Au­thor hits at Zuma in book

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Stel­len­bosch

– “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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.