Jacob Zuma’s last-ditch refusal to do the right thing and resign as the president – and avoid a humiliating no-confidence vote in parliament this afternoon – has destroyed what little is left of his political reputation.
Yesterday’s public refusal, on SABC TV, to step down was a situation unprecedented in the ANC’s history, either as a liberation movement or governing political party.
Zuma showed his contempt for the rules and the discipline which has been the hallmark of ANC politics throughout its 106-year history.
His defiance of the party’s national executive committee, and the way it was done so publicly, was an open and outright challenge to the new leadership of the organisation.
The fact that he has subtly threatened trouble – political or otherwise – in his comments that the organisation would regret its decision to recall him, showed either a head-in-the-sand insularity or an arrogant strongman tendency.
Worse, his inability to comprehend why he was in that position in the first place was something to behold.
It may be true he has not been convicted in a court of law of any wrongdoing … but he has fought one legal process tooth and nail for more than a decade. And he has tried to derail and delay other probes of him and his clique.
Yet, it was the ANC who gave him that gap to proclaim his innocence: the party repeatedly refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room of their leader’s conduct.
So, they should not have been surprised when he turned the tables on them.
It thus appears that the nightmare this country has lived through for the past 10 years is not yet over.
But, whatever happens, Jacob Zuma’s name will forever be one which will be read with infamy in the South African history books.