South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, made her verdict recently confirming the accusations that President Jacob Zuma’s posh Nkandla homestead upgrade involved public funds at the tune of whooping $ 23,000,000. The damning expose exposes Zuma and puts his presidency on the line. Madonsela’s quoted saying that Zuma “was wearing two hats, that of the ultimate guardian of the resources of the people of South Africa and that of being a beneficiary of public privileges of some of the guardians of public power and state resources, but failed to discharge his responsibilities in terms of the latter.” Madosela’s words were echoed by The Democratic Alliance's parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who’s quoted as saying, “the magnitude of [the] revelations brings the office of the president of the republic into massive disrepute.” Will this be whisked away easily?
Madonsela findings conflict Zuma’s statement that the government didn’t pay for the upgrade of his homestead. Zuma’s quoted by the Mail& Guardian in Nov., 2012 as he addressed the parliament as saying, “My residence in Nkandla has been paid for by the Zuma family.” To make matter worse, Zuma added, “I have never asked government to build a home for me, and it has not done so. Government did not build a home for me.” Now that the skeleton in the closet is out that Zuma’s compound’s built by public funds, what’d we expect to happen thereafter? ANC’s already said squarely that it isn’t going to apologize. This means. It is confident of winning the coming elections. Again, as Stalin put it, “It is not those who cast vote who count but those who count the votes. Given that ANC is in power and will man elections the truth is obvious.
However open the Public Protector’s report seemed, it left a grey area for not clearly stating that Zuma lied to the parliament and the nation. Instead, the PP said that Zuma misled the parliament and the public which can be construed as lying which’s an offence. The thing is. If Zuma said publicly that he paid for his residence while the truth is otherwise, he simply lied. Madonsela’s position is problematic precisely because it leaves a room for maneuvers. Zuma’s opponents are whooping him to stand down for lying to the nation.
PP’s expose angered many South Africans. Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele wrote on her party’s website, “This is an outrage.”
Madosela minced no words. She said that what Zuma committed is unlawful and constitutes bad conduct and maladministration which is punishable by impeachment. Legally, Zuma’s broken ethic code he’s duty bound to diligently and wholly uphold honour, promote and protect as president.
Now that the PP’s confirmed the allegations, will the parliament to which Zuma paltered zero in and see him hit the road after stepping down or forced to? There’s an attempt to cover up the whole scandal. Will Zuma and his party and his spin doctors eat humble and offer an apology later or put on false bravado and try to jump a smoking gun as they’ve always done? Will ANC recall Zuma so as history to repeat itself in the lifetime of Mbeki who’s also recalled by the party before Zuma took over? Is it time for deputy president, Kgalema Mohlante, to take over and stir ANC to safety after Zuma tarnished it? Prof Shadrack Gutto of the University of South Africa’s the answer as he’s quoted saying, “Zuma’s removal through the majority vote in Parliament can only happen if he seriously violated the constitution of the law.” Is lying to the parliament and country a seriously violation of the constitution of the law?
Arguably, ANC is in a messy and confusing situation that needs to be fixed or tweaked. Will ANC risk suffering in the coming elections by clinging unto Zuma or dispose him as soon as possible in order to weather the storm even redress the wounds Zuma’s scandals have already caused it. Many South Africans now regard Zuma more a liability than an asset to the ruling party and the country altogether. Prince Mashele, Executive-Director of the Centre for Politics and Research’s quoted recently as saying “If the ANC sticks with him, it is going to suffer the political consequences.” Some of ANC want Zuma to hit the road saying that he isn’t ANC. They see ANC as a being corrupt through and through after Mandela left office. Thus, ANC needs a reconfiguration. Others accuse the party of pursuing what’s referred to as anti-people policy which enables a few to become richer and richer while the majority is becoming poorer and poorer.
Whether Zuma’ll soldier on even after proving to be a liability to his party is remain to be seen. For, before Nkandla scandal came to light, Zuma faced other scandals involving rape, corruption which surfaced after his financial advisor Schabir shaik’s found guilty and jailed for corruption and the landing of private jet in a military base by Gupta family which is a business partner with Zuma’s son Duduzane. Is it time for ANC to recall Zuma just like it did to former president Thabo Mbeki or go under with him?
Source: Business Times March 28, 2014.