Why don't they just fire Zuma?

2015-12-14 16:58

Few outside of South Africa’s vast cohort of naive and ill-educated voters, presidential acolytes and predatory opportunists, have ever been in much doubt about Zuma’s intellectual limitations.

We have tended to dismiss him as a herd-boy made good with a large ego and an over-active penis. Yet he represents a party and government of some stature – whether one supports them or not. And so – most of us have reasoned – damage to the nation should be contained by virtue of constitutional and institutional safeguards established at its founding.

Not so – as we noted last week.

Notwithstanding an almost total absence of the higher level talents associated with a modern day head of state, the Zulu king is a consummate and streetwise politician, and a self-serving strategist.

Some years back I wrote a treatise questioning whether South Africa had the necessary societal intelligence quotient and cultural values (which are generally inter-related) to succeed economically and as a democracy.

In other words – do we have what it takes to make it?

My findings, in common with those of other and subsequent economists and political commentators, found that we would only succeed with quantum improvements in at least two areas. These were a radically improved public education system and economic growth fuelled by free market forces.

I also concluded that we had little chance of success under the circumstances at the time - +- 5 years ago. Since then things have gotten worse (examples - worst youth maths and science scores in the world and an economy hovering around 1% growth on a good day). Add to that the collapse of the Post Office, SAA, Telkom, Eskom and a self-induced water crisis for a perfect storm.

Or so we thought - until Wednesday 9th December.

The evening news brought the hurricane of a fired finance minister who had almost single handedly tried to hold back some of the excesses of the Zulu king. And within hours the nation started to pay the price as our currency devalued, shares slumped and dismay spread in financial markets.

Aside from a tanking currency, dwindling economic prospects, a worsening employment outlook and reducing odds on avoiding state failure, the king has stripped off not only his clothes but exposed what is inside his head.

There is not very much – and it is far from pretty. His impromptu speech in the run up to firing minister Nene was every bit as scary as any economic fallout, bearing in mind that he is at the helm of a nation of 50 million people. Two gems:

• Anyone heard of Africa being the largest continent? So large in fact that all the others could fit within it? (Zuma speech – 9th December 2015)

• And for those in quest of new economic insights, the king can also provide assistance.

The king knows better than to subscribe to the laws of supply and demand in establishing prices; the amount of labour and time involved in producing things is how they should be valued! (Zuma speech – 9th December 2015)

To compound the hash he made of the firing and new appointment, the king offered a limp wristed explanation for Nene’s firing (an appointment elsewhere). He then re-instated an earlier finance minister four days later by way of damage control and in the hope of containing public outrage.

We are at a point where we must hold the African National Congress to account and ask one simple question.

“Given that this man discredits the South African nation, its people and your very party; and that his actions are accelerating our path to economic and financial destruction, increasing unemployment and poverty - why do you not fire him?”

He is not just incompetent; he is useless in matters key to the nation’s interests and very sussed indeed in matters devious and serving of his own interests.

I can think of no other employer that would offer him a job at any level. Incompetence, dishonesty, deviousness and dumb ignorance do not sit well with employers.

So why should they with you of the ruling party?

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