By now we are all well aware that president Jacob Zuma (JZ) is at the centre of controversy in the country. Being at the top of the political hierarchy, our president obviously deserves to have top notch security and comfort, but should this be at the public’s expense? It’s no secret that the president’s popularity has suffered a serious knock after the whole Nkandla situation and now requests are being made from him to retire from his position. The future of our president is now in question, but is there even a chance that his resignation will become a reality, or will he continue to rule from his palace?
The Nkandla scandal has captivated vast amounts of attention since it was revealed that a ludicrous amount of public funds were used to upgrade the infamous homestead situated in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. The president has been accused of theft, corruption and ignorance of the poverty that South Africa is plagued with. Public protector, Thuli Madonsela, has recently produced a report that is based on an investigation into the allegations against Zuma. The results? Zuma had unfairly benefited from the upgrades to his private residence and he would have to repay the misused funds.
So, now that it has been confirmed that the homestead is not entirely JZ’s private property, but instead that the taxpayer’s should be credited as shareholders, the question is whether or not Zuma will step down as president. Will the growing pressure cause him to pop or will he be able to keep his cool and repay his people?
Is it realistic to expect Zuma to give up his post by resigning? Looking back to the case of former national commissioner of SAPS, Jackie Selebi, some similarities are noticeable. Both Zuma and Selebi have been accused of corruption – Zuma for misusing public funds and Selebi for being involved in illegal activities. Selebi held the post from 2000 to 2009 until he was charged with corruption.
After being exposed in 2008, he was suspended from the post until he eventually resigned in 2009. Luckily, Selebi had accepted his fate, stepped down from his post and allowed for justice to take place. However, as much as corruption is not a requirement in government, neither is owning up to your corruption charges and some decide to play innocent until they are proven guilty.
Sure, we could give our president the benefit of the doubt and believe that he will repay the misused funds, but with the high levels of corruption preventing the country’s move out of poverty, the country is damaged by the trust issues that exist. Whether Zuma decides to resign or to repay, one thing is for certain, a country needs to be lead by example. Zuma’s next step will be the example our future is built on.
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