Believe it or not: Zuma’s new party ‘will not tolerate corruption’

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By Howard Feldman, Synthesis

I am not making this up. I don’t need to. Former president Jacob Zuma has promised that his new political party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK to its friends), will not tolerate corruption.

He stopped short at appointing Schabir Shaik as his minister of Finance. Because if anyone understands corruption it is Zuma’s former partner. Worth recalling is that on 3 March 2009, Shaik was released on medical parole, after serving two years and four months of his 15-year prison term. He continues to miraculously survive his terminal illness. As does Zuma who was also released on these grounds.

Zuma said the MK Party was formed to save South Africa from the mires of Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidency. The former president, who is himself embroiled in protracted corruption scandals, said the MK Party’s job was to “rescue the ANC from the mud that Ramaphosa has put it in.

Whereas Ramaphosa indeed has lead the country’s journey into “the mud,” the emergence of the new political party shortly before a national election, says more about the chaos within the African National Congress than it does about viable political alternatives.

I imagine a Ramaphosa -Zuma standoff will be like watching Sylvester Stallone entering the ring in Rocky XV aided by a Zimmer frame and being reminded to remove his hearing aids before each round.

One of the biggest challenges for South African columnists is what subject to write on. Not because there are too few subjects and issues, but rather because there are too many. We live in a country where the stories write themselves. And where each is more outrageous than the one before.

That said, as a columnist, I am deeply grateful for the ANC and former members because they are indeed the gift that keeps on giving.

I often worder what it must be like to write in a country like New Zealand, where aside from a natural disaster every now and then, nothing happens. Day after day after day. Little scandal, little news. I can’t imagine what people talk around a braai. Perhaps when there is a lull in conversation someone says, “Hey, did you know that Lord of the Rings was filmed here in New Zealand.” And everyone groans and goes back to not talking about the ANC and corruption and the mess they have made of the country.

Or worse, a Scandinavian country where not only does the system work, but where people are said to be the happiest in the world. I imagine them standing around an indoor braai saying, “I can’t believe that it’s only 2 months to morning. Gosh time flies when you are happy.” And then they all turn to look to see nothing but wonder if there is a hint of dawn that is only a few short months away.

We now know how the past year played out, but how will 2024 end. For each of us and for the country. Will we finally see a shift away from the ANC and an injection of new energy, new ideas into an economy that is desperate for assistance? Will we see South Africans finding employment, receiving education and healthcare and being safe on the streets of the country?

Will it be the year that sees the end of the ANC’s hypocrisy, dishonesty, and incompetence?

The reality is that it is in our hands. 2024 is the year that allows us to choose the future. My wish for us all is that the same time next year, columnists will be desperately searching for something to write about, before reminding readers that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand.

Wishing us all a blessed new year.