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OUR TAKE: WRITING’S ON THE WALL FOR ZUMA

Jacob Zuma’s outright refusal to cooperate with the State Capture Commission of Inquiry is irritating even those in his own ranks. His attempt to spin the commission as being part of a plot to undermine him is not gaining much traction. 

Zuma once again refused to appear before the commission this week – and this time, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is mad. Like, really mad. And he’s not the only one. Zondo said he will now ask the Constitutional Court to impose a prison sentence on Zuma. That’s a big step for him.

The Sunday Times reports that the ANC’s top six officials want to meet with Zuma over his refusal to appear. On Thursday, police minister Bheki Cele headed to Nkandla for a chat with Zuma. Officially, Cele isn’t saying why, but speculation is rife that he’s having that conversation with the former president. 

No less than justice minister Ronald Lamola made an impassioned plea for everyone to respect the commission, during a debate in Parliament this week.

According to the Mail & Guardian, he said: “The Zondo commission shows us that democracy is ultimately held together by citizens and civil servants alike, who commit to the rule of law in their daily lives. There are some in our ranks who refuse to let anarchy and the flood-gates of counter-revolution prevail.”

Business Day columnist Natasha Marrian says Zuma is likely to give in and appear at the commission in the end. She says that Zuma’s political capital is “utterly spent” and that despite his efforts to whip up support, no one is really playing ball. Even his support base in KwaZulu-Natal isn’t exactly setting the streets on fire with aggrievement over Zuma’s alleged mistreatment.

That leaves him with a faction of the ANC’s military veterans association for support, a group of suspiciously young cadres strutting about in fake army uniforms They’re not a very powerful, nor convincing bunch. Pics of them elicited mostly laughs on social media. In the absence of any real support, and with the law not on his side, the writing is on the wall. Zuma is the only one who can’t see it. 

The Sunday Times reports that the ANC’s top six officials want to meet with Zuma over his refusal to appear. On Thursday, police minister Bheki Cele headed to Nkandla for a chat with Zuma. Officially, Cele isn’t saying why, but speculation is rife that he’s having that conversation with the former president. 

No less than justice minister Ronald Lamola made an impassioned plea for everyone to respect the commission, during a debate in Parliament this week.

According to the Mail & Guardian, he said: “The Zondo commission shows us that democracy is ultimately held together by citizens and civil servants alike, who commit to the rule of law in their daily lives. There are some in our ranks who refuse to let anarchy and the flood-gates of counter-revolution prevail.”

Business Day columnist Natasha Marrian says Zuma is likely to give in and appear at the commission in the end. She says that Zuma’s political capital is “utterly spent” and that despite his efforts to whip up support, no one is really playing ball. Even his support base in KwaZulu-Natal isn’t exactly setting the streets on fire with aggrievement over Zuma’s alleged mistreatment.

That leaves him with a faction of the ANC’s military veterans association for support, a group of suspiciously young cadres strutting about in fake army uniforms They’re not a very powerful, nor convincing bunch. Pics of them elicited mostly laughs on social media. In the absence of any real support, and with the law not on his side, the writing is on the wall. Zuma is the only one who can’t see it. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 18 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.

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