/ 11 October 2022

Jacob Zuma and the wonders of modern medicine

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The former president, like Lazarus, is back.


A lot has changed since the last time this keyboard was hammered.

Gauteng has a new premier in the form of Panyaza Lesufi, who didn’t exactly waste time in reshuffling his cabinet and putting his stamp on the provincial government; Dada Morero is now the mayor of Johannesburg, courtesy of another squabble between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and its coalition partners in the city and the lights are — until Eskom boss André de Donker says otherwise — on.

Some things haven’t changed.

Bheki Cele is still the minister of crime scenes; former president Jacob Zuma is back in court — albeit as the prosecutor, rather than the prosecuted — and President Cyril Ramaphosa has given his cabinet colleagues another sweetener — free lights and water, courtesy of the rest of us — just to remind them that the gravy train will keep on running if they vote for him at the ANC’s national conference in December.

Nice, at least for the members of Ramaphosa’s cabinet — and for those who are hoping for a seat at the top table after the December conference — but not so chilled for the rest of us who will, as always, be footing the bill.

It’s bad enough to know that I am paying Nathi Mthethwa’s salary every month — and for his flagpoles, orchestras, blue lights and celebrity spokespeople — but I am now required to pick up the tab for the minister of uselessness’s lights and water.

Thanks, Cyril.

I guess the unlimited free water and electricity is an encouragement, too, for the current opposition, who are eyeing seats in a coalition cabinet after 2024, to get over the line and secure their ministerial salary — if they manage to bring the ANC below 50% of the vote in the national and provincial elections.

Perhaps that’s why the opposition parties have been so quiet about the latest cabinet freebie — there’s been none of the outrage they normally express over mad spending by the government — and have left the complaining to the media and the trade unions.


I was pleased to see the former head of state is over his terminal illness and is feeling better.

Zuma’s doctors — be they from the South African Military Health Service or the department of correctional services — must be tops.

One minute, uBaba was dying, too sick to appear in court for his corruption case; far too frail to stay in jail to serve his 15-month sentence for contempt; a man too old and too ill to face the consequences of his actions.

The next, Zuma is in full 2007 mode, rallying the faithful outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg while he guns for an ANC leadership position — as well as journalist Karyn Maughan and state prosecutor Billy Downer.

Like Lazarus from the Bible, but different.

The wonders of modern medicine never cease to amaze.