Columns 20.3.2014 10:00 am

Protector report is disturbing

Sunday Independent Editor, Steve Motale

Sunday Independent Editor, Steve Motale

After months of attempts to derail the Public Protector’s probe into the scandalous splurge of taxpayers’ millions on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home, Thuli Madonsela yesterday finally released her report.

The findings are beyond disturbing.

They paint a picture of a head of state who, instead of playing a key role in protecting his people’s resources, himself blatantly violated every rule in the book by failing to contain state spending for his own benefit.

If Jacob Zuma had the interests of South Africa at heart he would step down immediately, and so would some of his implicated henchmen, including Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.

And if the party Zuma is leading equally cared about the welfare of the people of this country, it too would advise him to quit.

We know this is not going to happen. Zuma has shown over and over again the only thing that matters to him is not the interests of South Africans but his own interests, and those of his relatives and friends.

He will never entertain the idea of leaving office.

The ANC will also not allow him to go.

This once glorious movement, the party once led by great men such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, to mention but a few, is a shadow of its former self and has now been infiltrated by self-serving careerists and greedy thugs whose obsession with personal wealth accumulation is legendary.

They will do everything in their power to see to it that Zuma is shielded, because he represents their own selfish interests.

If he goes, so will their access to power and the finer things in life.

The legacy of Mandela that Zuma and the ANC have been promising to uphold since his passing has been dealt a severe blow by the Nkandla scandal.

Zuma, and the ANC that has rallied behind him through thick and thin, are no longer qualified to invoke Mandela’s name.

With the help of the ANC, Zuma has survived being investigated for more than 700 corruption charges.

He also survived the Guptagate scandal, and indications are that, with the unwavering support of the ANC, he will survive Nkandlagate as well. The question is: at what cost to the country?

While Madonsela’s report will in all likelihood give ammunition to doomsayers who have branded us a failed state, there is a good story to be found in this whole saga; one that proves we are not a failed state.

The fact that a Chapter Nine institution investigated and nailed a sitting head of state is a good sign that ours is well-functioning constitutional democracy.

The only worrying development is attempts to discredit these vital institutions that play a crucial role in enhancing our democracy.

We must as citizens of this country reject the latest campaigns to discredit Madonsela.

We cannot allow a predatory politically-connected clique to drag us down the drain.

We must be vigilant.

 

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