In this piece by Stephen Mulholland, the author questions the president’s suitability for his position …

(Article by Stephen Mulholland first published on Politicsweb.co.za)

South Africa can have produced few more shameless individuals than the current president, Jacob Zuma.

The man is without morals, scruples or a conscience. He is unable, or unwilling, to distinguish between right and wrong and does only what might serve his personal interests, and those who themselves serve his interests in return for his patrimony.

He is a disgrace to his own noble people, the Zulus, brave and admirable warriors down the ages, loyal to their hereditary kings and chiefs, reverent of their elders; respectful of those they meet, greeting all courteously, with the younger always deferring to the elder.

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And he is a traitor to the ancient and honourable role of Zulu chiefs and headmen in dispensing justice and resolving conflicts. With his background it is doubtful indeed if any self-respecting traditional judicial body would countenance his participation in their matters.

He is a traitor to the ancient and honourable role of Zulu chiefs and headmen in dispensing justice and resolving conflicts.

Lack of principles

This is the person who saw fit to impregnate the daughter of a close friend, notwithstanding the fast that he already had four wives and an estimated 20 children. In criticising the media for revealing his extramarital affair, and there were certainly others, he had the temerity to raise the Constitution which, as is well known, he was recently found by the highest court in the land to have violated. And, of course he has recently been insulting of our courts and our system of law.

This is what this serial philanderer, liar, corruptor, corruptee and critic of our courts and legal system, said: “Our Constitution and our laws require us to protect children from harmful public exposure. The Constitution states that it is inappropriate to place at risk, the child’s well-being, physical or mental health, spiritual, moral or social development.”

Hear, hear Mr President, let us all honour the Constitution and obey the law

He is a busy fellow, our Jacob Zuma. On another occasion he was up on a charge of raping a young woman, a family friend who called him “uncle”. This beacon of morality claimed in court that he had been seduced in his own bed by the young woman, a lesbian, and had had unprotected sex with her despite knowing her HIV status. He had simply taken a shower afterwards to minimise the risk of infection.

As is well known, Zuma was found, ipso facto, to have been in a corrupt relationship with his benefactor, Shabir Schaik, escaping prosecution on a dubious technicality that there had been political interference in the case. Large sums of money were involved, Zuma scuttled off to Mauritius, a tax haven used by the French arms supplier Thales, a substantial Zuma benefactor, to seek material for his defence.

783 Charges laid against him

To this day he has more than 783 charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and so on hanging over his head.

To this day he has more than 783 charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and so on hanging over his head. Millions are involved raising the issue of tax on these financial transactions, either donations tax on the donor or income tax on the recipient.

And then, following the disclosures out of Panama and the firing of the Guptas by our major banks, we have the very real prospect that corruption players such as Zuma has been portrayed might well be victims of disclosure and account closures by their banks.

Over the weekend Ryk van Niekerk wrote in The Citizen: “The bold steps taken by commercial banks to close or freeze the bank accounts of Oakbay Resources and other businesses owned by the Gupta family may have big implications for other highflying individuals – including…Zuma and his family.”

As Van Niekerk points out, all this flows from the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) which, in turn, is a creature of the international Financial Action Task Force, endorsed by the UN and 30 countries “to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the international financial system.”

One doubts if there is a statute of limitations here

Thus, the case built against Zuma by the state in the indictment in the Shaik bribery matter is apposite.

In their penetrating work on the infamous arms deal, The Devil in the Detail, Holden and Van Vuuren refer to “…an extensive report identifies 783 payments “from Shaik to Zuma totalling R4 072 499.85 by July 2005 ranging from sums such as R400 000 allegedly transferred from Kobitech (a Shaik company) to Development Africa (the company paying for Zuma’s Nkandla property, to more mundane payments such as R140 for Zuma’s petrol in April 2000.”

R140 for petrol. Wow! Kyk hoe lyk hy nou. His presidential salary is some R2.5 million (highest in the world in proportion to GDP). He lives for free on a grand scale, doesn’t move except in vast armoured cars with an army of 40 security guards, flips across to Moscow to compare notes with Vladimir Putin, in a luxurious private jet, while taxpayers bear the further burden of millions of rands in legal fees to protect him from justice.

And he has a private home recently upgraded at a cost of a quarter of a billion rands to which he can retire once he has arranged amnesty with his grateful successor.

What boggles the mind is that the African National Congress insisted – and insists to this day, in the face of all the evidence published and never denied – that Zuma is an appropriate person to occupy the highest political position in the land.

“President Jacob Zuma and the ANC were deep in the pockets of French arms giant Thales.”

They ignored, for example, a damning expose in the Sunday Times in September, 2014 which opened with this introduction:

“President Jacob Zuma and the ANC were deep in the pockets of French arms giant Thales. This is according to explosive documents obtained exclusively by the Sunday Times that reveal how Thales fixer Ajay Sooklal allegedly arranged flights, fancy clothes, legal fees and lavish hotel stays in Europe for Zuma when he faced corruption charges linked to the arms deal.”

The Sunday Times added: “Thales’s South African subsidiary Thint won a R2.6-billion contract in 1997 to fit four new navy frigates with combat suites. The documents are transcripts of testimony given under oath before retired Judge Phillip Levinsohn at confidential arbitration hearings held earlier this year in a fee dispute between Sooklal and Thales.

“The transcripts expose for the first time that:

“Zuma used the code words “Eiffel Tower” to accept a R500 000-a-year bribe from Thales in return for political protection in the arms deal probe and to secure future business;

“Thales gave former ANC treasurer Mendi Msimang a cheque for €1-million (about R14-million at today’s rates) in April 2006 to be paid from a secret Dubai account into an “ANC-aligned trust” shortly before the company was due to stand trial for corruption with Zuma;

“Thales furiously lobbied ANC officials including former president Thabo Mbeki, former justice minister Penuell Maduna, former secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe and Msimang to be let off the hook, even enlisting the help of French president Jacques Chirac; and Thales bankrolled Zuma and Sooklal to fly around the world and meet witnesses who could help the ANC president in his forthcoming corruption trial, even when they were unrelated to Thales.

“As deputy president and head of government business at the time, Zuma was also expected to promote the French arms and electronic company’s future business ventures in South Africa in return for his alleged bribe.”

Dubai seems to occupy a curious place in all of this, including as a refuge for the Guptas and, of course, that laughable fellow, David (Des) van Rooyen, now minister of something or other and formerly, and very briefly, Minister of Finance.

Van Rooyen recently took what he claimed was a one-day holiday to Dubai (tell that to the marines). Obviously he went there to consult on Zuma’s behalf with the Guptas, the far richer and more ambitious Zuma benefactors than Shaik, who now plays regular golf after some Durban doctor certified that he was at death’s door so that he could be released from prison, a fate which Zuma, thanks to some legal sleight of hand, managed to avoid.

One must admit to a sort of reluctant admiration for Zuma, a real India rubber man, who survives against all the odds. One can only conclude that he has so much dirt on so many people and so many people are dependent on his generosity with taxpayers’ funds that he is inviolable.

Our great Madiba must be turning in his grave.