“It’s so unfair!” That’s the anguished lament of the perpetual adolescent, as well as that of former presidents no longer feeling the love of the people.
Jacob Zuma’s whining, self-pity upon hearing the Constitutional Court verdict that will send him to jail, nominally for 15 months, was par for the course. He possesses a sense of entitlement and being the centre of the universe that is more appropriate to a teenager than a man in his 80th year.
This is the man who had sworn an oath to protect the Constitution but nevertheless believes that the African National Congress’ internal constitution is South Africa’s apex law. Tellingly, it’s a misapprehension on which no one in his party has ever called him.
Despite having been selected by Thabo Mbeki as the ANC’s most ethically upstanding person to head the Moral Regeneration Movement — and later by his party as the country’s best possible leader — Zuma has repeatedly shown he is defiantly ignorant, emotionally impaired and possesses not a shred of shame.
Instead of snivelling about how unfair the ConCourt judgment is, he should instead reflect on how lucky he is. Not only has he survived supposed attempts by his wives to poison him, as well as by Western imperialists to unseat him, but given the allegations of criminality that have swirled around him for decades, he has had a legally charmed life, aside from his political incarceration on Robben Island.___STEADY_PAYWALL___
During much of the struggle, Zuma was deputy head of the ANC-in-exile’s dreaded security apparatus, which engaged in acts of torture and murder of would-be comrades suspected of being apartheid spies or who were simply deemed to be too critical of the ANC hierarchy. No one was ever charged with the crimes that took place in those camps and Zuma managed even to escape any scrutiny from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on those human rights abuses.
When he was charged, for the first time, it was with the rape of a comrade’s young daughter. But he was acquitted, incurring no more than a stern lecture from the judge for having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman who was not his partner. This proved to be no impediment to becoming president.
In contrast, his accuser had to live under a false name to protect herself from a baying Zuma mob that abused her and at one stage hounded her out of the country. She died a broken woman.
After the rape acquittal, the criminal charges started coming fast and furious but to no avail. The Zuma cloak of political immunity proved impermeable.
2018 brought new corruption charges. After endless delaying tactics and a scandalous, orchestrated campaign of abuse directed at the judiciary, which at times has verged on criminal intimidation, Zuma has still to answer those charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, and money-laundering in connection with an arms deal that took place in 1999.
It’s now halfway through 2021 and at last Zuma's luck has run out and he has been sentenced to15 months in jail for contempt of court. Like the notorious Chicago mobster Al Capone being jailed for income tax offences, it’s not a pretty win for Lady Justice but a win nevertheless.
Capone served eight years of an 11-year sentence, discharged early on compassionate because of impaired mental capacity, his brain a soup from syphilis. He, too, obviously preferred showers to condoms in his dalliances.