Undig­ni­fied to the end

The hours of de­lib­er­a­tion show that there is still strong sup­port for Zuma

The Witness - - OPINION - — News24.

IT is en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate that Ja­cob Zuma didn’t leave of­fice in a dig­ni­fied way, in a way that is in the in­ter­est of his party and the coun­try.

It de­fines his nine years in of­fice: ar­ro­gant, de­fi­ant, de­struc­tive, giv­ing the demo­cratic process the mid­dle fin­ger, and only serv­ing his own in­ter­ests.

As I write this, the news is that the ANC’s NEC sat for 13 hours and even­tu­ally de­ter­mined that he be asked to re­sign. He re­fused, want­ing three more months in of­fice.

If a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence is passed, the whole Cab­i­net gets dis­missed and Cyril Ramaphosa could ap­point a new one with­out hav­ing to fire the Zuma loy­al­ists and Gupta prox­ies like Des van Rooyen, Batha­bile Dlamini, Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane and David Mahlobo.

Zuma ac­tu­ally de­serves to be im­peached, caus­ing him to lose all his gen­er­ous ben­e­fits and se­cu­rity, but we have a Bud­get speech next week and many other ur­gent mat­ters — we can’t wait for that process.

Zuma’s demise will be an end to the dark­est chap­ter in South Africa’s his­tory since we be­came a democ­racy in 1994.

Now we un­der­stand a lit­tle bet­ter why Ramaphosa was be­ing so cau­tious in the past few weeks in his ef­forts to get Zuma to leave of­fice. It also tells us that Ramaphosa is go­ing to find it a tough job, an al­most im­pos­si­ble job, to lead the ANC if he wants to be true to his mis­sion of change, re­newal and growth.

The fact that it took so many hours of de­lib­er­a­tion by the ANC to get to a de­ci­sion to or­der Zuma to de­part tells us that there must have been strong sup­port for Zuma stay­ing on in the ANC’s top de­ci­sion­mak­ing body.

Who are these peo­ple? What could their mo­ti­va­tion be? Trib­al­ism? Greed? Fear of get­ting their dirty past ex­posed? A de­sire for what Gwede Man­tashe called “exit loot­ing”?

Some of them say in pub­lic that they’re stand­ing with Zuma be­cause only he will make sure rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion (RET) will hap­pen. We know that they know that they are ly­ing. Af­ter all the scan­dals at the state­owned en­ter­prises and all the hun­dreds of bil­lions of rands stolen and wasted, ev­ery­body knows the Zuma ver­sion of RET was in­deed rad­i­cal eco­nomic loot­ing; steal­ing from the poor.

The stark truth is that un­der Zuma, South Africa be­came poorer, more di­vided, more un­sta­ble and more un­equal.

Zuma ripped through the fab­ric of our so­ci­ety and com­pro­mised many im­por­tant state in­sti­tu­tions.

He out­sourced the po­lit­i­cal power we, the peo­ple, en­trusted him with, to an im­mi­grant fam­ily in ex­change for favours and money. He al­lowed this fam­ily to in­sult us and sub­vert our sovereignty and na­tional pride.

He un­der­mined our ju­di­cial sys­tem and re­peat­edly vi­o­lated his oath of of­fice and our Con­sti­tu­tion. He bla­tantly lied to Par­lia­ment on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

He de­stroyed many of the hard­won gains our so­ci­ety had made be­tween 1994 and 2009.

He sat on a throne like a feared king, dish­ing out and re­ceiv­ing favours and gifts. He did se­ri­ous dam­age to our econ­omy and sin­gle­hand­edly caused a credit down­grade.

His per­sonal life is a mess and he em­bar­rassed his coun­try in the eyes of the African con­ti­nent and the world. He ruled by fear and di­vi­sion. He dis­cred­ited the con­cept of a rapid trans­for­ma­tion by us­ing the con­cepts rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal as a smoke­screen for large­scale theft of pub­lic money. He was driven by greed, lust for power and para­noia about end­ing up in jail. He sys­tem­at­i­cally de­stroyed po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity.

Dur­ing his nine years in power, money meant for de­vel­op­ment and al­le­vi­at­ing the plight of the poor was brazenly stolen by his in­ner cir­cle and busi­ness bud­ dies.

He brought back some­thing the ANC had suc­cess­fully fought against for a cen­tury: trib­al­ism and eth­nic chau­vin­ism.

And when it was his time to go, he threat­ened and mo­bilised and played dan­ger­ous games.

We must take the names down of those in po­si­tions of power who still sup­ported him af­ter it be­came clear that the broader ANC and the pub­lic wanted the new ANC pres­i­dent to take over the lead­er­ship of the coun­try. We should re­mem­ber their names, be­cause they can’t be trusted. The ANC it­self should re­mem­ber their names, be­cause they clearly don’t have their party’s in­ter­ests at heart. They’re com­plicit in the atroc­i­ties of their leader.

I have come across sev­eral long­time ANC sup­port­ers who re­fused to vote for the ANC at the last elec­tion. They told me they’re ready to re­turn to the fold be­cause un­der Ramaphosa the hon­our of the ANC will be re­stored. But will it? What does it say about the ANC if so many in po­si­tions of power still cling to this cor­rupt man who did South Africa such un­speak­able harm?

I have been very up­beat about what Ramaphosa could achieve as the new ANC leader, but I clearly un­der­es­ti­mated how many se­nior ANC lead­ers stub­bornly side with Zuma.

A mere week ago, I still be­lieved that the change in lead­er­ship could make it pos­si­ble for the ANC to re­ju­ve­nate and even be­come a modern po­lit­i­cal party in­stead of a tired for­mer lib­er­a­tion move­ment. Now I’m not so sure.

Per­haps this pes­simism will lift once Ramaphosa has es­tab­lished him­self in Tuyn­huys.

But the much­ex­pected Cyril Spring has started on a very chilly note.

Max du Preez

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