Johannesburg – As South Africans who value the principles enshrined in our founding democratic constitution, we have never – not even in our wildest dreams – fathomed a day like Monday, February 1, 2021.
It will go down in history as the day when former president Jacob Zuma decided to embark on an extreme act of brinkmanship not seen since the dawn of democracy.
It was on this day that Zuma took all and sundry by surprise as he made an unprecedented announcement that he was going to be “defiant against” the Constitutional Court’s ruling, which ordered him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. In his statement, Zuma referred to the court’s ruling as “an injustice”.
He then embarked on emotive language like he “does not fear being arrested, and does not fear being incarcerated” as he – tongue in cheek – referred to laws of this country as “their law”, implying that he is not part of the laws governing this country.
In effect, Zuma this week began to define himself outside the laws of this country. He said the democratic government under President Cyril Ramaphosa (although he did not mention him by name) was behaving like an apartheid government. While we were still trying to take stock of Zuma’s act of brinkmanship and why he chose this dangerous road, we were told that an unlikely ally, his erstwhile political nemesis; the EFF’s Julius Malema has requested a meeting over a cup of tea.
This also happened as the ANC’s faction loyal to Zuma and which goes by the name of “Radical Economic Transformation” or RET was using the matter to further sow the seeds of hate and distrust on South Africa’s judiciary. Zuma can no longer be simply taken as an unhinged former president.
He has become dangerous to the stability of this country. By publicly defying the constitution, Zuma is attacking the heart of this country’s democracy. He is threatening the very essence of the soul of our nation. Generations and millions of South Africans have sacrificed their lives to ensure that a peaceful order was born and a constitutional democracy realised in this country.
However, this country has over the last few months witnessed unprecedented attacks directed at the very heart of South Africa’s democratic institutions, something almost unthinkable and without precedent from a former head of state. Rather than face the realities and consequences of his own political misdemeanours while he was still in office, Zuma has chosen to fan the flames of hatred and mislead millions of South Africans with blatant lies and conspiracy theories.
This shameful and heinous assault on the country’s constitutional democracy must not be allowed to continue.
It is particularly worrying especially as it bears all the hallmarks of (posing) a serious threat to social and political stability of this country. South Africa is surely going to be reduced to a banana republic if Zuma’s sins of coruption while he occupied political office cannot be investigated and punished.
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