Zuma playing the race card to please rural support base: iLIVE

07 January 2013 - 02:15 By Theo Martinez, Craighall Park, Joburg
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.

As a post-Mangaung victorious and glorious Jacob Zuma gets ready to deliver the ANC's traditional January 8 speech, one ponders what Mangaung has done to the 100-year-old party.

On a high after his Mangaung landslide victory, Zuma's Christmas stay in his KwaZulu-Natal compound of bulletproof glass, helipads and secret tunnels seems to have deepened his traditional visions. He seems to be stuck in a defensive, bunker mentality of fearing the enemy in everything and everywhere.

And to keep his rural support, especially in the province engulfed in a royal-type admiration, Zuma has gone seriously astray in anti-white, anti-liberal, anti-modern rhetoric.

Intellectualism, hairstyles, single mums and dog-walking passed in review. His rural base has more than ever become his fall-back position. He is out of touch with the new black urban middle class.

And thus came the carrot for Ramaphosa and Cyril took it. God knows why. Is it for future fame and glory? Is it to leave a political legacy behind (that failed when Mbeki became deputy president)? Cyril - an intellectual, respected urbanite - is the antipode of Zuma. He is needed by the Zuma clan to fight the DA voter base, to retain the urban ANC vote, and to keep some form of international respectability for the current powers that be.

But Ramaphosa will fail if he doesn't toe the line. The newly installed national executive committee of the ANC is where the rot is deepest. It will keep reminding Ramaphosa not to upset the gravy train and that it was it that unseated Mbeki.

Mangaung has dealt this young democracy a heavy blow.

And, amidst his Mangaung fever, Zuma gave the starting shot in his New Year's message by singling out how the recent census shows the deep divide between black and white income. A very selective choice of attack. The racial card is always used when one is with one's back to the wall.

Yes, that census information is a clear-cut fact. But why does Zuma not also mention the billions of rands wasted on corruption and mismanagement by his party's ministers and cadres, as shown in the last national audit.

Why not also state that his lawyer is disobeying a court order to release the spy tapes. Why not also mention how the UN has called our standard of education disastrous. But fairness and openness are not the tools of rulers hiding in their rural bunkers.