Ismail Mahomed | Treat Zuma like a criminal, not like Cinderella


It’s as much as the Minister of Police to show that South Africa’s jail system has the braveness and integrity to deal with Zuma like a convict as an alternative of a Cinderella-turned-princes, writes Ismail Mahomed.


Ten minutes earlier than the clock struck midnight Jacob Zuma’s basis tweeted that the disgraced former president was on his method to hand himself over to the police to serve his 15-month imprisonment time period.

Whereas it could have been music to many ears, in actuality it’s only a fashionable adaptation of the Cinderella story during which Cinderella tries to hurry again dwelling from the ball earlier than her crystal chariot turns right into a pumpkin. On her approach dwelling, she loses her crystal slipper. The next morning, a captivating prince searches by way of the city for the maiden with the dainty foot who danced with him on the ball. And as quickly as he finds Cinderella, who was jailed-birdied all her life by her ugly sisters, her life adjustments they usually reside fortunately ever after. 

Sadly, Zuma neither has dainty ft, nor can he dance as gracefully as Cinderella. His consort prince, Carl Niehaus, who danced for him all of this previous week at Nkandla, is hardly charming and never very vibrant both. Additionally, there will be no comfortable ending for the nation.

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Zuma has chilly dancing ft, the sort of ft described within the New King James Model of the Bible: “For his or her ft run to evil, and make haste to shed blood (Proverbs 1:16).” This man who, for the perfect a part of his presidency, put his foot in his mouth and danced footloose for nearly a decade, has had one foot in his homestead in Nkandla and the opposite within the South African courts. 

It got here as an enormous shock to him final week when South Africa’s apex court docket, the Constitutional Courtroom, dominated that it was recreation over for the person who performed the a part of Puss in Boots for a lot too lengthy. It was time for this terrible pussy to be in jail for 15 months. The fats pussy who has been rising previous, consuming from the trough like a pig, was not going to go down with a quiet miaauw.

Tremendous-spreader occasion at Nkandla 

He tried to roar like a lion. He stirred up a harmful ball at his Nkandla homestead. He made hordes of people that had turned up at his unmasked ball weak to the cruel coronavirus. He made them dance to the threats of conflict and bloodshed, stirred up by his consort prince, Niehaus, whose daytime job is to be the court docket jester. 

Niehaus acted in whole violation of the Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Act. He also needs to joined Zuma on his method to hand himself over for breaking the Covid-19 lockdown rule guide. Any deaths that may come from the super-spreader ball at Nkandla ought to fall squarely on the shoulders of this prime evil primary.

Like Zuma who leeched off the general public purse for a lot too lengthy, Niehaus additionally has a infamous popularity for leeching off the assets of others to consistently reinvent himself as a related veteran of the wrestle. Jail-birdied with Zuma, Niehaus can have no problem swindling favours from the police guards to swop his and Zuma’s jail menu of pap en boontjies for hen wings and chakalaka.

Zuma’s convicted fraudster buddy, Schabir Shaik, managed to get out of jail after serving lower than three years of his 15-year sentence. It’s fairly possible that Jacob Zuma learn Shaik’s survival notes this previous week, earlier than he launched into his drive to jail final night time. In 2009, Shaik was launched from jail on medical parole amid reviews that he was dying. Eleven years later, he’s nonetheless very a lot alive and so elusive, that not even the coronavirus has been capable of finding him. All the possibilities are that Zuma too shall be out of jail, lengthy earlier than his 15 month-term ends. 

ANC infighting

Zuma’s imprisonment is an albatross on the neck of an ANC that has grow to be fragile and divided. For so long as he’s in jail, the infighting will lower deeper wedges. It’s a value {that a} celebration which has to gear up for elections, can in poor health afford. 

It is a additional legal responsibility for the celebration that various those that toyi-toyied at Nkandla final week, with out their face masks and with out repeatedly sanitising their fingers or social distancing, won’t be round for if the coronavirus was at Nkandla too, dancing to Niehaus’ battle tune. 

The ANC has, for greater than a decade, been taking pictures itself within the foot by protecting up and defending Zuma. Now the celebration strains are divided between those that have bloodstained ft and walked with Zuma to the Gupta compound to steal billions from the general public coffers, and those that weren’t a part of the interior circle and invited to drink chai with the Gupta brothers. They’re those with the small ft who hardly have any actual following.

No one might have expressed it higher than Leonardo da Vinci when he mentioned that the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and artwork. No one is aware of that higher than Zuma. Even with each his ft in jail, the hazard recreation for South Africa is way from over. Zuma won’t have had the artsy ft of a stately statesman in Parliament, however he definitely has the engineering ft of a crafty prison. 

Zuma goes to be a celebrity in jail 

Zuma, greater than possible, walked into his jail cell with inmates cheering his arrival. He’s going to be a celebrity in jail. He’ll obtain particular meals and particular favours. For so long as he eats, his fellow inmates and jail wardens will eat too. A buffalo is a communal animal. It seldom grazes alone. It finds power in its herd and Zuma is a superb herdsman — a numbers gatherer! 

Zuma’s imprisonment is way from an act of justice. It’s merely a sign that our nation has a judicial system that may work when it needs too. A working judicial system that metes out justice is one factor. A police and jail system which has to hold out justice is a completely completely different factor. Our democracy has failed a number of occasions as a result of our policing and jail system is, far too usually, not on the identical aspect of justice. 

Zuma’s jailbird chronicles shall be a litmus take a look at if something goes to alter. It’s as much as the Minister of Police to show that South Africa’s jail system has the braveness and integrity to deal with Zuma, not just like the Cinderella-turned-princess who was as soon as once more sporting the crystal slipper the night time after the ball, however just like the convict underneath whose ft South Africa’s dignity has been trampled on.

ALSO READ: Mbhazima Shilowa | We’re all complicit in trusting the ANC – in the end arriving on the present place

If there may be any redemption to be proven it shouldn’t be about Jacob Zuma stepping out of jail remorsefully, wanting to clean the nation’s ft. It ought to actually be in regards to the ANC drawing up a roster of its members, like Jesse Duarte, Baleka Mbete, Mac Maharaj, Ace Magashule, Angelina Motshekga and the hordes of others, to go to Zuma in his jail cell to clean his ft. It’s them who used their political privilege to make him the silly jailbird that he now could be. 

And whereas they take their activates the roster, they could as effectively take Niehaus with them too to maintain Zuma firm for the subsequent 15 months. 

For the previous 27 years, the ANC has proven that each good chief within the ANC wants both a corrupt charou or an idiotic mlungu to outlive. With Zuma’s erstwhile charou mates, the Guptas, safely counting their billions in Dubai, the ANC may as effectively ship of their final remaining mlungu, Niehaus, who may be capable of bribe the jail wardens to lend him and Zuma a few cents from their petty money bins to purchase ciggies to whereas away the time in jail.

– Ismail Mahomed is a multi-award-winning arts administrator and playwright. He was the director of the Nationwide Arts Pageant and former CEO of the Market Theatre Basis. He at the moment serves because the director of the Centre for Artistic Arts on the College of KwaZulu-Natal. He writes extensively in his private capability on issues in regards to the arts, civil society and social change.

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