their trust.

He was one of the last men stand­ing be­hind Zuma ever since he as­sisted him to as­cend to the Union Build­ings in 2008. He seemed sin­cere in his ad­mis­sion that Zuma had dis­ap­pointed them.

But Nz­i­mande did not apol­o­gise to the na­tion for his role in help­ing Zuma to power and help­ing him sus­tain it.

How dis­as­trous the pres­i­dent’s ten­ure has been is a mat­ter of pub­lic record. It has been char­ac­terised by an orgy of loot­ing of state re­sources.

Not only has Zuma mort­gaged our coun­try to his friends the Gup­tas and his son Duduzane, but he has also paved the way for them to de­rail the coun­try’s aim of cre­at­ing a bet­ter life for all.

The Gup­tas and their acolytes have suc­ceeded where many, in­clud­ing the so-called white monopoly cap­i­tal have failed – to weaken the ANC and the state.

These are two in­stru­ments on which the hopes of mil­lions of South Africans have been rest­ing for the achieve­ment of that dream of a pros­per­ous South Africa, where ev­ery ci­ti­zen is af­forded an equal op­por­tu­nity at a bet­ter life.

The move­ment is be­ing hol­lowed out and the prospect of los­ing power has be­come real. How did we get here? Nz­i­mande, former ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Julius Malema and former Cosatu boss Zwelinz­ima Vavi must be held ac­count­able for Project Zuma.

The SACP ex­plains that the Zuma project set about tak­ing a wrong turn in the sec­ond term – in about 2014 – seven years after he was elected ANC pres­i­dent in 2007.

I hardly find this con­vinc­ing. It was known as early as be­fore 2007 that Zuma was go­ing to wreak havoc on the state, and would have lit­tle re­gard for the con­sti­tu­tion.

The for­ma­tion of Cope in 2008 was not only out of anger about former pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki’s re­moval but also their be­lief that Zuma was sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­rup­tion and the prob­a­bil­ity of him suf­fo­cat­ing the state. Malema even went to the ex­tent of say­ing the ANCYL wanted Zuma “with his cor­rup­tion”.

JZ, as he was af­fec­tion­ately called, was fac­ing 783 charges of cor­rup­tion, money laun­der­ing and rack­e­teer­ing.

Prose­cut­ing Zuma was part of a po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy to stop him from go­ing to the Union Build­ings, or so the ar­gu­ment went. He ar­rived at the Union Build­ings, and power slowly but surely shifted from Pre­to­ria to Sax­on­wold in Joburg, dur­ing the creation of what aca­demics and the South African Coun­cil of Churches call a mafia state.

While this was hap­pen­ing, those who cared to speak up were ac­cused of hat­ing Zuma and were part of an “anti-ma­jori­tar­ian of­fen­sive” led by civil so­ci­ety and the me­dia.

A se­nior com­mu­nist such as SACP deputy chair­per­son Thu­las Nx­esi went out of his way to de­fend the shame­ful spend­ing on Zuma’s Nkandla pri­vate home.

Now, Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has joined forces with the SACP to fight against state cap­ture.

Where were they when the Gup­tas laid the foun­da­tion for this loot­ing?

Ramaphosa tells us that the Gup­tas have si­phoned bil­lions of rand from our cof­fers. This was over a long pe­riod.

As the deputy pres­i­dent of the coun­try since 2014, where was Ramaphosa as the Gup­tas and Zuma were set­ting up and start­ing to op­er­ate their net­works?

He and the SACP were de­fend­ing the pres­i­dent, say­ing he was a nice guy who was never liked by the me­dia, civil so­ci­ety and op­po­si­tion par­ties.

Nz­i­mande and the SACP were com­plicit in the set­ting up of this “par­al­lel state”.

So they, to some ex­tent, aided and abet­ted the foun­da­tion of state cap­ture, by com­mis­sion or omis­sion, through their vo­cif­er­ous de­fence of Zuma un­til late after the fall­out. It even took time for the SACP to come out and con­demn the Nkandla project.

We are a coun­try that has dropped the ac­count­abil­ity bar on many fronts. It has be­come com­mon cause that our politi­cians com­mit some shame­ful acts and then get away with just say­ing “I am sorry”.

The cul­ture of a per­son fall­ing on their sword is just not part of our body politic. How un­for­tu­nate.

Nz­i­mande did not even bother to apol­o­gise to the na­tion about his role in the dis­as­trous Zuma ten­ure. All he has been say­ing is that Zuma is worse than his pre­de­ces­sor, Mbeki.

Ac­count­abil­ity, hon­est con­fes­sions and an apol­ogy is also owed by those men and women in the top six of the ANC, its na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee and the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

These in­clude ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe and trea­surer Zweli Mkhize. They too know that they were part of the Zuma tsunami that has been sweep­ing through the state-owned en­ter­prises, hol­low­ing them out for loot­ing.

The fact that Man­tashe, Nz­i­mande, Malema, Vavi, Ramaphosa and oth­ers have fi­nally found their voice against Zuma is not suf­fi­cient.

There must be a Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion-style con­fes­sion for them. We can’t just af­ford to give them un­con­di­tional amnesty.

This will be the be­gin­ning of their jour­ney to con­vince us, the peo­ple, to give them a sec­ond chance and for­give them for their par­tic­i­pa­tion, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, in state cap­ture.

But as things stand, they must shoul­der some of the blame for state cap­ture and its rav­aging ef­fects on our econ­omy, the gov­ern­ment and their party, the ANC. George Mat­lala is In­de­pen­dent Me­dia’s Gaut­eng po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor

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