Taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill of Zuma’s album

Former South African president Jacob Zuma dances after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former South African president Jacob Zuma dances after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Recording an album featuring struggle songs used in the fight against apartheid with taxpayers’ money is a slap in the face of every South African.

The plans of eThekwini municipality’s parks, recreation and culture department to make a record of former president Jacob Zuma singing liberation struggle songs would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to record an album, featuring struggle songs used in the fight against apartheid.

But doing it with taxpayers’ money is a slap in the face of every South African citizen. It’s a no-brainer the money that will be used for the album by the municipality would be far better utilised elsewhere in a province that so desperately needs to uplift the lives of so many of its people … people who live in shocking conditions and don’t receive basic necessities.

Zuma, who resigned in February as president amid numerous scandals linked to his tenure in office since 2009, is notorious for bursting into song and dance at public events and ANC rallies. His trademark song Awuleth’ Umshini Wami is set to feature on the album, after plans were revealed to record it in front of a live audience in April. It is expected to be released later this year.

Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of recreation and culture at the eThekwini municipality, misses the point when he says Zuma “would not be paid or receive any profits from the album”.

The bottom line is taxpayers should never foot the bill.

“The album itself is not an issue at all – except that it will be funded by public money and we have no idea how much,” DA councillor Nicole Graham said. “This is about factional battles within the ANC party, with his supporters attempting to give him a continued platform after his fall.

“The DA will fight this matter tooth and nail in the interests of all who prioritise service delivery over politics,” she said.

Use private money to make the album. Don’t use taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

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