It's time for Zuma to do right thing

Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

The theatrics of the National Director of Public Prosecutions aside, the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to go ahead and charge former president Jacob Zuma for - among others, fraud, corruption and racketeering - is most welcomed.

South Africa is still a young democracy trying to find its feet after 24 years of democracy.

It is important, therefore, that, at every given opportunity we endeavour to put the concretisation of our founding values above all else.

The contract we have signed with ourselves to do so is the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and we should strive to uphold it at all times.

A central tenet of this contract is equality before the law, which should not just be some nice-sounding slogan - it was the very essence of the people's Struggle against apartheid and all forms of oppression and exclusion.

Equality before the law was what drove the founding father of our democracy, Nelson Mandela, to humble himself enough to appear in court while in office over a decision he had made in the execution of his duties as president.

Those who hauled him to court then might have sought to humiliate a loved and cherished president. But a great man seized the moment and in the process boosted democracy.

He demonstrated that all were indeed equal before the law as envisaged and demanded of us in that contract of ours - the Constitution - even the president shall respect the rule of law.

As president, Zuma didn't exactly cover himself in glory, going to the extent of even breaking the oath of an office Mandela held in high regard, thereby compromising the trust the nation bestowed on him.

Now, with the NPA decision to make him have his day in court, we urge Zuma to take a leaf out of the great man's book and not only do the right thing but be seen to be doing the right thing.

Some of his allies, particularly his erstwhile comrades in arms - MK Military Veterans Association - have made rather unfortunate noises, claiming Zuma will not get a fair trial.

Isn't it time Zuma came out clearly and told the nation: "Not in my name", thus defusing the time bomb some anarchists hope to leave us holding.

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