South Africa 15.9.2018 06:00 am

Zuma’s continued attempts to save his own skin

Former president Jacob Zuma sings after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, July 27, 2018. Picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former president Jacob Zuma sings after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, July 27, 2018. Picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Experts say the country should take the former president’s ‘lectures’ to students with a generous pinch of salt.

Jacob Zuma is “an outlaw” and it should have come as no surprise this week when the ex-president undermined the constitution and rule of law in public in an address at the Walter Sisulu University.

Not only that, but he is proving himself a political saboteur by “stoking the fires” of dissent within the ANC, according to leading political analysts.

Mcebisi Ndletyana said Zuma’s statements are part of his historic hatred for the rule of law and his habit of undermining South Africa’s constitution.

“JZ is a lame-duck. He is trying to be relevant. But he is an outlaw. I have never met an outlaw who likes the law. So let’s not be surprised when he continues to undermine the law and the constitution,” said Ndletyana.

He was reacting to reports about the ex-president conducting a series of “political lectures” to students at various universities on topics including free education, but where he also criticised the investigation into state capture.

Speaking at the Walter Sisulu University this week, Zuma outlined his belief that a “constitutional democracy” (as we currently have) was not as effective as a “parliamentary democracy” in allowing the will of the people to be done.

Zuma said that, with a constitution, “any NGO can go to court” and use the constitution to halt government programmes. This would not happen in a parliamentary democracy without a constitution, because the majority vote would carry the day, he added.

Zuma then went on to deny that state capture existed because none of the three arms of the state – the legislature, executive and the judiciary – was captured.

Ndletyana said Zuma was canvassing support that he would use should the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture come up with adverse findings against him.

“He is in trouble with his court case and a lot of revelations that had come and are still to come from the inquiry.

“There is a likelihood that the commission’s findings will vilify him and he is trying to counter any public perception or resentments that are going to ensue after the commission releases its report,” Ndletyana said.

Analyst Ralph Mathekga – author of the book Ramaphosa’s Turn, said: “He is stoking fires within the party [ANC]. He is strengthening his political campaign against the adverse findings against him. He is very selfish in all this.”

In 2016 Zuma was found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to uphold and defend the constitution and to have breached his oath of office by refusing to comply with former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action on the Nkandla issue.

But he escaped a possible impeachment when the ruling ANC defended him and even threatened to discipline its MPs who planned to vote him out via a motion of no confidence in parliament.

Analyst Levy Ndou said Zuma’s claim that state capture did not exist was meant to convince the students that he was innocent.

“If state capture did not exist, why is there a commission on state capture? Why did the former public protector come up with a report on state capture?

“Zuma wants to galvanise sympathy and in the process wants to point a finger at someone as being responsible for his situation,” said Ndou.

He added that Zuma was wrong for trying to implicate the ANC or certain individuals for putting him in the mess he was in regarding state capture allegations and corruption charges.

“Instead of dealing with the Democratic Alliance, which brought back the charges against him, he believes that people within the ANC are to blame.

“He has a tendency to portray himself as a victim when he faces criminal charges,” Ndou said.

The analyst said Zuma’s lectures were nothing but a ploy for him to stay in the limelight.

“He finds it difficult to get out of the public space that he is used to,” said Ndou.

According to Ndou, Zuma did this with his then rape charge and the first time he was charged for corruption relating to the arms deal.

“He is in a tight corner. The charges [corruption, fraud and money laundering] that emanated from the arms deal have been reinstated.

“Also, his son Duduzane is facing a number of challenges legally and still has to appear before the commission regarding his alleged involvement in state capture,” he said.

The analyst said Zuma deliberately preached to the students that he had brought free education as if this was his personal matter when, in fact, free education had been an ANC policy.

ericn@citizen.co.za

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