Editorial: Unbending Zuma could ignite strife

Johannesburg – It has become abundantly clear that former president Jacob Zuma has an appetite for taking this country into internal strife if the unfolding events, including those of the recent past weeks and months, are anything to go by.

It is already feared that the events unfolding around Zuma’s determined and stubborn refusal to obey and respect the laws of this country could lead to bloodshed, as reported somewhere else in this newspaper today.

In true African dictatorship style, Zuma has until now been holed up in his compound in Nkandla as his supporters – with gay abandon – threaten armed violence.


We are not going to call it possible insurrection at this stage without causing unnecessary panic.

Zuma has until now not condemned his supporters and their war talk or even tried to urge them to desist from threatening violence against the state.

The question of Zuma going to jail almost became inevitable this week after Judge Raymond Zondo delivered a stinging rebuke to Zuma’s continued de- ­ ance of the summons to appear before the commission, which is probing allegations of state capture.

Reflecting on Zuma’s behaviour, which he described as very serious, Zondo aptly said “there will be lawlessness and chaos in the courts because there may be other people who will decide to follow his example when they are served with summonses and other court processes” if it is allowed to prevail. Zondo sounded to be at his wits’ end as he described Zuma’s decision as a “great pity”, made all the more poignant because he had twice sworn to the nation to uphold the constitution when taking up office for two successive terms.

Enabling group. Cartoon by Yalo

Zuma appears to be emboldened in his de­fiance by the support he continues to receive from a certain faction of the governing party, which is unhappy about Ramaphosa’s presidency and his drive to curb widespread corruption, which took sway during Zuma’s presidency. Zuma has in the face of all efforts aimed at bringing back some sense into his head, remained de­ ant.

He has sought to portray himself as a martyr. He has said he would rather go to prison than subject himself to the laws of the country, laws which he chooses to liken to “the apartheid regime” when it suits him.

It is not only the Zondo Commission but also ordinary citizens of this country who are interested to know what Zuma has to say in response to allegations that he allowed the politically connected Gupta family to influence appointments to the cabinet and to stateowned enterprises.

As citizens of this country, we are entitled to hear from him why he seemingly outsourced such an important function of being the country’s president to foreign interests in the mold of the Gupta family.

This is tantamount to selling out the country, a fact conveniently ignored by peddlers of fake news within Zuma’s inner circle.

Should he fail to change his tactics, Zuma appears destined to join the likes of African warlords and rebel leaders like Jonas Savimbi of Angola, who unleashed untold misery simply because they either refused to relinquish power or did not want to account for their political excesses while in office.

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