If the saying that countries get the President they deserve is true, then South Africans must have done something terrible to be saddled with President Jacob Zuma. Controversy seems to follow SA’s number one like a bad smell and over the years, he has been dogged by many a scandal, much to the country’s embarrassment.
Despite some opeople talking themselves into knots and penning indignant think pieces on the unsuitability of Msholozi to hold office, our President continues about his day as if everything in the Republic is splendid. This is thanks, in part, to a number of ANC structures vehemently defending him and shielding him from taking any accountability for his actions.There are some things that the President should feel ashamed of.
The Nkandla non-apology
Following the ruling by the Constitutional Court that President Jacob Zuma should pay a portion of the R240 million spent on non-security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead, many South Africans waited with bated breath to hear what the President had to say for himself. Would he apologise? Would he resign? As it turns out, he did neither. After years of denying, obfuscating and doing everything but pay back the money, Zuma told South Africans to stop being dramatic and chill, because it was always his intention to pay back the money.
“I wish to emphasise that I never knowingly and deliberately set out to violate the Constitution,” said Zuma, blaming the entire matter on receiving bad legal advice, despite setting up a commission to undermine Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings.
Who can forget the dark day when Police Minister Nathi Nhleko treated the media and South Africans on live television to a surprise demonstration on how to use a firepool. During the release of his findings on the controversial R246 million security upgrades in Nkandla, he attempted to show the multiple uses of the Zuma family’s R3,9 million swimming pool. The nation watched as a policeman showed the pipes and pumps that would be used to extinguish a blaze at the mostly thatched homestead, taking the viewers through the remarkable dual-purpose of the swimming pool, with the occasional addition of bursts of classical music as an atmospheric soundtrack and a mysterious bright blue colour wash effect.
Telling Baleka Mbete to get a hold of Parliament when he was the reason for the chaos
If you are alert to the goings-on in Parliament, you would know that opposition parties have been making things exciting in the hallowed chamber of Parliament.
Members of the EFF have been challenging Zuma by disrupting parliamentary proceedings. From chanting that he pay back the money during this and last year’s State of the Nation Address to calling for Zuma to step down at every opportunity.
“I think it will be very important that you seriously bring this house in some order, for the dignity of the country , because it must be seen from the public representatives,” he said to Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. This despite a vote of no confidence being filed against Mbete, who has on a number of occasions had EFF members forcibly removed from the House in defence of the President.
These presidents ain’t loyal.
Firing Nhlanla Nene
South Africans were shocked when President Jacob Zuma announced the removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene from the Finance portfolio in December last year. He replaced Nene with the unknown Des van Rooyen and replaced him a few days later with former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The announcement also affected the value of the rand. The currency traded at R15,40 against the dollar, R16,34 against the euro and R22 against the pound the day following the announcement. Economists estimated that blunder cost the country billions of rands and brought the country to the brink of “junk” status. The President’s response was to tell the world to stop exaggerating.
“When I was growing up, an ungqingili (a homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would have knocked him out.” These words were uttered by Jacob Zuma in 2006 before he became President of the Republic. This is despite the fact that he was a leader in an ANC which espouses hopes of a united non-racial, non-sexist democratic society. Understandably, the statement was met with outrage from various sectors of society. One would think that Msholozi would have learnt from this, but when he was asked by theGuardian how he would react if one of his children came out as gay he replied:
“I’d react in a particular way, but she or he would have taken a decision.”
Zuma may yet have to face up to one of his scandals. Last month, the Pretoria High Court ruled that the decision to drop the more than 700 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma was an irrational one and that these charges were to be reinstated. Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe decided to drop the charges on 6 April 2009, citing what became known as “the spy tapes”. These are recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former National Prosecuting Authority head Bulelani Ngcuka and apparently show political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.
The Presidency said it noted the decision of the court and will give consideration to the judgment and its consequences and the remedies available in terms of our law.