JONATHAN JANSEN | Let the Zuma judgment be the first of many to cancel corruption

Let it also be a lesson for children that impunity has no place in democracy, with accountability key to their futures

30 June 2021 - 19:32

South African schoolchildren learnt a big, new word on Tuesday: accountability. It means being responsible for your actions. It translates as aanspreelikheid in Afrikaans or ukumela in isiZulu and isiXhosa. The word seeps through every aspect of our culture from religion (“the wages of sin is death”) to everyday aphorisms (“spare the rod and spoil the child”).

For a long time we thought accountability only applied to ordinary people, not to those with money, fame or political capital, like former presidents. Until on Tuesday, when the highest court in the land sentenced former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court, given as “a direct, unsuspended order of imprisonment”. That is the cold klap of accountability in winter and man, it stings...

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