Guest Column

Mcebo Dlamini: The relentless pursuit of Jacob Zuma, while others get a free ride

2020-02-06 12:19
Jacob Zuma. (City Press, file)

Jacob Zuma. (City Press, file) ( Foto: City Press)

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Corruption has to be curbed and those who take from the public purse must account. But, why are other corrupt leaders not being treated the same, at least if we are to stay true to the fact that we are all equal in the eyes of the law, writes Mcebo Dlamini

It is quite unsurprising that the pursuit of the former president of the ANC and the country still continues.

Jacob Zuma has been issued with a warrant of arrest after the court failed to recognise his medical certificate as sufficient reason to miss court.

But this pursuit is more than just the law playing its part.

Think, how is it possible that the judge dismisses a sick note that comes from a military hospital?

Is that not blatantly undermining the military?

Why would the court do this? Also, how does this type of sensitive news end up in the public domain? This alone is enough to raise suspicions around the underlying motive behind the warrant of arrest on the former president.

It could be that the technicalities of the law and the courts are just being used for an ulterior motive.

This is quite possible because as I have often cited, the law is not without ideology.

It is not an empty vessel that is incorrigible.

It is also vulnerable to abuse as it was seen during apartheid when it justified a tyrannical regime that suppressed and violated the people.

One might argue that under the democratic dispensation things have changed, nothing is further from the truth. The social and economic relations have hardly altered only now there are new devices to conceal a past that is always continuing.

Jacob Zuma could very well be corrupt, but few corrupt people have been pursued in the same way that he is.

Few corrupt people have had to shamefully wear the albatross of being the face of corruption as much as the former president.

Corruption has to be curbed and those who take from the public purse must account.

But, why are other corrupt leaders not being treated the same, at least if we are to stay true to the fact that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

Zuma is treated as the biggest tyrant when people like De Klerk walk the street freely when they were custodians of the most brutal system in the world.

Mine workers were gunned down while demanding a living wage, yet those who were involved in that massacre are not pursued as vigorously as what Zuma is.

Big corporations have looted billions of rands through price fixing and collusion yet they are not pursued in the same way, they just pay a fine and move on.

They are not subjected to the same court of public opinion that Zuma has been subjected to, even now when he no longer holds public office.

Hear me here, I am not saying that thugs must not account but I am saying it is political who decides to call people thugs and those that we do not call thugs even though they all participate in the same scheming and dealing.

Also a read between the lines might tell us something else about this situation.

Consider this: yesterday we were worried about the functioning of state owned enterprises and today we are not, right?

It is quite possible that the issue of Jacob Zuma is thrown back into public discourse particularly to divert the attention from issues that have been occupying the headlines lately.

We no longer need to be watchful of whether or not the state is continuing with privatisation.

We are no longer going to look at the crisis faced by Eskom and SAA and how it is being dealt with.

This might look as though it is far-fetched, but the reality of the matter is that media plays a very powerful role in the things that society focuses on.

What dominates the media becomes what society generally care and think about.

The warrant of arrest against Jacob Zuma might very well be justified, but this should not be the end of our inquest.

We should ask what it does to the broader political landscape of South Africa.

- Dlamini is a former chairperson of the Wits SRC. He writes in his personal capacity.

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.  

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  media  |  democracy  |  corruption  |  politics
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