Jessie and Ace show their hand
Jessie Duarte — predictably — is right on the money in her strident defence of Zuma
They’ve been as rare as whites defending apartheid since Cyril Ramaphosa’s victory at the ANC conference in December, but some are finally coming out of the woodwork.
While Ramaphosa was in Davos saying that President Jacob Zuma was "anxious" about his future and telling world leaders of his plans to turn the country around, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, mounted a sterling defence of the Zuma years in an interview with City Press.
According to Duarte, Zuma was a model president who made a few mistakes, but was hounded by a ravenous, sensationalist media.
"This is one person who has really literally been chased in every possible way. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad, but it’s also our reality.
"It started off with a relationship he had with Schabir Shaik and that resulted in some 700 possible charges. It grew and grew, and it’s been growing ever since," she said.
Duarte said that Zuma had implemented the National Development Plan (NDP) and was not to blame for the economy’s poor performance, which was due to the commodities cycle.
"You don’t talk about the fact that mining companies are closing shafts and, as a consequence, there is a domino effect of jobs being lost."
Zuma had not asked for security upgrades at his Nkandla home but was hounded until he paid up. "He fought at first, but then decided to pay. I do sometimes wonder if we are really living in the real world."
She was backed up by her boss Ace Magashule, who said Zuma had been a "wonderful president".
Duarte is, of course, spot on. Except for the fact that Zuma’s mistakes were not little. And it was the courts that said the charges related to Shaik should be re-imposed. And that it was a public protector and a full bench of the constitutional court that found him wanting on Nkandla. And that other commodity-based economies didn’t tank like ours did. And that he didn’t implement the NDP, which has been gathering dust. And that most of the media — the SABC’s television and radio stations and sycophantic newspapers owned by his supporters — were captured and fawned over him throughout his term.
Other than these few trifles, she is right on the money.