"Kill Zuma"

Andrew Donaldson says Gayton McKenzie's new book promises to blow the lid on the president's enemies


HO-hum. Another week, another book about Accused Number One, this time one from the leader of the Patriotic Alliance, Gayton McKenzie. 

Typical of the practices surrounding this thriving niche in local publishing, McKenzie’s publicists have wasted no time in informing the world of its importance.

“A new book,” we are told, “is set to blow the lid on assassination attempts on President Jacob Zuma’s life and how western forces have been pulling strings within the ANC for many years.”

What’s more, Kill Zuma: By Any Means Necessary is “set to ruffle a lot of feathers when it’s released next week”.

As McKenzie himdself put it, “From the poisoning attempts involving [Zuma’s wife] MaNtuli to another attempt at Luthuli House during a meeting of the ANC’s top six. There was near-fatal tampering to the presidential jet. 

“One of the President’s most trusted bodyguards was operating on strict instructions to murder the old man. It’s all in the book, with the reasons why destroying Zuma has been so important to his enemies.”

This being the silly season, we look forward to its release. It will make a change from all that dreary news from Johannesburg and the ruling party’s leadership battle. Here at the Mahogany Ridge we do enjoy a bit of fantasy as much as the next man. And, it must be said, it is good that McKenzie has, for a change, written about someone other than himself.

A former convict, McKenzie has used his crime experiences and subsequent metamorphosis to top-notch business guy as the basis for his apparently popular motivational talks. This, in turn, begat a string of bestsellers, like The Choice: The Gayton McKenzie StoryA Hustler’s Bible, and its sequel, A Hustler’s Bible: The New Testament.

It’s true that, like many readers, we had not heard of these titles until very recently. Perhaps we spend too much time at the Ridge and just don’t get out enough. But McKenzie has insisted that his new work is going to a controversial game-changer.

Already, he said, one chain store has been ordered not to stock the book. What’s more, ANC members have asked him not to publish it as they fear it could “cripple the liberation movement”.

“People don’t know what to make of this book,” he said.

Which is certainly true, as it has yet to be published. However, we’ve had a look at its horrific cover. It would appear that one of the attempted assassinations involved an extremely blunt object. Zuma is depicted with blood pouring down his skull.

Either that, or someone has poured treacle over his head in an attempt to disguise the President as a pudding.

It is no secret that Zuma has no shortage of enemies, and has even claimed that, as a result of his commitment to radical economic transformation, there had been plots to kill him.

“I was poisoned and almost died,” he once claimed, “just because South Africa joined Brics [the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa business communities] under my leadership. They said I was going to destroy the country.”

Well, “they” weren’t all that wrong, were they? But no matter. Zuma’s real enemies, of course, are not these shadowy “assassins”, but the courts. 

It is difficult thinking of him as Santa Claus, but the Pretoria High Court’s Judge Dunstan Mlambo certainly raised our spirits on Wednesday with his ruling that Zuma personally pay the costs of his failed attempt to stop the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

It’s not an inconsiderable amount. Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane reckons it’s more than R6-million. His party, the DA, meanwhile filed perjury charges against Zuma following Mlambo’s damning judgment.

Then on Thursday, the Helen Suzman Foundation and Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka  filed papers, also in the Pretoria High Court, to take on the entire Zuptocracy. They want to the court to set aside “unlawful‚ improper and/or corrupt exercises of public power” and to recover the proceeds gleaned from state capture.

The 74 respondents named by the foundation and Wierczycka include Zuma, his son Duduzane, the Gupta brothers, Eskom, Trillian, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane‚ former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and suspended Eskom CFO Anoj Singh.

Wierczycka later posted on Twitter, “The time has come to stop being passive observers as our beautiful country is being plundered by those who put their financial self-interests ahead of those of SA. The time has come for everyone to say enough is enough. The time has come to hold people to account.”

Granted, it’s a wee bit jingoistic. But she’s right. Time is indeed running out for the thief in chief. 

A version of this article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.