Author hits at Zuma in book
– “I have survived several attempts to kill me,” former president Jacob Zuma had claimed in one of his many rants against the corruption allegations which forced him to resign in 2018.
His words drew little sympathy and inspired bestselling thriller novelist Deon Meyer, pictured, to hit out at the scandal-plagued former president and other corruption-tainted officials in his last book.
Published in 2018, The Last Hunt follows detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido as they investigate the disappearance of an ex-member of South Africa’s elite police unit.
They enter the treacherous world of high-level government corruption and uncover a conspiracy against the president, who is modelled on Zuma.
Zuma is accused of orchestrating a systematic plunder of government coffers during his nineyear administration – a scandal known as “state capture”.
He is also suspected of taking kickbacks from a multimillion-dollar arms deal during the late ’90s, for which he has been criminally charged.
An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday after Zuma skipped pre-trial court attendance on grounds of ill-health.
“I have written this book because I was very angry,” Meyer said during an interview in Stellenbosch, where he lives.
“We have been through so much in this country... to see Zuma messing up the whole process made me very angry,” he said.
“This guy (Zuma) is so bad, so corrupt, he is doing so much damage, surely there must be someone out there who thinks one solution would be to get rid of him.”
The 61-year-old former journalist said all the characters in The Last Hunt are based on real people implicated in “state capture”.
Zuma, ministers, senior officials and the wealthy Indian-born Gupta brothers all feature in the novel under different names.
“I didn’t want to embarrass the publisher,” said Meyer, adding that naming the former president could see him being sued.
“I don’t think there is any doubt it’s him (Zuma) I was writing about,” he said.
Only a handful of the government and business figures listed in The Last Hunt are under investigation in the real world.
No one has been sentenced so far, and they all plead not guilty.
Meyer presents a different, more optimistic scenario in which justice is served. – AFP