22/03/2017 03:53 SAST | Updated 22/03/2017 03:53 SAST

Jacob Zuma, When Did You Stop Being A Patriot?

Once lauded as a great struggle hero by OR Tambo, we must now ask, what happened to this great patriot?

Indonesian children wave flags to welcome visiting South African President Jacob Zuma at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 8,  2017.
Darren Whiteside / Reuters
Indonesian children wave flags to welcome visiting South African President Jacob Zuma at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 8, 2017.

Shakespeare muses in one of his plays that the good deeds of men are often buried with them but their evils live long after them. This is the fate that has visited President Zuma, his legacy will be of screaming headlines of corruption and less about his contributions to the Codesa negotiations that delivered a democratic South Africa. What I have not asked myself before now was whether his fall from grace was instantaneous or was it gradual,has Jacob Zuma always been as Terror Lekota described him a "Menemene" or as the EFF describes him an "incorrigible constitutional delinquent rotten to the core" ,there a time when he was a fearless freedom fighter ready to pay the ultimate price a cause greater than himself.

We often forget that Jacob Zuma is a freedom fighter through and through, he has paid every price imaginable for the freedom of our country and the liberation of its people. Zuma joined the ANC in 1958, at a time when taking up the organisation's membership immediately made one an enemy of the state and a target for brutal victimisation. Jacob Zuma spent 10 years on Robben Island under unjust incarceration, the injustice of which woul have and indeed did, make some lament their circumstances and begin to question the wisdom of continuing with the struggle against apartheid, for self-preservation reasons,they denounced the freedom struggle and went lead a simple life as a family man but not Jacob Zuma, after his release from the island he went to exile and rejoined Umkhonto WeSizwe, rising through its ranks as a capable, loyal and trusted cadre of the struggle.

Zuma has held numerous important positions inside the ANC, including positions sensitive to the overall liberation struggle of South Africa including Chief of Intelligence and underground structures, he has served in the ANC NEC, political and military councils and the politburo of the ANC amongst other positions, these are positions that could never have been given to a person who displayed signs of being easily corruptible, a person with questionable integrity and certainly not to a "menemene" whose willingness to die with the intelligence of the struggle.

Jacob Zuma's patriotism was therefore not in doubt, his dedication to this country had been established by as great a struggle stalwart as OR Tambo, he was the man Thabo Mbeki prefered to lead the country with. The question then is what happened to that patriotism, what happened to the selfless and patriotic Jacob Zuma.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact date at which we lost Jacob Zuma the patriot and gained Jacob Zuma the gluttonous, self-aggrandising kleptocrat with a religious like zeal for corruption, that is giggling all the way to the bank (or maybe the Nkandla bunker that Adv Madonsela suggested hold millions in hard cash).

It is beyond doubt that Jacob Zuma is no longer the patriot he once was, he has no patriotism left in his body, the man has proven through words and deeds that to him South Africa is not owed his supreme loyalty, he has stated that to him the party comes before the country, this an affront to our constitution which requires the preisdent to promote all that will advance the republic and opposse all that may harm it. If there should ever be a dichotomy between the interests of the country and the interests of that party, a country deserves a president whose patriotism would tilt the scales in favor of the country, Jacob Zuma has said, with his own words that he is not that patriot, to him the party comes before the country.

One then wonders if it is not this lack of patriotism that allows the president to deploy state power to the service of self? That allows the president to lend out his name to be used to unlock the state coffers for ransacking and unashamed looting by rent seekers and an emerging petty-bourgeoisie cabal of microwaved instant billionaires. Only a lack of patriotism would leave the president unmoved when the sanctity of our country's sovereignty is violated to land a private jet for a jamboree. Only a lack of patriotism would see a president allow 17 million South Africans vulnerable be held to ransom in a high stakes war between the ConCourt/Treasury and money grubbing gluttonous fat cats (including his personal lawyer) committed to benefitting from the illegal CPS contract to distribute social grants.

South Africa is not only faced with an incumbent in the highest office in the land that is a "menemene", a "constitutional delinquent", but even sadder, the country has a president that is not patriotic to the country.