9 very clear reasons you should step down, Mr President

2017-08-20 06:17
President Jacob Zuma at the World Economic Forum in Durban. (Pic: Liesl Peyer, Fin24)

President Jacob Zuma at the World Economic Forum in Durban. (Pic: Liesl Peyer, Fin24)

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Last Sunday, President Jacob Zuma complained to a cheering crowd in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, that people keep accusing him of corruption but they do not say what exactly he has done wrong. For the sake of anyone who may not know why so many people are requesting the president to resign, I will attempt to write a précis of the main reasons.

I would be grateful for help as I seek to identify a person or journalist whose written Zulu at best approximates the president’s matchless fluidity in Malandela’s spoken language. Their task would be to reproduce this piece into Zulu for the benefit of Pongola residents and others who best assimilate information in the language of Malandela – isiZulu.

Mr President, South Africans would like you to resign for these reasons:

- In 2016, the full Bench of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, after listening to the case involving the abuse of government funds at your Nkandla residence, unanimously concluded that your handling of the Public Protector’s report, titled Secure in Comfort, constituted a breach of your oath of office.

You accepted that judgment. You also apologised to the nation, ambiguously, not for the grave offence you had committed, but for the confusion your actions had caused.

Parliament was expected to effect this judgment by ensuring that you were removed from office. That did not happen because ANC MPs used their superior numbers to undermine the court’s judgment. That is how you illegitimately continued in office.

- When, in 2005, the Durban High Court found that Schabir Shaik had corruptly made payments to you, it was thought you would make every effort to clear your name in court, as you said you would. You subsequently did everything you could, at the expense of taxpayers, to avoid going to court to clear your name. That made many people believe that you may have actually taken the bribe.

A person who does not bother to protect his reputation, or who is thought to take bribes, is considered unsuitable for the role of president.

- Your friendship with the Gupta family gravely concerns the nation, Mr President. Some of your staunch supporters have also requested that this shady business family be asked to give you space to run the country as mandated by the electorate.

It troubles the nation that the Guptas have used their friendship with you to engage in nefarious activities that have corrupted state institutions and government departments for self-enrichment.

Giving your family members equity and senior positions in companies they own or control seems to many to constitute bribery of our head of state.

The Guptas have treated some of your ministers and other public servants in a similar manner. They have corrupted officials in state-owned companies such as Eskom, Transnet, passenger rail agency Prasa, arms company Denel and others.

Ministers and public servants have admitted to going on Gupta-financed luxury jaunts to Dubai and elsewhere. The Guptas have caused you to sack patriotic and competent ministers, who stood firmly against the looting of state coffers. Indications are that vast sums of money have been illegally taken out of the country. People do not understand why you have not condemned these criminal activities.

- Mr President, society expects of any political, business or community leader moral rectitude, integrity, credibility and truthfulness.

Although you were cleared of a rape allegation in 2006, it shocked many members of the public that you actually had sex – unprotected, nogal – with a late comrade’s daughter you knew to be HIV positive; and that you did nothing to restrain your supporters who, throughout the trial, raucously accosted and insulted your accuser. The public did not think that was presidential.

- In 2013, the Guptas offended the nation when they landed their aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base, a national keypoint, on their arrival for a family wedding. It was implied that you were aware of, and approved, their landing plans.

You may not have done so, but your silence on an incident that mocked our sovereignty caused a lot of disquiet, more so because the breach was committed by your friends.

- Although it is your prerogative to hire and fire government ministers, your dismissal of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister in 2015 caused a rupture in the financial markets, estimated at more than R500 billion. So also did your subsequent dismissal of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from the finance ministry.

I have no doubt that you appreciate it is not only the rich who lose money when you unwisely exercise your prerogative. Many ordinary people do so as well.

Others experience job losses, and unemployment levels remain high as a result of investor uncertainty.

- Sadly, you informed the nation that you had “removed” Nene so that he could take up a job at Brics, representing the five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This did not happen and people started wondering what your real motive was for firing him.

You also said you had sacked Gordhan and Jonas because an intelligence report you had received accused them of acting against the state. Your intelligence minister said he knew of no such report. This does not augur well for credibility.

- In summary, Mr President, you continue in office only because your friends in the ANC leadership acted in breach of the Constitution. Yes, there is also that small matter of the “politics of the stomach”.

Your government has been distinguished by excessive levels of corruption and ever-increasing levels of incompetence. The economy is in recession and unemployment has reached unprecedented levels since 1994. Social cohesion is under severe strain.

- You lead an ANC that is bedevilled by factions, mainly because of your divisive leadership style. Your brazen campaign to have your ex-wife, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, elected ANC leader in December, and the country’s president in 2019, is a case in point.

Incredibly, you and your fellow leaders believe your party comes before the country and its Constitution!

Mr President, if you decided to leave office now, you would earn yourself the gratitude of millions of relieved South Africans, and a bright spot in what will otherwise be a blighted legacy.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  guptas  |  anc

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