By: Clyde Ramalaine
We have learned from the State Capture Commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo that the second appearance of former President Jacob G Zuma will not occur this month as previously communicated. The primary reason for this is because former President Zuma’s attorneys informed the commission that he is ill.
To hear an almost 78 year being ill is not abnormal in any normal society and naturally, news of ill-health would attract degrees of sympathy. However, South Africa with or without a Webb Ellis Rugby World-Cup victory is not a normal society by any stretch of the imagination. May I also irrevocably assert neither is it a nation as is so easily and uncritically claimed by those who define unity essentially in ‘white” led, and controlled sporting codes, namely rugby and cricket.
As with all things in this polarized South African society a 77-year-old, if he is Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, must be faking his health condition. He must be trying to avoid scrutiny and by extension account. The crafted dominant narrative over an elongated period would lead he is simply pretending – another delaying tactic for what they deem justice’s reckoning with him.
Is there any merit to argue that this 77-year-old former liberation fighter, politician and until February 2018 president of South Africa’s health, may, after all, be affected by the ongoing challenges he remains confronted with. Typically, a medical prognosis would confirm the negative effects years of investigations, slander, and challenges if not persecutions may have.
What is indisputable, it was only a matter of time before Zuma’s health would adversely be affected by what he in total was exposed to over an extended period. The record shows Zuma uniquely remains the only ANC politician and former president subjected to a combination of intra-factors that evidence at least 15 years of persecution driven agenda. An agenda that sees former comrades in cahoots with former enemies informed by personal capitalist interest.
Are there any justified reasons for a claim that Zuma is sick? Well, no ANC leader in post-apartheid setting had to contend with more storms, defined in levelled accusations, political assaults, character assassinations, relentless sets of orchestrated campaigns of corruption and threats on his life. No other ANC President ever had colonial and apartheid beneficiaries marched in a call for his/her removal from office.
Zuma is ill, I am almost sure he does not believe it also. Perhaps another dynamic is the fact that in a sense Zuma has spoiled us to assume him having more than the proverbial nine lives. His ever-smiling avuncular attitude saw us spoiled to assume nothing can negatively affect Zuma. Shall we ever forget a time of the Knysna fires, incidentally a time when the then DA Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, was going through a torrid period and how Zuma who equally was facing headwind storms took the time to ask her how she was doing? She was stunned by his interest in her well-being when he was taken to the political gallows by a slew of motions of no confidence understood in impeachment.
Zille would remark, at a personal level, the Prez is empathetic and charming. As we walked through the ash and ruins he asked me how I was bearing up personally. [sic] Unfortunately this favour is not returned, it appears no one cares how he is doing, and all that is looked for is the sealing of his fate with a guilty verdict.
We know that no judge presiding over any of Zuma’s cases, in particular, the claimed arms deal case, could ever claim innocence of knowledge as to Zuma being guilty. That part the media has diligently directed by the media. He thus never can have a fair trial.
I would postulate he may have overestimated his strength, not appreciating his actual age and the battles he already had fought. He remains currently embroiled in a slew of court-cases, you can’t help but assume all engineered to make him pay as the face of the rehearsed hokum argument of state capture. He is touted as the hallowed prize to be incarcerated. South Africans are duped to believe the country will be best served if a court of law can rule against him in a verdict of guilty.
It would make for interesting reading to hear physicians and psychologists share their take with Jacob G Zuma as the case study for how much an individual in public life can endure before the physiological impacts claim its prize. I have earlier in the week advanced that the South African society and victims of apartheid, including ANC politicians and leaders, since 1992 never were debriefed and may all be damaged at a mental level. We are a broken society in so many ways and nowhere do we see it more than with our politicians.
Zuma is ill, would you not have been? No politician has had to endure more insult and daily abuse since the rules simply do not apply if it’s Zuma. While all others are innocent until proven guilty, Zuma is guilty until proven innocent. This thought could make the average person sick. In the ANC and SA, all others can be compromised in a glaring need for questioning, yet they are naturally given a free-pass, while Zuma is not deserving of any free pass. When all former presidents in the names of their wives and friends amassed massive family wealth, Zuma is singled out for corruption without anyone asking others to explain how their spouses and family members and close friends became wealthy from political proximity.
Can we remember the crafted narrative that was peddled that his term must abruptly end in February 2018, because the country will do better once he is gone? We do not need to remind anyone that South-Africa on all fronts defining life for the poor is today worse off than any other time under Zuma’s leadership.
Some now know that SA’s problems are much more complex, intricate, vested in buffer-zone identities and hyperbolic than on surface-level assumed. I will let the current unemployment, intransigent economy, the general state of South Africa’s SOE’s and an incremental debt outlook speak for itself. Consensus leads we may have just lived through almost two years of a deepening crisis, despite the advanced economic saviours crafted as not corrupt.
According to renown economist Duma Gqubule, ”the number of unemployed South Africans has increased by 1.1 million people since Ramaphosa became president.”Yet, the focus is that Zuma must go to jail by any means possible.
We also know that the current leaders simply fail to own up, and are taking cheap comfort in blaming the Zuma era with state capture as their joystick.
If Zuma is ill, it is the second time in the history of his political life and leadership that we learn of sickness on his part as announced. The first time we read of him being ill and treated in Russia, it was when there was a claim that he was poisoned. I know of this, since the former president in a one-on-one meeting on August 14, 2017, at Luthuli House shared this experience, if not an ordeal, of his ill-health of that time.
I would hope that this time his health condition is not again because, or related to that unfortunate situation he was subjected to that details poisoning.
I do recall, his question to me in our maiden meeting: “Bishop why is it that when we Christians differ politically we forget we are still sharing the same faith?”; these words reverberated in my soul for an elongated period until I penned a piece engaging those of the Christian Faith, of whom I am one, with this question as to a premise. I, therefore, hold no hope that any of the fraternity of vocal clergy, recognized and established church structures that so adamantly played their questionable roles in his political removal would have hitherto called to find how the former president was doing, many of those who have made themselves sworn enemies, and is on record for their stance. They remain as polluted, not to remember he is a professing Christian like all of them.
Zuma is ill, what did we expect; did we think he is not human? Upon hearing this news, my family and I remembered to pray for this 77-year imperfect one, who in so many ways mirrors the dividing line of this society. I pray him good health yet above all I pray his much longer walk to freedom comes to an end when the real agenda that pits him an ANC and SA liability is unveiled for its true shape and size as it’s gradually unfolding. Who said the fight for true freedom (political and economic), will not make some of us ill when we want to complain may we never forget some died for the very same cause?
I hope you know Zuma is ill, and his ill-health is not natural.