2 minute read
10 Apr 2018
9:00 am

Zuma is playing a dangerous game

What is clear is that Zuma’s motley crew of discontents poses a serious threat to the security and stability of this country.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses supporters gathered outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on April 6, 2018, after appearing for a brief preliminary hearing on corruption charges linked to a multi-billion dollar 1990s arms deal. Picture: AFP PHOTO

After his grandstanding performance outside the high court in Durban, one thing is certain about former president Jacob Zuma: he will not go quietly into the long night of political obscurity.

As he has done many times before, he made himself out to be the victim as he faces multiple charges of corruption. But he also, according to City Press, sang a song about his suffering and alluded to a betrayal by his comrades. Then he made references to “beating up” people.

Then came reports over the weekend that a “coalition of the wounded” – Zuma supporters who have seen him go from hero to zero in a little more than six months – is plotting to have him back in power via ousting President Cyril Ramaphosa from the top ANC post.

This will supposedly occur by way of a vote of no confidence.

The reports have been rubbished by the ANC leadership but, given its record of frankness on various issues in recent years, we would not be willing to take only their word for it.

What is clear is that Zuma’s motley crew of discontents poses a serious threat to the security and stability of this country. And that is by no means an alarmist statement.

Zuma is playing a dangerous game in even subtly encouraging this group, which is characterised by an almost homogeneous ethnic composition. In his home province of KwaZulu-Natal – where political murders have been on the rise over the past few years – it would take little to spark a conflagration.

We agree there is no real prospect of Ramaphosa’s ouster; his support has grown remarkably since he triumphed at the ANC elective conference in December last year … but Zuma’s playing a divisive game.

And this country has seen enough of the pain such divisions can cause.

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