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READER LETTER | Pardon Zuma so SA can move on

Former president Jacob Zuma.
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The latest apex court judgment on former president Jacob Zuma has the potential to destabilise the country. Perhaps President Cyril Ramaphosa should heed the plea of EFF leader Julius Malema and pardon the former president.

A pardon is an instrument of mercy within legal systems. We cannot afford any upheaval of the magnitude that we witnessed in July 2021.  A repeat of that disaster will decimate and destroy our fragile economic order.

Zuma’s legal battles have cost the state via the embattled taxpayer a massive R50m thus far. This game of political chess and checkmate must be discontinued. Correctional services commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale can set aside the apex judgment on humanitarian grounds. The time for healing has arrived, let the nation go forth.

Our divided country is mired in self-doubt, our democracy under siege and vulnerable to demagogues and populists. Any attempt to send Zuma back to prison could trigger off a huge conflagration,  which will most certainly be exploited by anarchists and political extremists.

Pardoning him will be an act of statesmanship by Ramaphosa. During July 2021, 350 lives were lost, R50bn of damage was done to infrastructure and businesses. The private sector suffered losses amounting to over R70bn. 

A pardon will not undermine the rule of law; on the contrary it will enhance the quality of justice in our beleaguered political landscape. All those who were and are in the corridors of power are equally responsible for the spectacle we are witnessing today. We cannot erase the past, it is a hideous reminder of absolute power without safeguards.

As a nation in monumental crisis, it becomes a matter of urgency that we should move on. The errors of the past 20 years cannot be rectified. Let us plan and implement policies for the years ahead and let those who led us astray live their infamous lives in peace. History will judge them accordingly.

The nation has suffered enough. What we are sadly witnessing today are political wars of attrition. Litigation battles by the various combatants within the corridors of power has cost the state via the embattled taxpayer hundreds of millions of rands. These astronomical amounts could have been used to alleviate the suffering of the masses. Let us forgive and move foward for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

Farouk Araie, Actonville, Benoni

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