When the denial prefaces the justification

Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification. – Christopher Hitchens

JZNkandla

Last week I wrote about the release of the Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla scandal which discloses how nearly R250-million of taxpayers’ money was squandered on supposed security upgrades to President Zuma’s private home.

On Sunday the President spoke about it for the first time, but his response is both hysterical and contemptible at the same time. While the report was quite clear that Zuma and his family benefitted materially from the upgrades at taxpayers’ expense, and that he displayed both lack of leadership and control, the President prefers to bury his head in the ground.

I did not use taxpayers’ money. They put in windows that I don’t even want. Then they turn around and say this fellow used the government’s money.

This despicable man, who is slowly but surely eclipsing some of Apartheid South Africa’s past Presidents, and even Robert Mugabe, for being the worst example of leadership on the continent, actually expects the public to believe that he did not know what was going on in his own backyard.

Is it reasonable to expect anyone who finds bulldozers busy on his property and massive and expensive renovations taking place, not to question what is going on? What is this bullshit about windows? That does not even begin to address the scale of the renovations, but he glibly mentions this to the group of elderly people he was selling his candidacy to, for the upcoming elections.

It is gratifying to note that the calls for his impeachment are growing and even his own party members who previously closed ranks around him, are now asking him to answer for his scandalous behaviour. However there are still those within the ANC and bewilderingly some members of the public who think it’s okay to misappropriate public money.

Let’s hope that both these miscreants and the President are given what they deserve before the elections in less than two months, because the country surely will not survive another term of office with Zuma in charge.

#In case you’re wondering about the picture. It’s a new meme doing the rounds on social media. It points out that the public did not ask for the very expensive electronic tolling of major highways which the President signed into effect a few months ago, and which is attracting massive resistance.

And oh, you might want to check out this parody of what I would describe as the worst song ever, which suddenly became somewhat likeable.

Low Down Dirty Shame

It’s been exactly a week since Thuli Madonsela the South African Public Protector, released a report into the outrageous spending of R246-million of public funds on security (sic) upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private compound residence Nkandla.

Oh there’s been the usual ducking and dodging, disingenuous comments and feigned outrage by the President’s hand-picked cronies Ministers and acolytes, but Zuma himself has kept mum except to utter these condescending, yet self-reflective remarks at some political rally today:

Some take the people of South Africa for granted and underestimate their intelligence.

Be an example and lead.

The guy’s such a smug piece of political vermin, he’s blind to the irony.

Off course, Zuma’s henchmen are not the only people rallying to his defence; ordinary members of the (credulous) public such as this one in an open letter, tried to cast veiled aspersions at the Public Protector, but failed gloriously – and not because of his atrocious spelling and grammar. It was actually quite hilarious to read (if you can stomach the grammar) in the end.

Others however were not fooled by the claims of innocence, as the The Lone Groover’s (rather good) attempt at poetry demonstrates:

My president is a fool,
he has no understanding
of the difference
between
serve and rule.

My president is a liar,
he lines his pockets
and he lights the fire
giggling
over his objects
of desire.

My president is a thief,
rotten to the core
way beyond belief
living in the past
and thinking like a chief.

My president makes me sad
as he squanders all the resources
that we have.

My president makes no sense
with his claims of innocence.

And my people make me cry
when they vote once more
for this guy.

However, the best riposte by far has to be this cartoon:

nkandla

So for now, the long-suffering public is in for the long wait, as it appears likely that Zuma will waste yet more of our taxes fighting this thing in the courts.

If you’d like to wade through the rather lengthy Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla scandal, here’s a PDF version:

Secure In Comfort

Because the people have abrogated their responsibility…

How can an organisation that refused to have a personality cult built around Nelson Mandela allow itself to become a mere tool in the hands of Zuma? How can its leaders cast aside the party’s historical mission – to transform the lives of millions of poor black people and build a united, non-racial, prosperous and democratic country – to simply become gophers for Zuma?

That is the question being posed by Justice Malala, a newspaper columnist and host of a television show The Justice Factor, in an online newspaper today.

If you’re not familiar with South African politics, read this:

President Jacob Zuma is not a fool. He makes gaffes every week and has no idea what constitutionality means. But he is no fool.

He might not read – as has been alleged – but that does not mean he does not know what levers have to be cranked to ensure that he never gets inside a court.

Since he became the president of the ANC in 2007, he has overseen the most concerted and successful assault on the country’s independent institutions.

The judiciary is today facing a major crisis of confidence because of cases involving him at the Constitutional Court.

The minute he won the ANC presidency in Polokwane, the Scorpions – which had been investigating him- were disbanded. It was quick, cruel and ruthless.

Over the past few months it has been the public protector’s turn. In that time, we have witnessed concerted and coordinated attacks from parliament, the executive and various wings of the ANC on the office led by possibly the most admired “public servant” in the nation today – Thuli Madonsela.

This past week we had the extraordinary sight of our security cluster – which has over the past few weeks made fools of themselves saying all kinds of nonsense about Madonsela – turning on the populace and declaring that publication of pictures of the taxpayer-funded Nkandla monstrosity were illegal and that the full might of the law would come down on those who dared to do so. All this for one man: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

The man is not a fool. He has managed to get Africa’s oldest liberation movement to become a tool for his protection.

Whatever he does – whether it is his friends the Guptas landing their planes at military key points with impunity or a hideous compound being built for him for R208-million, the man has got the party rushing to do his bidding.

And so one has to ask: Which ANC is this?

How can an organisation that refused to have a personality cult built around Nelson Mandela allow itself to become a mere tool in the hands of Zuma? How can its leaders cast aside the party’s historical mission – to transform the lives of millions of poor black people and build a united, non-racial, prosperous and democratic country – to simply become gophers for Zuma?

Yet that is what the party’s 86-member national executive committee has become.

ANC MPs are now introducing legislation that is aimed solely at protecting this one man.

Across the land, provincial party leaders hobble state machinery merely to protect and keep this one compromised leader out of jail and in power.

It is an incredible sight.

Once proud leaders who served our nation in exile, in the United Democratic Front and in trade unions now scrape and bow before one man.

The ANC no longer has leaders. It has zombies who mindlessly follow this one leader and do his bidding.

It is quite extraordinary.

What has happened to the culture of debate and contestation that once permeated this movement?

What happened to the pride that made this once great organisation stand up and expel people who muddied its name?

How can this lot walk in the shoes of Albert Luthuli, AP Mda, Anton Lembede, Pixley kaIsaka Seme?

So, as we look at the extraordinary lengths that the current ANC “leadership” has gone to defend an embarrassment of a leader whose entire family seems to be infused by a shocking culture of entitlement – Zuma’s brother, Michael, last week admitted using his name to swing tenders to his benefactors – we have to ask: Where is the ANC?

The answer is heartbreaking: The ANC is compromised; it is lost.

It has lost its moral compass and its leadership of society.

The man at its head is a reflection of what the party is: ill-disciplined, compromised and unprincipled.

The desperation one sees among the ANC’s leaders is a reflection of this. When a man as widely admired as Cyril Ramaphosa has no other argument to convince a voter to still support the ANC than “the Boers will return”, then you know that this is a movement that is both intellectually and morally bankrupt. The emperor and his lieutenants have no clothes.

And so we will remember the reign of Zuma. We will remember it not for its achievements but for the cowardice, callowness and bankruptcy of the leadership that he brought with him. We will remember his lackeys for their bowing and scraping and their destruction of the continent’s greatest liberation movement. What an ignominious end for the party of Mandela.

The answer may be simpler than we think! The people who continue to support this outrage are those who continue to vote for him.

There’s only one way out of this mess. And you have the responsibility to use it well at the next elections.