When the governing ANC voted at Nasrec in December last year to get rid of Jacob Zuma as its president, many breathed a sigh of relief because they had the feeling that South Africa had dodged a proverbial bullet.
Though, after Zuma’s comments to university students in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, we have the confirmation that South Africa may have avoided a potentially deadly political bullet indeed.
During his “lecture” to students at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, Zuma revealed his true colours as being that of a typical African despot, for whom the rule of law is something which stands in his way.
Zuma went to great lengths to elaborate on the differences in democracy. He believes there are two: a constitutional democracy and a parliamentary democracy.
The first democracy is a hindrance because it allows a piece of paper – the constitution – to control the will of the people … that was essentially Zuma’s argument. He told students that in a constitutional democracy, there was always the danger of some or other nongovernment organisations going to the courts and using the constitution to undermine the government.
In a parliamentary democracy – presumably like the tame ANC-dominated echo chamber in Cape Town – there would be no such challenges, said Zuma.
What he was saying, in reality, was that the constitution was tying his hands when it came to running South Africa. That, sir, is exactly what a constitution is supposed to do … protect us from dictators who gerrymander their way into political positions and then use their power to enrich themselves and their friends.
That has happened all over Africa and is the single reason the Mother Continent has not been able to achieve its full potential.
Zuma – or anyone like him – must never be allowed to tear up our constitution.