Zuma on the warpath

David Bullard writes on our ex-President's decision to support the new MK party


So now that Jacob Zuma has officially divorced the ANC (although, following Mavuso Msimang’s abrupt ‘volte face’, we know that nothing is forever in the turbulent world of the ruling party) it would appear that there are no longer any valid reasons for Zuma not to be arrested, held in custody and finally dragged to court to answer the many criminal charges against him dating back to 2005.

Back then he was indicted on charges relating to the 1999 arms deal and his dodgy relationship with the French arms company Thales. It was alleged that he had received almost 800 payments as bribes through his then financial advisor Shabir Shaik.

Shaik was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment but was paroled on medical grounds after just over two years on the grounds that he was so near to death that he wasn’t about to read War and Peace or start watching Game of Thrones.

In a miracle of near New Testament proportions his health miraculously recovered (Hallelujah) and he was able to live the good life playing golf and recuperating in luxury game lodges with the full approval of his parole officer. Many South Africans found these explanations ‘far fetched’ but they were almost certainly racists.

The name of Jacob Zuma’s new political home is the ‘uMkhonto weSizwe Party’, a name choice that has caused much consternation with the often oddly attired Secretary General of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula, who says that the name belongs to the ANC and is part of their proud struggle history. He has hinted at legal action to prevent the name being used ahead of the 2024 elections. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Obviously though the choice of name for the, as yet leaderless, new party is hugely significant bearing in mind the movement’s violent past. As the military wing of the ANC uMkhonto weSizwe spent a good part of the mid eighties bombing civilian targets such as the Durban beach front and various other targets such as Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Wimpy bars were apparently a favourite target because of their perceived support for apartheid. A well known alumnus of uMkhonto weSizwe is the Hamas loving Israel hating Ronnie Kasrils who was part of Natal Command from 1963.

If Zuma had favoured a new name for his adopted party such as ‘Prosperity for All’ or ‘Build a better SA’ nobody would have taken him remotely seriously. So the obvious choice of a warlike name (even if it is a stolen warlike name) gives a hint as to the sort of election battle we may be in for next year, particularly in KZN. Jacob Zuma is 81 and well past caring what people think of him. He is clearly happy to go out on a high note and if it happens to involve a scorched earth policy then so be it. After all, he’s been there before.

With battle lines drawn it will be interesting to see how the rapidly disintegrating ANC reacts to the challenge from a former President. Not so long ago there was a story doing the rounds in the mainstream media that JZ would be spear-heading the electioneering in KZN for the ANC. With the ANC and uMkhonto weSizwe locking horns and splitting votes maybe there is hope for a moderate political party that could actually run a province or even a country to stand a reasonable chance of election.

What has become apparent is the increasing evidence of paranoia within the ANC. When Roger Jardine’s party ‘Change Starts Now’ emerged from its chrysalis it wasn’t long before it was being smeared by ANC stalwarts as a sinister right wing plot by white monopoly capital to hijack the country and restore it to some semblance of financial normality.

Financial normality has never been a big thing with the ANC who seem to prefer a political system where the party faithful are very richly rewarded while the rest of the population are expected to survive as best they can. This is a system that has worked extremely well in places like Zimbabwe and Venezuela (both role model nations for our politicians) so why would anybody want to change things when they are working so well?

All that talk of 88 000 newly pregnant schoolgirls, people starving in the Eastern Cape or kids being taught in appalling conditions and drowning in pit latrines is blown out of all proportion by the white monopoly capitalists who want to see the country fail. Quite why they would want to see the country fail since it would adversely affect their own fortunes is never adequately explained by the commies.

Last Saturday was the national Day of Reconciliation and during a speech in Limpopo Pres Frogboiler was gracious enough to acknowledge that, thirty years after the advent of democracy, South Africans mostly get on with one another and that: “despite our many challenges, we are a united nation, proud of who we are and proud of how far we have come."

Not that this is likely to prevent Frogboiler or some of his less cerebral cabinet colleagues from accusing the ‘white run’ private sector of trying to unseat the elected government or conjuring up the all-purpose ‘legacy of apartheid’ excuse every time something goes wrong. Frogboiler did make the very relevant point that ‘inequality is the biggest threat’ to our society which I thought was pure comedy gold coming from a man worth around R8 billion.

I suppose it all depends on how you define inequality. I am not in the least bit envious of Frogboiler’s immense fortune and am very happy with my comparatively modest standard of living. However, one could quite easily understand how an average ANC voter who has just lost a job ahead of Christmas might be a tad envious of a politician earning over two million rand a year with all sorts of perks such as free travel, no load-shedding, medical aid, free accommodation, two free luxury cars and a generous pension scheme. Inequality is certainly a big threat within the ANC.

Of course, inequality isn’t unique to South Africa and can be found all over the world. In my native London, homeless people can be seen sleeping in doorways in grubby sleeping bags and begging for food. The same goes for New York and many other cities in the USA as well as plenty of European cities.

So laying a guilt trip on those that have over those that have not doesn’t seem a particularly positive solution to the problem. But it is likely to remain hugely popular with vote seeking politicians simply because there are far more people willing to embrace the victimhood of inequality.

As the chap whose birthday we celebrate next week remarked… “the poor you will always have with you”. Which is as good a reason as any that I can think of to hand out a few bank notes to needy strangers over the next few days instead of buying things that nobody wants and wrapping them in garish paper.

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

*The Out to Lunch column will be back on 9th January 2024.