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Sun Apr 20 15:26:36 SAST 2014

Zuma is above mere middle-class morality

Justice Malala | 08 October, 2012 00:30

It is truly amazing to what levels of depravity President Jacob Zuma manages to make men stoop.

On Friday we had the incredible spectacle of the Minister of Public Works, the until-then-relatively-credible former trade union leader Thulas Nxesi, making a complete ass of himself as he tried to defend the fact that taxpayers' money is being used to build the president a R238-million palace in his home village, Nkandla.

Nxesi - instead of being absolutely outraged that his department is being abused to build the president a private palace while the man has the use of at least three massive residences in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal - used all manner of excuses to try to justify this blatant looting of the taxpayers' money. First we heard that Zuma deserves such largesse because he is the president of the country and therefore his security needs to be ensured.

Then we couldn't be given details of the expenditure because the place is a "national key point". Really? His three state-owned houses may be national key points (that is, sensitive from a national security perspective) but I still have to find a reason why this man's private residence is a sensitive security installation deserving of a R238-million upgrading.

When journalists cornered Nxesi he then revealed that, actually, we are judging the president from a middle-class viewpoint.

I think the country is going to the dogs when we start saying that looting the state is part of African culture, which is basically what Nxesi was saying.

Then the man said he would hunt down and prosecute whoever leaked this story to the City Press newspaper. The whole thing makes one want to puke.

So the outrageous spending of R238-million of taxpayers' money is not worth investigating but the whistle-blower will be hunted down and punished by the minister? Is this really the ANC of Oliver Tambo?

Any self-respecting head of state who had overseen what Zuma's administration went through in the past week would step down immediately. Scandal is everywhere.

The former wife of the "key" security minister in Zuma's cabinet was sent to jail for 20 years for drug trafficking.

Then the smell of the Nkandlagate looting continued to spread and was defended by the president's spokesman and Nxesi. Then nearly the entire board of SA Airways resigned, citing government incompetence for their decision. A man linked to a dodgy company was then appointed chairman of the new board of SAA.

Zuma's appointment of Menzi Simelane as head of the National Prosecuting Authority was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court.

Strikes continue to spread like wildfire throughout the mining industry, with transport workers becoming increasingly violent. The police reportedly stood and watched them break the law.

Two leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers were killed in the most horrific way in North West.

As all this takes place, the Department of Education still has not delivered textbooks to some pupils in Limpopo - with only a month to go before examinations start. Non-government organisations had to go to court for the third time last week to force the government to deliver the textbooks.

Take all these incidents, all within a week, and you realise that Zuma is not a leader. He is not even a Mickey Mouse of a head of state. This administration is a nightmare, a horrific accident lurching from one disaster to the next every single day. It is no wonder that the Financial Times declared that ours is a country that is in political drift.

We cannot afford this sort of thing. About sevenmillion of our fellow countrymen are unemployed. Nearly 16million of us are receiving social grants. A small minority enjoy extraordinary lifestyles, making us one of the most unequal societies in the world.

What this means is that we are a country on a knife-edge. The levels of inequality and poverty we have here, if left unaddressed or in the hands of the likes of Zuma, mean that we are headed straight towards social upheaval.

Here is the depressing thing, though. Last week Zuma sent out Nxesi to do his dirty work for him. It is not the first time that Zuma has done this - hundreds of ANC leaders did exactly the same thing for him in the run-up to the ANC conference in Polokwane in 2007.

In the next two months many ANC leaders, like Nxesi, will work for Zuma to ensure that he gets a second term as ANC president and therefore a second term as president of the state.

And the devastation Zuma has wrought on the country for the past three years will continue.

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Sun Apr 20 15:26:36 SAST 2014 ::