Letter: Look at Zuma in struggle context

Who to blame for present strife?

The first verse of the song, The living years by Mike and the Mechanics, goes: “Every generation blames the one before, and all of their frustration come beating at your door”.

It then should follow that, with the violent service delivery protests, which include the burning of infrastructure and destruction of national assets, the 1976 to the 1980s generation should shoulder the blame.

They are the precursors of where we find ourselves, but who do you blame for President Jacob Zuma? I cannot find a definite answer.

Suffice to say, he is a mirror of our current society and I will qualify this.

In the context of the previously marginalised, a better life translates to leaving the squalor imposed by the townships for the former white suburbs and taking your children out of the pathetic township schools and placing them in former Model C schools.

Now when your reality changes from township to suburb, surely there should be a fundamental shift in your cash flow and bank balance as where you will be moving to, rates are steep, the school fees are quadruple digits and can even go to five or six.

You cannot hire a person to do your garden and pay him R50, for the law prescribes a minimum wage for those employed in the domestic services sector.

Add on this the “rental fee” you have to pay when you visit your erstwhile neighbourhood to those to whom you are a role model.

Like many, therefore, the president has tasted poverty (and it deprived him of an opportunity to get formal schooling), and he has a good idea of the bitter taste and digestive implications it has.

But Zuma is easy to target for he does not hide the fact that he was a victim of our colonial and apartheid past (as well as post-democracy courtesy of the Scorpions).

In fact he is determined to ensure that for as long as he has the reins, the next generation of the Nxamalala clan does not get the disgusting taste of unmentionables he was forced to ingest. This is precisely what is hypocritical about those who point a finger solely at him.

If Zuma were to resign or to be recalled today or tomorrow, nothing will change other than the reality of those who will be occupying seats of power as well as the loss of by those who are at present at the helm.

His ascendency to power was poisoned from the outset as the campaign around him was based on replacing one person with another and that on its own crafted the path that we are on today.

Now if the hunt is therefore to find a replacement for Zuma, whatever the cost, we will be back to where we are at present. As South Africans we suffer from amnesia and possibly the denial stage of depression.

We must never forget that when Thoko Didiza’s mayoral candidacy was justified, her own comrades told us she was and had been a resident of Tshwane for some time and she had made a living by selling stuff as an informal trader. From cabinet minister to hawker.

Not that there is anything wrong with this, but that on its own should give us a snippet of how comrades who become victors can clinically deal with their own.

I am no fan of Zuma, in fact my personal view is that the ANC would be in an advantageous position if he were to go, as the movement’s machinery would be better used on progressive national democratic revolution-related agenda items.

The struggle therefore still belongs to the poor and marginalised.

Monopoly capital is not necessarily the enemy, but those whose comfort zones are being threatened (including former struggle leaders who have graduated to successful business people).

Little wonder I am yet to be convinced by the Save South Africa movement and what Julius Malema stands for.

I am very optimistic about our country and confident that the current phase that we are in (or is it the second phase of the first transition) is a necessary evil to show the people of Chris Hani informal settlement, Kwa-Nonkqubela, e-Grogro, Helenvale or Silvertown that the change of their reality is not dependent on the size of the stomachs of their leaders, but in their own hands and heads.

In all probability, as it is going to its national general council/consultative conference, the ANC should consider opening a discussion about the reduction of financial incentives for political office bearers to make it unattractive for those not so selfless (as the party’s principles dictate).

Who knows, maybe the civil service will attract the best of minds and not those who will be worried as to whether they are on the right slate and with the axe of recall being dangled on their heads.

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