Jacob Zuma has resigned as President of South Africa, ending almost 9 years rule by a corrupt demagogue accused of rape, lists of corruption allegations and the destruction of our economy. As was to be expected, South Africans are cheering for what must seem to be the end of woe. Good times will begin, but as you were probably expecting me to say (if you have read any of my articles) – not really.
I’m often accused of being too negative. I really wish I wasn’t. I don’t try to be negative. I just look at the world, at history and at the likelihood of events based on relevant factors and probability. More often than not, the outcome is negative.
Zuma is not the reason for South Africa’s plight. We were suffering for much longer than his tenure. We will continue to suffer, so long as we blame South Africa’s problems on personalities and not on the real culprit: ideology.
Zuma is a symptom of a greater disease. The cure isn’t to push him into resigning and then pretend that we’re the Rainbow Nation again. All that accomplishes is letting our statist, good-for-nothing parties run amok without any serious consideration for South Africa’s real problems.
I dare say that Zuma was good for South Africa. He gave us, at least, some sort of focus. The wrong focus, but at least it was in the right direction.
For a while, South Africans knew that something was seriously wrong in this country. We had an (alleged) rapist in the presidency. It became common knowledge that organised crime and corrupt business owned our government.
Many South Africans knew at least some semblance of the truth – that our government, and government in general, is shit.
Of course, South Africans got a lot of stuff wrong. They thought Zuma was an idiot. They ignored his cunning. His experience as an operator and a man who would not be meddled with. Jacob Zuma was a political genius. In a way, I’m disappointed with him. I expected more of the man. But it seems his age has caught up with him and he decided to go out with a little more of a whimper. But maybe I’m wrong. He hasn’t been convicted, yet. This may be the grand exit strategy, disguised as a concession. I wouldn’t put it past him.
The big thing South Africans got wrong, and are still getting wrong, is that Zuma is the problem. They see Cyril Ramaphosa and think the derelict yes-man can deliver this diseased nation to glory. I’m not sorry to say that this is delusional.
Ramaphosa isn’t the cure. He’s a part of the problem. Rather than being the medicine of the Zuma-virus, he’s a new strain.
He’s a strain of the virus that is South Africa – a country run by organised criminals, populated by violent criminals and awash with an ideology that glorifies looting and violence.
South Africa fails because we put so much power in the hands of one individual. Not only political power, but through the idea that a single person can be blamed for everything wrong in this deeply troubled country.
Zuma is gone. But South Africa’s toxicity remains. Its lack of knowledge of recent history. Its complacency. Its tolerance of violence and looting. South Africa has lost a dictator, but it is still a tyranny.
Until we realise that, South Africa will continue to be nothing more than a mistake.