The ANC used to be much more than just a political party. The ANC was a movement for peace and democracy. The ANC was a symbol of tolerance and resistance to oppression. The ANC used contain people that stood up for change in the face of impossible odds. However, this party has become infested with individuals that have exploited the party’s electoral success and history in the pursuit of their own financial benefit. Mandela, Biko, Tambo; these people would be spinning in their graves if they saw what their party has become. As with all political parties that have been in power for a long time, the ANC have taken their supporters for granted and become intoxicated with power. Jacob Zuma embodies this hubris and he should be ousted from power.
In the last few days Zuma has been embroiled in the debacle over the new Finance Minister, but the President has been linked to scandals for a number of years including not understanding what democracy means, multiple corruption allegations, and abuses by his personal bodyguards. Not only are these scandals enough to warrant a vote of no-confidence, but his continued occupancy in Mahlamba Ndlopfu is a threat to South African democracy. Here’s a brief list of reasons why Zuma should be ousted.
Over the years Zuma’s bodyguards have been repeatedly described as increasingly intrusive. In February 2010 Chumani Maxwele, a student from Cape Town and ANC activist, was detained by police after doing a “rude gesture” toward President Zuma’s motorcade. He also claimed that he was coerced into writing an apology to the police and was also later forced from car at gunpoint. This was not an isolated incident. In March of the same year Tshepo Lesole, a journalist, was forced to delete photographs of Zuma’s convoy and in 2009 Sky News reporter Emma Hurd claimed she was groped by the President’s bodyguards. This repression of the press and coercion by the police is not remotely ‘left-wing’, it is the attitude of a paranoid authoritarian.
The South African President has been involved in many corruption allegations but my personal favourite, due to its obvious illegality, was Zuma’s R246 million investment of government money in the Nkandla homestead, his own private home, for “security reasons”. One of these new features was the “firepool” which, according to Zuma, is a swimming pool that doubles up as a store of water to fight fires.
This is also leaving out the fact that the Mahlamba Ndlopfu exists. When Zuma said that he doesn’t want to live in the President’s mansion, but at his private residence, the collective response should have been: “if you’re the president you are the most powerful man in the country. But we get to tell you where you live”. This was such a waste of taxpayer money that it’s almost impressive. It’s not even like the former President of Uruguay José Mujica, who insisted on living in his own house, because Mujica’s decision was motivated by his opposition to ostentation. Zuma lives at his own mansion but insisted that tax payers pay for improvements that he will enjoy after his term as President ends.
In 2012 Zuma addressed the National Assembly and said the following gem: “you have more rights because you’re a majority; you have less rights because you’re a minority”. That’s right Jacob Zuma, who claims to be a man of the Left, believes that some people should have fewer rights than others. What an egalitarian principle.
This is a direct message to ANC MPs to support a no-confidence motion in Zuma and force another election. There have been numerous motions in the National Assembly to impeach Zuma or force him out of office but in every case ANC MPs have lined up in support of the President. These people claim to be left-wing so I would say only this: if these MPs genuinely believe in the strength of their ideas they wouldn’t feel threatened by another vote of no-confidence unless they actually support Zuma.
Zuma is a man who is quite clearly corrupt and anyone who supports him are either wilfully blind or have something to gain from his continued Presidency. New elections should be held, the ANC should be challenged on their systematic wrongdoing, and a national unity government should be set up to prevent the ANC getting back in. Further, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party must end the Tripartite Alliance and side with the unity government. The ANC are drunk on power and need to experience defeat in order to get the party reconnected with the South African people. The quickest way to do this is cut of the head of the snake. Zuma must go.