Raising a Glass to Zuma

2016-03-20 11:15

President Zuma is set to cost me a bottle of wine. It isn't a bottle that I am particularly fond of, but it involved a bet that I am likely to lose. And much like the President, I hate losing.

The wager came about on a morning radio show that I co-host. In my fervor and in my naivety and in the mistaken belief that the ANC and the NEC has to have at least a “Few Good Men” (and women) in their ranks, I predicted that they would unquestionably re call the President who holds a significant amount of responsibility for the mess in which the country finds itself. And it would happen this weekend.

“By Monday he will be out,” I announced somewhat breathlessly, in a voice that took me back to to my heady student protest days. My belief was that they, like the rest of the population, would be so outraged at the gross and flagrant corruption that they would discuss nothing else at the NEC meeting.

How to save our precious democracy would be the only item on the Agenda and as difficult as the conversations would be, there would be a recognition that they had made a right royal mess of things and worst of the worst was the President himself.

They would not resort to their standard operating rule book which states something like

Rule 16 (a)

- (i) Never accept responsibility (for anything).

- (ii) Should the accusations be true and look like they might stick, then in order to divert attention from the real issues, one should scream “Conspiracy! Plot! or 3rd Force!” as loud as one is able to. Should one happen to fortuitously have a State Sponsored Mouthpiece and Media business that might fortuitously be owned by a friend, then feel to disseminate the accusations accordingly.

- (iii) In the event of i and ii above not being successful then the denunciations of “Racism” would be an acceptable defense along with something (anything) about Jan Van Riebeeck or Rhodes, even if it made no sense whatsoever. In fact, all the better.

My co host, somewhat more cynical than I am, was prepared to put money on it. She was confident that the NEC would not do the right thing and that just as things had never changed, so they never would. The risk of her losing a bottle of wine was low and so hands were shaken and the bet was placed.

And later this afternoon I will be popping past the local liquor store to make good my commitment.

Unlike the ANC who very clearly refuse to honour theirs.

When The President of South Africa, and when the country’s Ministers assume their chosen positions, they raise their right hand and take an oath or affirm their commitment to the people of South Africa. They promise to act with “honour and dignity”. They swear to be be “Faithful,” to the Constitution and all other laws of South Africa. And they promise to do so to the best of their ability. And whereas I am not convinced that the President Zuma is capable of acting differently to the manner which he currently behaves, I still believe that there are those in the ANC are most definitely are capable of more. And they promised. Which must mean something?

Hopes began to fade Thursday afternoon when, being the addict that I have become, I was glued to the Parliament Channel. Anticipating a watershed moment when the President had to face the public, I was soon to be horribly disappointed. The DA having geared up for this pivotal moment seemed to choose the “Flight “option when faced with the “Fight or.....” choice and in doing so allowed the President to continue answering questions that neither he nor anyone else could understand. It was business as usual (whatever that might mean).

No doubt there will be court cases that like the Omar al Bashir debacle the ANC will lose and then take on appeal and then lose again. Much like the illegal removal from Parliament which the ANC lost and took on appeal and lost again. All whilst the ruling party does exactly as it chooses, as it flagrantly and arrogantly snubs its nose at the law and the people of the country and when chastised reverts to rule 16 (a) above.

I am upset to lose this bottle of wine. Because it means admitting defeat. It means the acknowledgement that the ANC made folly of their oath and of our frail democracy. It means that they have chosen to allow corruption to continue. Worst of all, it means that I was wrong.

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