Howard Feldman

Dlamini-Zuma and the sleeping curse

2017-09-13 11:14
RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images

RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images

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I have tried to watch multiple interviews with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Really I have. But I can’t seem to stay awake long enough to get any sense of who she actually is and what it is that she offers the people of South Africa.

I have tried everything; from watching whilst standing, to tuning in whilst running on a treadmill. But each time I have found myself more fascinated by almost anything rather than the interview itself.

Even the interviewer seemed to struggle to feign interest, and I could see her stifling a yawn and swaying from side to side as the need to close her eyes overwhelmed her.

Dlamini-Zuma is going to be the next president of the ANC. Jacob Zuma has foretold it … It’s like the curse of Sleeping Beauty: we know it’s going to happen, we know we are going to fall into a slumber of one hundred years once the sewing needle draws blood… or in this case waiting for Zuma to step down.

She is going to become the ANC president for the following simple reason: because Jacob Zuma has said so. And so it will be. When he speaks, his camp listens.

In direct opposition to this is the anti Zuma-camp. They might be doing their best to oust him, to eliminate corruption and to regain the lost dignity of the ANC but they are divided and competitive. The party in its not too distant past had inspired not only the country but the world. It did so with dignity and self-respect and with democracy as its core value.

This is the problem.

The anti-Zumas are still engaging this battle as if the value of a democratic process is still central to the ANC. That means that they have multiple candidates who are, as expected, both good and bad, and stronger and weaker. They are all imperfect (as is any candidate in the world) and it requires debate and contemplation.

But what this also means is that the anti-Zumas have a split and weakened vote. The pro-Zumas will vote exactly as they are told. And if that means fulfilling the horror of another Zuma then that’s exactly what they will do. 

If the anti-Zumas hope to end the curse of the Zumas then they are going to have to suspend some of the ideals that they hold dear. Of course it would be wonderful to contemplate and debate the comparative strengths of the alternative hopefuls, but doing so would be folly that will cost the country dearly.

If they intend to save South Africa from slumber, it is imperative that they decide who is the most appropriate candidate and that they stand behind him or her as vigorously as they are able. This is not a time for lofty ideals but rather one for pragmatism.

Dlamini-Zuma has nothing to offer. She has been selected purely to protect the president. The support of the anti-feminist ANC Women’s League, who incidentally consider her a good candidate because she is a woman and therefore is able to multi-task, should be enough to discredit her completely.

But it has little to do with ability and everything to do with further entrenching the corruption and horror of the current presidency.

Her lack of talent and leadership ability is exhibited very clearly by the fact that the ANC are dangling the carrot of an early departure from office for Zuma should she be elected. This smacks of desperation and manipulation and one just hopes that no one in the ANC structures is enticed by it.

The anti-Zumas need to wake up. The country is already lying in the glass coffin signed off by Zuma, constructed by the Guptas and paid for by the tax payer through an offshore entity in Dubai.

There is little time before the oxygen runs out. And it will do so once the next Zuma steps into the position of ANC president. Dlamini-Zuma is not the prince who will save the country. Rather she holds in her hand the very needle that might inflict the wound that draws the country’s final drop of blood. 

- Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. 

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