Do you feel it too? The déjà vu

2012-09-22 13:33

He’s lost his job, stepped aside amid allegations of corruption. He inhabits a political wilderness, but remains a wildly popular leader.

The governing ANC is unhappy with the opprobrium his conduct has heaped on the party – both here and abroad, his name is used as a symbol of the downturn in the moral standing of Nelson Mandela’s party.

But for unhappy cadres of the movement who think the incumbent is beyond the pale in his leadership failings, the marginal man becomes a symbol of their own hurt and fears, but also of their hopes.

The disaffected assemble behind him, using his campaign for reinstatement and for political relevance to help their own campaign against the president they no longer want.

But the incumbent is wily and he has one thing the outsider populist does not have – state power and its formidable authority.

Ignoring the foibles of other comrades around him who are as, if not more, corrupt than his political enemy, he assembles the security state to act against his opponent.

The special forensic investigators, the National Prosecuting Authority, the police and the justice system works at a pace unknown to the rest of South Africa in their experience of justice.

An investigation is accelerated, an arrest warrant issued and the man is arrested.

The tax authorities pounce too. His goose, it seems, is cooked.

The story of President Jacob Zuma has become the story of erstwhile ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

The youth leader is no angel – a thousand questions of probity hang around his head. He was a tenderpreneur of note; he was not in the taxman’s good books, ever.

If he has done wrong, then justice must be done.

But it should not only be done because he is a political pain in the backside now.

Why were allegations against Malema’s tender ways ignored until he became a liability to Zuma?

Why, for example, does the ANC Northern Cape leader John Block still hold office despite serious corruption charges against him?

There are others, too, who exist in a state of impunity.

Why has the arrest warrant against Malema been issued now and after political heavyweights met leaders of criminal justice institutions who should act only in the public interest and without fear, favour or prejudice?

Only the least wise make the same mistake twice.

The governing party seems determined to not learn from the mistake of politicising the criminal justice system.

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