I wasn’t too sure whether to laugh or cry this past week when the ANC leapt to the defence of serial absentee accused Jacob Zuma, describing him as a ‘law abiding citizen who has consistently respected the courts’.

This was after JZ failed once again to take advantage of the day in court he previously assured us that he was so looking forward to and, instead, sent his legal team along with a scrap of paper purporting to be from 1 Military Hospital and signed by a Dr Z K Motene.

News24 did a bit of digging and came up with a photograph of Doc Motene with JZ, taken in 2014. My word, he’s a huge chap and poor JZ looks like a pygmy next to him. He is precisely the sort of chap you wouldn’t want to pick an argument with, which is presumably why JZ got him to sign a medical certificate excusing him from the judicial process yet again.

The reason that the good doctor gave for JZ’s non-appearance was ‘medical condition’, although this appeared in a space on the scrap of paper under the heading ‘Layman’s diagnosis (with consent of patient)’. 

So it could well have been a self-diagnosis by JZ which simply had to be countersigned by Doc Motene who, after a thorough examination of his patient, would have come to the same conclusion that he was suffering from a medical condition.

According to media reports, Doc Motene no longer works at 1 Military Hospital but has been elevated to working at ‘the highest level of national leadership’. Let us hope for the sake of our beloved leaders that his future diagnoses are rather more specific than ‘medical condition’. How embarrassing it would be, for example, to have a leg amputated when all one was suffering from was a mild case of coronavirus.

Not surprisingly, both the prosecuting counsel and Judge Dhaya Pillay thought the whole sick note business a complete sham and their doubts were widely shared by fellow South Africans and all the media.

In fact, by everybody it seems except the ANC who issued that patently absurd statement that the former president and looter in chief of the SA fiscus is ‘a law abiding citizen’. You have to wonder what these people are smoking and whether they are mentally competent to run a spaza shop let alone a country. I did take the trouble to look up the phrase ‘pathological liar’ and can happily report that it is indeed a medical condition or, to put it more prosaically, a mental disorder. So what we have here is a group of pathological liars defending an individual pathological liar.

One of the classic defences the ANC have employed over the past two decades when caught with their grubby fingers deep in the cookie jar is ‘lie and deny’. Even when the evidence against them is overwhelming they will stick with the lie-and-deny strategy in the hope that their accusers will simply tire and give up. This has worked remarkably well for them over time and, as CNN’s Richard Quest noted, nobody has yet gone to jail over the alleged state capture despite what appears to be strong evidence of wrongdoing.

Another advantage of the ANC’s lie-and-deny strategy is that it buys them time to whip up the support of the rabble by claiming that they are being unjustly punished because of complexion prejudice and, anyway, all this legal palaver is just another nasty hangover from colonial days. Who says a big cheese in the ANC can’t help him or herself to whatever spoils are available? The poor have been waiting for 25 years for a better life, so surely a few more years isn’t going to hurt them.

The tragedy of a well-reported comment from the ANC that JZ is a good egg and definitely a ‘law abiding citizen’ is that it is allowed to stand and go unchallenged by those who purport to be leading the party. Why didn’t Cyril step in swiftly to say that this was definitely not the ANC view? And if it is the ANC view, why are they pissing so much taxpayer money against the wall with the long-running Zondo commission? If there really is a belief within the ruling party that JZ has broken no laws then why do we find ourselves where we do as a nation;  viz: up shit creek without a paddle?

Anthea Jeffery wrote a very sobering piece last week (‘Don’t think it can’t happen to you’) warning of complacency as an increasingly desperate ANC find themselves with their backs to the wall and resort to economically destructive policies to cling to power. The best comparison I can think of, albeit a slightly abstract one, is with motor shows.

At a motor show, a vehicle manufacturer will often display what is known as a concept car. This is a glimpse of the future and is not a model that is intended to go into production immediately. It’s simply a sign of things to come and it’s quite likely that a few years down the line some of the features of the concept car will have been adapted to a production model. One thinks of dashboard design, for example, and how the futuristic minimalist concept car designs of 10-15 years are now a standard feature in many production cars.

Our own equivalent of concept cars is concept countries as a sign of things to come. The almighty, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has already given us Zimbabwe as a warning as to what happens when a power-crazed despot takes charge and decides to redistribute the economy among his close cronies. Unfortunately we seem to be slow learners in SA, so the same benevolent deity has given us Venezuela as a further example of the general misery that results when corrupt and incompetent buffoons hijack a country.

All the signs are there for us to see and unless we do something to save this country we will inevitably go the same way as Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Particularly if we have a ruling party who insist that the man responsible for our current disastrous predicament is a ‘law abiding citizen’.

[Picture: World Economic Forum www.weforum.org/Eric Miller, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7019698]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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