Zuma must do what’s right for South Africa

Mthuthuzeli Swartbooi

With the country on tenterhooks following Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma’s apparent refusal to submit himself to the dictates of the constitutional decree summoning him to jail for contempt of court ruling, the best he can do is to at least reflect on the ramifications of his action on the entire South African populace should the situation escalate further.

If former president Zuma has any inkling of how dangerous his perceived refusal to subject himself to the Constitutional Court judgement is, then he should look no further than the devastation visited on most African countries by recalcitrant despots who have reduced their erstwhile homelands to nothing but wastelands.

Mr Zuma would be aware of how harshly future generations would associate his political pedigree to someone who selfishly laid to waste his own country just to save his tattered image. Perhaps a look at how we have come to this point need to be stated unapologetically as his own making.

Upon ascending to the highest office to the land, Mr Zuma mistakenly, aided and abetted by a careerist ANC horde, believed the levers of power are for theirs to do as they wish instead of the stated needs and service of the general populace.

One need not be reminded that in 2009 South Africa had relatively weathered the global financial meltdown experienced by even the most economic superpowers.

Through ardent micro- and macro-economic policies, our country’s fiscal standing was something to be envied, with efficient SOEs run by competent professionals given ample space to implement concomitant discretionary decisions by political principals who knew when and how to exercise their respective mandates.

Then came the unfortunate Polokwane Apocalypse, at the helm of which was a horde of political imbeciles whose raison d’etre was nothing but to amass wealth for individuals than the general public.

What followed was a period of abhorrent displacement of public civil servants, incessantly hounded out of office for ethically refusing to surrender their professionalism to the dictates of these gluttonous pseudo-politicians, thus the erstwhile efficient public institutions were hollowed out and literally turned to personal piggy banks with the subsequent financial ruin we have come to understand as “nine wasted years” – whose grand achievement was the supposed abdication of political power to a certain foreign Indian family.

The results of that inexcusable, abominable political betrayal are now what Mr Zuma and his ilk are refusing to account for, despite irrefutable evidence laid bare at the State Capture Commission.

Now former president Zuma and his ragtag band of looters expect the South Africans, who daily had to eke out a living from the afore-mentioned economic devastation brought about by these zealous pseudo-political class masquerading as leaders, to turn a blind eye on their nefarious deeds and mount a defence against a legal verdict calling on them to accept responsibility.

What an insolent and deplorable audacity to invoke unfair treatment when expected to face the consequences of deliberate actions.

Mr Zuma has to submit himself to the constitutional pronouncement made against him, not on his own terms but in line with what the South Africa legal framework dictates.

He is in no position to seek a “nebulous” political resolution to what is actually a legal decree. He is expected to hand himself over to the correctional facility designated to serve his sentence.

Any other considerations he might have relating to his health or age issues are to be addressed after that. At stake here is the supremacy of our constitutional democracy, which by the way he twice pledged allegiance to as the head of state.

By doing that he would be saving this country from degenerating to anarchy, which I am sure he would not like to witness, not only for his own legacy but in homage to his contemporaries who had to pay the ultimate price in ensuring we enjoy the democracy ushered from 1994.

Anything other than that he would be responsible to the resultant “k*khocracy” this country is currently teetering on the brink of.

Surely that is not what he would like future generations to associate his name with.

As a first step he should talk decisively to that misguided horde camping on his property to disperse henceforth, and every individual to adhere to the safety protocols applicable in the midst of this deadly pandemic decimating our people.

That, and only that, is what South Africans expect from a caring and responsible leader.

∎ Mthuthuzeli Swartbooi is a practising educator, freelance journalist and public relations practitioner.