Columns 4.5.2016 09:00 am

Please let Zuma keep job

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

Dear ANC, please don’t get rid of Jacob Zuma. Not yet. He is the number one recruiting agent for the opposition.

Keep him as the face of your party. The longer you support this violator of the constitution, this evader of 783 corruption charges, the better the opposition’s chances in the August 3 local government elections. You are doing the nation a favour. Much appreciated.

Admittedly it is bad for the country in the short-term. Economic growth will remain stagnant. Investors will remain on strike. More jobs will be lost. And there’s no telling how much will be stolen because thieves, realising their days are numbered, grab as much as they can. We can’t imagine how much cash will be stuffed into Dubai-bound suitcases.

But in the medium-to-long term the country will benefit, because change will be assured.

Our highest court has ruled against Zuma on Nkandla. A full bench of the North Gauteng High Court has found that the 2009 decision to drop charges against him was irrational. Yet you have overlooked all this and more. So go ahead, pretend he’s a worthy president.

Millions disagree. They think he is unworthy. But don’t let that worry you. Sing his praises. Put his image on T-shirts and posters. Show you are proud of someone who used R246 million of taxpayers’ money on his private home, and used a further R43 million on legal fees.

You have consistently underestimated the intelligence of voters, and abused their loyalty. Why stop now? Go for broke, because that is where you are heading with Zuma as your totem.

Zuma is not the only thing weakening the ANC ahead of the elections. The strong showing by the EFF at Saturday’s manifesto launch was more impressive than the governing party’s effort in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.

Granted, a packed Orlando Stadium does not translate into votes. In fact there is no evidence that the EFF would win a majority any ward in any municipality. The red berets could, however, attract enough support be kingmakers or spoilers.

Neither Julius Malema’s racially tinged, populist rhetoric, nor anything published since Saturday indicates the EFF has any understanding of how to pay for pipe-dreams.

Challenged on Twitter as to how the manifesto would be funded, the party said, “Money will be redirected from bicycle lanes & tenders (two amongst a myriad of Parks wastage)”.

The Parks mentioned is Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau. Joburg has spent about R120 million so far on bicycle lanes. Although this is less than half the Nkandla bill, it could build many RDP houses. But it’s scarcely enough to dent the cost of Malema’s wish-list.

Let’s compare track records. Malema has a disputed tax bill of R20 million, suggesting a large income. Where did he get the money and how were the poor helped? Bridges and roads built by Malema’s company   were washed away within weeks of completion. Trust him to deliver? Nah.

The EFF governs nowhere. According Good Governance Africa, nine of SA’s top 10 SA municipalities are run by the DA.

Our election choices are made more stark by Zuma’s failures. In that way he is useful, for a short while.

 

 

 

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