Saturday, October 22, 2005

How will SA survive the Jacob Zuma affair?

The Jacob Zuma affair has the potential to radically destabilise South Africa's miracle transformation. If you are not aware of the history, you can read more in these articles:

Shaik found guilty - 2 June 2005
Mbeki briefed on Shaik ruling - 2 June 2005
Zuma gets the sack - 21 June 2005
Zuma withdraws from ANC structures - 20 June 2005
Zuma in court on June 29 - NPA - 21 June 2005
Scorpions raid Zuma's home - 18 August 2005
Bar condemns Scorpions raid - 19 August 2005
Zuma: Cosatu warns of 'turmoil' - 18 August 2005
Alliance in-fighting continues - 26 August 2005
ANC's NEC endorses Zuma inquiry - 10 September 2005
Zuma arrives at court - 11 October 2005
Mbeki T-shirt burning riles ANC - 12 October 2005
Zuma condemns T-shirt burnings - 19 October 2005

The Zuma files

In an Op-Ed piece last week in the Sunday Times, "This is not a game. Our future and our way of life are at stake", Roger Hartley raises the alarm on the impact of the trial. While the piece seems alarmist, it is probably correct in it's view that the Zuma trial is one of the most severe tests of our country's democracy and rule of law since 1994.

Worried about the low level of thinking behind the calls for Jacob Zuma's charges to be dropped - amidst claims that he is a good man and cannot be guilty of crimes, I browsed over to Friends of Jacob Zuma. The site is for posting of messages of support, but largely for fund raising for Mr Zuma's defence. The intention is apparently to raise R12m. This is because Mr Zuma is a poor man - despite his recent purchase of another house for R3,9m.

This pearler is the lastest on the messageboard:

There is no other person to lead this our nation in the future. Love you mr future president. Please make me minister of finance, as i have A for maths and accounting at school. I also know how to deal with money and people. i will be loyal and disciplined. Please at least think about it.

This post is far more alarming in that it exposes the trbalist faction that has developed in the course of the Zuma affair:

I greet you,I am one of the most patriotic South Africans from Mandeni KZN,I just want to say that even when all South Africans have turn against you but all the Zulus will stand by your side untill the end and we hope that in each trial the Lord will give a blessing,In every storm the Lord wil give a rainbow. Zulus alone are South Africa itself,Fight the Good battle Msholozi omuhle even when it feels like you are at the end of the road do not let go,for they shall never convict you. Kind regards M.F.Ngema. The African Dream

Tribalism is something that simmers under the surface of South African politics. The ruling structures are dominated by Xhosa men and Zulus regard Jacob Zuma as their hope.

This holds the greatest hope for those wishing to see populism outweighed by those supporting justice in the next election. A research report out today indicates that the massive support Zuma is largely confined to Kwazulu-Natal. Two thirds of South Africa support the sacking of Zuma from deputy president - see SA approves of Zuma axing.

This does raise the spectre of tribal violence if the trial does not go Zuma's way - and supporters are unable to gain ground through political support.

I narrowly missed national defence force call-up during the early nineties. Friends served in the army in KwaZulu-Natal. They saw violence you would never wish on anybody.

I hope we can avoid any repeats of that.

Oh, and by the way, if you try and post an impartial message on the Friends of Jacob Zuma message board, it is censored. I posted something like the following:

Jacob Zuma seems to me to be a man who, if guilty of corruption, probably didn't see the favours he allegedly gave as being wrong. Whether he did or didn't, if the facts are shown to indicate his guilt, I hope the supporters on this message board show equal support for the due process of law.

It didn't appear.


eKapa said...

politics is so not my thing but i like the post u submitted to them. if anything though, u managed to get a point across to the webmaster of the site. and now with this post on your blog, you've become one of the voices for the people. here here ;P

ChittyChittyBangBang! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Tribalism is a serious issue. Remember the faction wars and the IFP/ANC black on black violence of the late 80's - early 90's?
Blind faith/misplaced loyalty and belief is not something new to SA or to Africa for that matter. There are countless examples of this in the past. How else couldone explain Bob Mugabe still being in power?
I hope in the end that ppl's common sense will prevail and that they will allow truth and justice to prevail.
It could be the biggest test to our newly found democaracy and one would hope that someone like the former deputy president would realise this and call on his supporters to be reasonable.