Play your Zuma games alright ANC, but leave SA out of it

07 February 2020 - 09:34
By AND S'thembiso Msomi
We can't tell the ANC what its priorities should be, but for the sake of the child born in the early 2000s and their future, we as citizens should refuse to be pulled back into the Zuma trial matrix when our country has so many real problems, the writer says.
Image: ALON SKUY We can't tell the ANC what its priorities should be, but for the sake of the child born in the early 2000s and their future, we as citizens should refuse to be pulled back into the Zuma trial matrix when our country has so many real problems, the writer says.

A child born at the very beginning of the political saga that has over the years mutated into the Jacob Zuma corruption case is now in the twilight of her teens.

Depending on when she started school and how well she did over the years, she probably wrote her matric exams late last year.

She would not have seen Nelson Mandela as president of the country, but she has lived through Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa as heads of state.

In her brief lifetime, she has witnessed her country host the Soccer World Cup, winning the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and in 2019, winning Miss World and Miss Universe. She would have also witnessed the grief of our nation and the rest of the freedom-loving world when Mandela departed from earth.

This child, now approaching her 20s, has also lived through a SA where, despite social welfare intervention by the state, poverty remains a reality for millions of citizens.

Economic inequality, mostly still along the racial lines created and enforced by colonialism and apartheid, is still a defining feature of our nation and unemployment, especially among the young and black, is on the rise.

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To her, the spirit of unity and the sense of hope that dominated our national psyche in the earliest years of democracy are things she only learned about at school.

All she has known is a quarrelsome country that seems to be in a permanent state of war with itself over dysfunctional state-owned enterprises, rising levels of corruption, violent crime, political jostling for power and perennially under-delivering national soccer and cricket teams.

When she was born, her country's economy was the biggest in Africa in terms of nominal GDP. So big in fact that its economic hub, Gauteng, was regarded as the third biggest economy in Africa, with Egypt occupying the second spot.

Today South Africa has been surpassed by Nigeria as number one and is holding by a thread to its current spot at number two.

The likes of Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda have been registering impressive economic growth figures while our economy is threatening to grind to a halt.

Yet throughout the period of her existence, the leading political party in the country has been preoccupied with the corruption case of a certain Zuma.

It has defined our politics and held us hostage as the population got divided along the lines of those who wanted him prosecuted and those who believed Zuma was being politically persecuted.

With him being forced out of office in February 2018, there was some hope that the matter would no longer dominate our politics and that it would be left to the courts, where it rightfully belongs.

After some initial resistance from its members, especially in KZN, the Ramaphosa-led ANC eventually seemed free from this albatross around its neck.

No political resources and energy were expended on the "wenzeni uZuma" solidarity rallies as the ANC tried to steer itself towards dealing with its many governance problems.

But that all seems to have changed this week following a high court decision to issue a warrant of arrest for Zuma if he fails to appear before it in May.

Suddenly moribund structures such as the ANC Youth League have come to life threatening Armageddon just because a court did what courts do when an accused fails to appear in court without providing a satisfactory excuse.

We can't tell the ANC what its priorities should be, but for the sake of the child born in the early 2000s and their future, we as citizens should refuse to be pulled back into the Zuma trial matrix when our country has so many real problems.