Yadhana Jadoo
Political Editor
2 minute read
19 Feb 2016
7:39 am

Enough, Mr President

Yadhana Jadoo

The thing is that, as the president of a country, how do you not know your own Constitution?

Planet Zuma – a term coined by the DA during this week’s State of the Nation debate – which saw the EFF leave the National Assembly for not recognising Jacob Zuma as a President. Illegitimate they called him, claiming Zuma is not aware of his own Constitution, and in fact, he broke it.

Zuma’s State of the Nation Address last week, came two days after a Constitutional Court case against him, launched by both opposition parties. There, we heard that Zuma would finally pay back the money spent on non-security upgrades on his Nkandla homestead.

The Constitution had taken centre stage as legal representatives by the EFF and the DA, who launched the court application.

As per the Constitution, Zuma was to have implemented recommendations of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report entitled “Secure and Comfort” which directed him to pay back a portion of money for the upgrades which were not of a safekeeping nature.

What we heard from Zuma’s counsel, in conceding that he will pay, was that there was an “error of law”.

And that was it.

The thing is that, as the president of a country, how do you not know your own Constitution? This seemed to be the last straw for many South Africans and the final nail in the coffin for Zuma. If the court finds that Zuma went against the Constitution then he must resign or may be recalled experts said this week.

And then Zuma delivered his Sona reply to the debate yesterday, and what did he do next?

He behaved like a president.

There were no “Nkaaandlaaas” or any other of the anecdotes he normally sketches in parliament as he has done before, often chuckling uncontrollably while the country burnt. No, instead he was focused – he even applauded DA leader Mmusi Maimane for asking that we listen to Zuma’s Sona address, when the EFF had disrupted proceedings. He called for MPs to conduct themselves in a more acceptable manner, as the continent and world, were watching us.

Zuma replied to MPs, he made it known the plans put in place to deal with various issues facing the nation including the drought situation, which he warned would culminate in inflated food prices, farmer debt and eventually job losses.

“We must fight together to defeat… and I think we can… It’s time to unite and harness this power,” he said of South African who he called unique at best.

Racism also had no place in this country, was his message.

“We must unite in eradicating this evil… We should all stand up… We must heal the scars of apartheid and build a united nation. Racism is an enemy of humanity.”
Well said Mr President – even though this may be the last time I ever pen this, because on Planet South Africa your time, it seems, is up.