Open letter to President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has an amazing ability to interact with ordinary people, but this has not been enough to prove his worthiness as head of state, says TS Mosetlhi.

President Jacob Zuma has an amazing ability to interact with ordinary people, but this has not been enough to prove his worthiness as head of state, says TS Mosetlhi.

I had high hopes when you became president. I saw the dream of a good life for the poor becoming a reality. Your ability to interact with the ordinary people is amazing.
Little did I know about your quest for the Zuma Empire. Even when the Nkandla saga came to the fore, I still believed in you.

The security upgrades in your Nkandla homestead cost taxpayers a whopping R245-million. The figure is beyond imagination and defies all logic. The outcome of the investigation by former public protector Thuli Madonsela revealed that there were improvements and additions to your homestead which included non-security related additions such as an amphitheatre, chicken run, cattle kraal, swimming pool, etc.

The public protector, inter alia, ordered remedial action to the effect that you compensate the state some of the costs on non-security features; the auditor general concurred. The opposition parties in Parliament demanded that you act on the public protector’s required remedial action.

You, together with your surrogates in Parliament, hurled insults to the honourable members of the opposition. You appointed a bogus Parliamentary commission headed by Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko.

The so-called commission exonerated you from any liability to make any payment. This was not unexpected. After all, Nathi Nhleko is a minister employed in your Cabinet. ANC parliamentarians who, like yourself Mr president, are bankrupt in ethics and values, voted to adopt the Nhleko report.

While you were singing and dancing and mocking your detractors, there was one thing you and your advisers overlooked which to this day haunts you. You failed to take the report to the relevant court for a review. Instead you wasted taxpayers’ monies on the bogus commission of Nhleko.

In the meantime, the requisite period of 180 days expired. The Economic Freedom Fighters pounced and launched a Constitutional Court action to establish the enforceability of the public protector’s recommended remedial action.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) also launched a parallel action. This led to a landmark judgment by the Constitutional Court, which found that in not obeying the public protector’s remedial action, you violated the oath of your oversight.

Parliament, on the other hand, was found to have failed in exercising its oversight role over the executive, in particular the Presidency. ANC members in Parliament failed again and again to observe the oath of their office but, instead, they served the best interest of their master - Luthuli House. 

Mr President, you on your own publicly apologised to the nation for violating the Constitution, lamenting the lack of understanding it as a reason. It is possibly not true that you did not understand the Constitution or the oath of your office. To remind you, you took the oath of office nine times when you assumed the following positions:

  • Member of the legislature in KwaZulu-Natal (1994)
  • MEC of economic affairs in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature (1994)
  • Member of Parliament in the national government (1999, 2004, 2009, 2014)
  • Deputy president of the Republic of South Africa (1999)
  • President of the Republic of South Africa (2009, 2014)

This is an illustrative history of your service in the legislature, Parliament and Cabinet. And yet, after the Court ruling on Nkandla, you conceded that you did not know that you were in violation of the oath of your office and the Constitution when you bluntly refused to act on the directive of the office of the public protector.

A man of your experience and exposure in government should have known to resign immediately after the “Nkandlagate” ruling was handed down. You should take the cue from the 1977 information scandal, the exposure of which led to the resignation of then Prime Minister John Vorster.

Another example is your predecessor, former President Thabo Mbeki, who immediately responded on calls for him to step down by tendering his resignation to Parliament. This helped avoid a national outburst on spy tapes, which to this day continue to haunt you.

On the State of Capture report, you tried to institute a court action to interdict its release. But the Helen Suzman Foundation and some opposition parties applied to the High Court to take part in opposing your application.

The court ruled in their favour, saying the State of Capture report be released the same day. That aborted your efforts to frustrate the efforts to issue the report. What was it in the report that you did not want the nation to know?

You interview with Madonsela clearly displays your evasiveness and avoidance to answer simple questions such as:

  • Why did you remove Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and appoint Des van Rooyen in his place?
  • Did you visit the Guptas’ compound?

The State of Capture report, Mr President, clearly shows that you are indeed a puppet of the Guptas, along with your cronies such as Brian Molefe, Collen Maine and a host others whose hands were greased by the Guptas.

Exposing our state to the family for their own selfish gain amounts to an abuse of the trust of the electorate, who voted you in office. You do not care about the country and its inhabitants, and have broken the Code of Ethics of governance.

Through you, the Guptas influenced government departments and some state-owned enterprises. They gained lucrative deals but treasury turned to be a stumbling block. As a result, you tried recently to remove Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan through the charges manufactured by the Hawks and cooked by Shaun Abrahams, head of the National Prosecuting Authority.

That evoked strong reaction from the legal fraternity and broader society, forcing your man to retreat and withdraw the charges. Mr President, you are manipulative and deceptive and behave more like a taxi association boss.

You are not worthy of the honour of occupying high office. Do what is best for this country: resign regardless of what happens afterwards. After all, you are not afraid of the prison.

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