Politics and government

Writing about the ANC's perspective on power

More equal than others

The ANC’s response to the Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla controversy highlights its twisted perspective on its position as ruling party. I had to express my outrage and did it on Medium in an article titled “More equal than others“. Here is how it begins:

If you have paid much attention to the ANC’s responses to controversies it has been embroiled in (usually due to its leader and current South African President, Jacob Zuma), it should be pretty clear to you that, with the ruling party’s reaction to the Public Protector’s report on the president’s Nkandla compound development, the ANC has left our reality and its claim to power seems to be based on a modern version of the ancient Divine Right of Kings.

Politics and government

The President's relationship with the truth

President Jacob Zuma at The New Age breakfast briefing, 14 Feb 2014

Pierre De Vos’ post titled In the age of consent, the buck stops with Number One is a typically lucid explanation why President Zuma’s contention that he was largely in the dark about (and perhaps shouldn’t even have known about) the upgrades to his Nkandla estate has “an adventurous relationship to the truth”.

De Vos explains why, both as President and Nkandla’s owner, he is ultimately responsible for the upgrades as well as the costs involved.

Whether you therefore invoke the secret Cabinet decree (which is overridden by the National Key Points Act) or whether you rely on the National Key Points Act itself – as would be legally correct – the golden thread that runs through these provisions is that any security upgrades at President Zuma’s Nkandla homestead could only have happened with the knowledge and consent of President Zuma himself.

The post is definitely worth reading, both for De Vos’ terrific choices of language and for his explanations of the legal and constitutional issues which can seem so complicated from the news reports and government rhetoric.

People Politics and government

His Majesty, Jacob Zuma's new palace

Khaya Dlanga has a terrific post in Mail & Guardian today about President Zuma’s newly revamped and extremely controversial residence. He has a good point, let’s just called it a Palace and be done with it. It’s where we are heading anyway, aren’t we? To an imperial presidency under the guise of a democratic, revolutionalry, cadre infested movement?

There came a time in the most powerful and wealthiest land south of the equator, on a great landmass known as Africa, where a powerful ruler came to sit upon the iron throne to reign over the people. The one who sat on the throne also ruled over nine other realms, some of them called the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Gauteng. He was a very delightful chap. He liked to sing and dance and the people liked this. He had many wonderful children from a few wives. In his third year on the throne of the most powerful country on his continent, there was a massive outcry in his land.