Editorial: Our nation’s stability is on a knife’s edge

Johannesburg – In any sound democracy, the arrest and incarceration of a wayward former head of state, such as former president Jacob Zuma, would have sparked widespread jubilation and wild celebrations from the country’s populace.

The imprisonment of an unrepentant and petulant leader like Zuma, who in the face of overwhelming evidence pointing to his collusion in widespread looting of his own country’s resources, would have been celebrated as a major step towards fixing the country’s political ills.

On the contrary, we have been witnessing the mobilisation of vigilante groups led by one Carl Niehaus, who say they are going to ensure that Zuma does not go to jail.

We have over the past days been witnessing the emergence of armed groupings marching to Zuma’s Nkandla’s homestead where they hope to form a human shield and use violence in an attempt to stop the police from arresting him. As reported in this newspaper today, Zuma’s supporters have become a serious threat to the security of the country.

To them, it is Zuma or nothing. No matter how much wrong he has done to the country and its people.

We also fail to understand how come the police have until now failed to search these groupings for illegal firearms and other weapons, as it is clear that some of them are armed to the teeth It has become abundantly clear that South Africa is going to witness the emergence of terrorist rebel groups like Unita in Angola under Jonas Savimbi and Renamo in Mozambique under Afonso Dhlakama if the situation outside Zuma’s home is allowed to continue.

It is time for the government to show bold and decisive action if our democracy is not going to be threatened by the emergence of vigilante forces whose sole purpose is to promote and protect lawlessness.

We fail to understand why his supporters would risk our country’s stability for the man who has himself said he does not fear to go to jail.

Zuma has for a long time shown disdain to the country’s democratic institutions, most notably the Constitutional Court. He has shown utter contempt for his own party, the ANC, when they pleaded with him to stop defying the country’s apex court and submit himself to cross-examination by the Zondo Commission, which has been probing how the South African state became captured by his friends under his rule. He showed the country and its democratic institutions a middle finger instead.

In not so many words, he has previously threatened war and violence should he be sent to jail.

It is also time for peace-loving South Africans to stand up in defence of democracy against these rowdy and unruly groupings who are hellbent on rendering the country ungovernable. President Cyril Ramaphosa must show leadership.

The country cannot afford instability which could have ghastly consequences for our nation. This insurrection must urgently and decisively be stopped in its tracks.

Sadly, Zuma’s latest antics undo his peace-brokering efforts of the early 90s in KZN and on the continent.

Also read: Historic week for SA after Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to prison

ANC again bows to Zuma’s demands

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