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The Big Read: Zuma’s right to be very afraid – the tide is turning


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Justice Malala | 22 May, 2017 07:09

http://www.timeslive.co.za/Feeds/2017/05/22/1406713_1132727.jpg/ALTERNATES/crop_630x400/1406713_1132727.jpg

SHORT SHRIFT: Frank Chikane speaks at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto at the release of the SA Council of Churches&; state capture report last week. The report said that President Jacob Zuma and his administration lack the moral authority to run South Africa. 
Image by: ALAISTER RUSSELL

And so now we are here. No one likes the president. He cannot speak in the Free State or many other places in this country.

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His comrades boo him. The ANC, the organisation that suckled and raised him, is split down the middle. Half of his comrades are ashamed of him. The other half detest him, too, but want to steal along with him.

He is afraid of his comrades. In parliament, if the bid for a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence succeeds, they might walk away from him. He knows that this is a distinct possibility. This might be the end of him. He does not know whom to trust. He is paranoid and he is afraid.

So, now we are here. The president&39;s security detail is so massive he looks like he is a leader of a banana republic. He believes his comrades are plotting against him, that his enemies want to kill him, that his wives want to kill him. He is lonely. Those who speak to him now are those with whom he plots and machinates.

This is where we are now. South Africa is leaderless, confused and adrift. Those who warned us back in 2007 are smirking. They say: "I told you so."

They were right. We are reaping the whirlwind. Don&39;t be fooled. Under Zuma everything has gone wrong. Our education is mediocre. Our ideas, if any, are stale and useless. If he stays in power any longer, surrounded by his retinue of thieves and corrupt relatives, South Africa will become a failed state. We are nearly there.

The president, a known predator, slept with his young charge, a woman who later reported him for rape. He did not feel it sad or worrying to visit the home of a child who was similarly violated.

The rot is everywhere. Look at yesterday&39;s front pages. Looting in the water ministry. Looting at Eskom and other state-owned enterprises.

We are seeing looting that indicates desperation and a realisation that these days might be coming to an end.

The tide is turning. Zuma&39;s bet that South Africans would sit and watch while their country is stolen is falling apart. New movements are being born. The future is going to look very different. But time is of the essence.

Last week the SA Council of Churches released a report on its own examination of state capture, describing the Zuma administration as a mafia state.

It was telling who was in the room for the release: former Hawks head Anwar Dramat, respected civil servant Trevor Fowler, cleric and ANC leader Frank Chikane.

Zuma might not see it, but we can see it: the United Democratic Front, the organisation that shook apartheid to its very core in the 1980s, was in that room.

This weekend we had the extraordinary sight of Business Leadership SA&39;s Bonang Mohale speaking at the SA Communist Party&39;s imbizo.

You know that you are a truly divisive figure when you find business leaders and communist leaders huddled together discussing your sheer incompetence and thieving.

These are not the only formations Zuma has thrown into each others&39; arms. The EFF, a radical political party on the left, is cheek by jowl with the DA, a centre-right party that espouses capitalism.

In fact, the entire official opposition in the political landscape is ranged against Zuma and his version of the ANC.

This weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing two incredible men at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in the Western Cape.

The first, author of My Own Liberator and former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, spoke about how we failed in ensuring that education was the absolute centre of our new dispensation.

I knew that men and women like him have not given up. We will hear a lot from him in the future.

When our session ended the queue of admirers was massive. They all begged him to be president. Read his book: he deserves to be president.

In my panel discussion with ANC veteran Khulu Mbatha, the author of Unmasked, it became clear that the ANC still has many incredible men and women in its ranks. Crucially, they realise that defeating the rot that came with Zuma will take not just ANC members, but our entire country and its citizenry.

But they are there, and they are standing up.

Read Mbatha&39;s book to understand the thinking of those marginalised by Zuma in the ANC and to understand the beginnings of the push against him.

"We are at a tipping point," Mbatha told the audience in Franschhoek.

I agree with him. Zuma and his cronies should be afraid. Very afraid. The people are standing up against him and his mafia state. And the masses, as Oliver Tambo once said, are never wrong.


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