Now, more than ever, we must exercise vigilance

09 November 2017 - 07:19 By The Times Editorial
Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma.
Image: Elizabeth Sejake

With just over five weeks until the ANC elective conference, the level of interference is becoming deafening.

Already this week has produced an unforeseen announcement from leading contender Cyril Ramaphosa about his running mates; news that President Jacob Zuma is ready to go rogue by unveiling a populist and unaffordable plan to fund higher education; claims from Ronnie Kasrils that Zuma is a traitor; more evidence of malfeasance from the Gupta emails; and yet another book about Zuma's years as president, this one uncompromisingly entitled Enemy of the People.

Things of which we can be certain in the next five weeks include more surprises, scandal, court challenges, populism, fake news - and probably bloodshed. As Jacques Pauw's The President's Keepers has revealed to a riveted and appalled nation, there is too much at stake for the criminal gang also known as "the government" for it to be otherwise.

For many of us who would rather have a quiet life in a well-run, fair, decent country, this is a disconcerting time. We know that the remainder of 2017 represents a critical juncture with the potential to make or break South Africa for generations to come.

We may feel powerless, at the mercy of forces we don't understand and which appear to be out of control. But for as long as we live in a democracy with an array of rights enshrined and protected in a constitution that has so far withstood attempts to undermine it by Zuma and his coterie of miscreants, we can change the country's trajectory for the better.

Civil society, journalists, judges, authors, business leaders and others are showing us the way. They deserve our support, because one day we will look to them to ensure the gangsters face a day of reckoning. Aldous Huxley had it right in 1965 when he said: "Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; eternal vigilance is the price of human decency."