Howard Feldman

OPINION | My layman's diagnosis: Zuma has a case of serious contempt for us all

2020-02-05 15:48
Former president Jacob Zuma. (Michele Spatari, AFP, file)

Former president Jacob Zuma. (Michele Spatari, AFP, file)

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The problem with the "Layman diagnosis" that Zuma is dealing with is that the symptoms are non-specific. Affliction seem to relate more to the event than the outward signs of actual illness, writes Howard Feldman

While the world focuses on the Corona virus that has emerged out of China, South Africa seems to be incubating an illness of its own.

And as fate would have it, it is former president Jacob Zuma who has been afflicted.

Unable to make a court appearance owing to illness, the country holds its collective breath, awaiting news.

In no time at all "Thoughts and prayers", "Love and light", "Sending good vibes only" will no doubt trend on social media.

Zuma is after all suffering from "Layman's Diagnosis, medical condition", at least according to the note provided to the court to explain his lack of attendance.

Worse is the fact that the date seems to have been altered, indicating that there is no end in sight. And that this illness, might indeed, fester for some time yet.

Rumour has it that so worried is the ex-president, that he is currently in Cuba where we can only assume that he is waiting to see a medical professional who specialises in this disease.

This is understandable considering that on a cursory search of Discovery’s website, I could not find even one specialist in the field of "Layman’s diagnosis, medical condition".

South Africa is clearly way behind on this.

As a seasoned hypochondriac, I know what it is to suffer from multiple conditions.

Although never actually diagnosed with cancer, according to Google at least, I have had various types multiple times.

I was at a stage convinced I had contracted Listeriosis (even though I don't eat polony) and even flirted with a touch of Ebola a few years ago. 

My West Nile virus scare was particularly worrisome and I can’t tell you that I haven’t been checking my temperature daily to make sure that I don’t have the Corona virus.

This, aside from the fact that the furthest East I have traveled in the last few months is the Benoni CBD.

And I don’t think that I actually got out of my car.

The problem with the "Layman diagnosis" that Zuma is dealing with is that the symptoms are non-specific.

Affliction seem to relate more to the event than the outward signs of actual illness.

I can relate to it if I think back to school days, particularly Wednesdays when we would have a "double Afrikaans".

I am certain that I would have been symptomatic then. But my parents didn't offer to take me to Cuba, or anywhere else for a potential cure.

"Illness" aside, the fact that Jacob Zuma and his lawyers believed that the court or the South African public would accept the so-called doctor's note which they presented is perhaps the biggest insult of all.

It is a reflection of the contempt that Zuma has for both the law and for the people of South Africa, who continue to suffer as a result of his presidency.

It indicates further how little remorse he feels and that there is no desire to make amends.

When one studies body language, one of the indicators of dishonesty is a micro-expression where the side of the mouth is raised for a flash of a second.

The reason that this is linked to a lie is because the liar often feels contempt for the person to whom they are speaking.

Jacob Zuma's note was exactly that.

I believe that Jacob Zuma's note is the perfect symbol of his attitude towards the law and to South Africans.

Wishing him a speedy and full recovery. Love and Light. Sending good vibes only.  #ThoughtsAndPrayers.

- Howard Feldman is a keynote speaker and analyst. He is the author of three books and is the morning talk show host on ChaiFM.

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  |  courts


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