13 February 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The African National Congress, the Republic of South Africa's ruling party since the end of apartheid, has decided current president Jacob Zuma must go. The National Executive Committee held a marathon session to consider the situation yesterday, and late last night local time, the NEC called for the president to resign. The vote has no real constitutional standing; a vote of no confidence in the parliament would. The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters has called for one February 22, the day after the budget is to be presented. President Zuma now should go while he still has some dignity.
President Zuma was one of Nelson Mandela's comrades in arms and in prison. His anti-apartheid credentials are beyond dispute. That has never been the issue. The question is whether the revolutionaries can govern in general and whether he has used public office for private gain specifically.
The Associated Press put it this way this morning, "South Africa's top court ruled in 2016 that Zuma violated the constitution after an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state money. A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago."
There are elections in 2019. The Guardian noted, "In 2016 municipal elections, the ANC lost control of the commercial hub of Johannesburg and the administrative capital, Pretoria, for the first time. Observers have warned that if support continues to dwindle, the party faces the possibility of losing its national majority in 2019 and having to govern as part of a coalition."
Quite simply, the ANC can no longer rest on its anti-apartheid laurels. The economy, republic and society have all been under its guidance since Mr. Mandela took office in 1994. People under 30 don't remember white-minority rule. They have only known the ANC's South Africa. Mr. Mandela was clean, although his wife Winnie Mandela may have lined her pockets. His successor, Thabo Mbeki, resigned after the ANC's NEC recalled him after a court decision held that he had improperly interfered with the National Prosecuting Authority. After the care-taker Kgalema Motlanthe, Mr. Zuma arrived, and he has now been asked to leave office.
His likely successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, is the current deputy president. He has had scandals of his own, most recently of a sexual variety and some hush money has been alleged. He claims it is all staged to harm his candidacy, and maybe it is.
South Africa is very different from the US, Germany, Britain and so on, but it is a universal law of democracy that the ruling party is in trouble if the voters are tired of it. In the fifth century BC, the Athenians were voting on exiling Aristides of Lysimachus. The story goes an illiterate peasant approached him and asked that he write Aristides’ name on the ostracon. Aristides, without revealing his identity asked the peasant the reason why he was voting in favor of his exile. The peasant replied, "I don’t even know him, but I am tired of constantly hearing that he is just."
The ANC faces a similar attitude in parts of South Africa, and it may grow. If Mr. Zuma doesn’t go, it will grow faster.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.
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