Letter: Zuma sells out people’s birthright

In A part of my soul went with him by Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela is quoted as having said: “I am not less life-loving than you are. But I cannot sell my birthright, nor am I prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free.” And in April 1998 he said: “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

How far short of these noble ideals has President Jacob Zuma fallen? He has truly “sold the birthright of the people” to the highest bidder.

He, his family and sycophants have raped and pillaged our state coffers, and become obscenely rich – and to hell with the poor. What a shocking legacy he will leave.

How deeply saddened Mandela would have been today.

But what is even more amazing is the blind loyalty from so many ANC members who continue to slavishly defend Zuma. No matter that he has no morals; that he faces countless corruption charges; that he, single-handed, just about wrecked our economy; the state capture scandal; the absence of leadership qualities; and despite the outspoken criticism of the war veterans, business leaders and other senior ANC leaders, his followers can see no wrong and believe he is the victim of some media conspiracy.

The ANC Youth League has called for a review of the public protector’s State of Capture report. The league says, “The report was half-cooked, not conclusive and mainly based on gossip, innuendo and driven by former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s determination to bring President Jacob Zuma down.”

And then it just boggles the mind that despite Zuma’s infidelities, sleeping with a close friend’s daughter and having children out of wedlock, the ANC Women’s League under the leadership of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, continues to support and admire him?

Our country is crying out for leadership. One despairs when trying to find any real leadership qualities among the present ANC hierarchy.

Cyril Ramaphosa is the obvious choice. His track record as an activist and trade union leader, and his massive contribution in drawing up South Africa’s constitution is impressive. However, his weak-kneed, silent acquiescence of all Zuma’s numerous misdemeanours has tarnished his image.

And does he have the backing of the powerful ANC top structure? I postulate that they would prefer a Xhosa or Zulu to be president.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, despite her scandal-free credentials as a long and loyal servant of the ANC, is the other logical choice and she will have strong support from the powerful feminist lobby. She is a highly accomplished politician, but will those who are strongly anti-Zuma accept another Zuma taking over?

She is on good terms with her ex-husband and they have four children together, so it is inconceivable that she will not be biased when dealing with him as the next president will surely have to do. It is a moot point whether her soft-spoken demeanour will be dynamic enough to provide the strong leadership our robust political scene requires so desperately today.

As for the rest, well, the less said the better.

What a frightening scenario South Africans face: Eskom; the student strikes spiralling out of control; the defence force “invasion” of our city square brandishing rifles, intimidating folk, seemingly with their superior officer’s consent indicating an astonishing lack of control; Julius Malema’s defiance over the “take the land” call, urging people to “just take’ and occupy land.

To top it all, we have a ruling party at loggerheads with itself and in the process of imploding. What an unmitigated mess and if we are not careful our wonderful country will fast slide into anarchy.

If ever there was a time for good men and women from all political persuasions across the colour divide to stand together, to provide a groundswell of folk prepared to collectively speak out, it is now. We can no longer pretend the problems are going to go away, carrying on with our daily activities cosseted behind high walls and electric fences, existing in a false sense of suburban security in the belief that “it can’t happen to me”.

The cost of living is spiralling out of control. Poor folk will soon not be able to buy a loaf of bread.

Will we be facing hunger strikes from starving folk living right on our doorstep? Will we face another Zimbabwean scenario, is your property safe?

Not so if Malema and his followers have their way.

Can you blame the poor? Ask yourself: what would you be doing in their shoes?

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