State capture: Popo Molefe likens Jacob Zuma to Donald Trump

Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma Jacob Zuma.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe has likened the tenure of former president Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings to that of Donald Trump now at the White House.

Molefe was continuing his testimony before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday after a three-month break due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to Molefe, the manner in which Trump was allegedly flouting the US constitution and doing as he pleased with the support of the Republican party, was identical to how Zuma allowed corruption to set in with the full backing of the governing ANC. Molefe went as far as saying that, “at some point I was the only one dealing with the issue of corruption”.

The other ANC deployees, be it in government or parliament, were prepared to do anything it took to defend Zuma in his wrongdoings, he claimed.

Such was the extent of abuse of power by Zuma, with impunity, because ANC members abandoned their principles to protect their bread, said Molefe.

So bad was the situation that Zuma was willing to remove all those who were standing in his way. Molefe said that he was one such person, with Zuma dissolving the Prasa board.

“The attitude was that ‘we are going to show them that power resides here [Union Buildings] and not with them [Prasa board]'. Something similar to what is happening now in the US, where the president of the country is perceived to be doing things that are flouting the constitution,” he said.

“He [Trump] does not respect the rule of law, but because he is a powerful man with big money, people just support what he is doing and on the impeachment process, his colleagues, even though they knew he was wrong stood behind him.

“The next thing he goes and removes all the best prosecutors, he wants cronies and he goes to the courts, he wants judges to be those who would ignore the basic tenets of the law and the constitution but instead defend him as a person,” Molefe went on.

“And we have seen this here with our own [former] president [Zuma] and all those people representing the ANC in parliament behaving as if they did not see anything wrong with how public funds were appropriated for personal benefit.

“They defended that position until the courts decided that because you are failing to do what you are supposed to do, we as the courts will tell you what the right thing to do is.

“There is a danger in allowing this kind of abuse of power and abuse of office by anybody, because it can lead to losses of life, destroy the economy and the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. It is important therefore that there must be people who stand up against this.”

Molefe said what was worse in the ANC was that its deployees in the government and parliament were more loyal to the party than the country.

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