Trade union Solidarity today said that Jacob Zuma’s legacy is that of a natural disaster and that Zuma had caused South Africa almost irreparable damage.
“In the eyes of the international world South Africa fell from being the world’s darling to a polecat state as a result of Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy. Under his leadership the South African government smuggled Omar al-Bashir out of the country instead of arresting him. This must be the most unadulterated sign of how low South Africa fell in international esteem,” Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) Head Connie Mulder said.
At the same time, Zuma’s cabinet reshuffles and other appointments he made created extremely high political risk for foreign investors in South Africa. Cessation of investment and the country’s downgrade to junk status serve as the best assessment of the economic damage his presidency wreaked.
According to Mulder, Jacob Zuma and the ANC saw to it that South Africa’s economy stagnated. “During his presidency government just stood by while government debt spiked and unemployment remained stubbornly high. This while virtually every government institution and parastatal has plunged into total disorder due to the appointment of cadres and rent-seekers for whom corruption is commonplace, while the never-ending merry-go-round of appointing Police Commissioners and NPA heads further undermined confidence in South Africa’s justice system,” Mulder said.
Locally, the Zuma era was one of unprecedented polarisation. Zuma set the tone at the 105th ANC conference when he posited that all South Africa’s problems could be attributed to the arrival of white people in 1652. “The upshot of this polarisation has been unprecedented racial tension that often flares up, with a UN committee (ICERD) having expressed concern about government’s rhetoric towards minorities. Against this background Zuma’s Gupta partners paid for Bell Pottinger to incite racial tension in South Africa with Zuma looking on,” Mulder explained.
“Zuma will be remembered as the president who saw himself as king. He regarded South Africa as his personal piggy bank and with his friends he plundered the country. He built himself a palace at Nkandla. He set himself above the law and was repeatedly called to task by the courts. It is poetic justice that his presidency ends in the way it had started – in the form of a humiliating recall by once loyal cadres” Mulder said.