News | Opinion
May we have learned more than we have lost.
From the northern to the southern hemisphere, the lessons, although different, have such vast similarities they are almost impossible to ignore.
Who would have thought that South Africa and the US could be put in a parallel comparison, on a political scale, even?
In 2009, SA took a liking to Jacob Zuma. The feminists and conservative pockets of the population opposed it, but he rose to power for two terms as head of state.
Today, he has fallen from grace.
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In 2017, Donald Trump rises to power in the US. Both these men’s predecessors commanded undeniable intellectual and leadership skills, yet they were succeeded by Trump and Zuma.
Fast-forward to 2021, Trump has legal woes.
He may have been acquitted in a Senate vote that fell short of the required majority to secure a conviction for inciting the 6 January Capitol assault, but he may have other mounting legal woes, including a criminal investigation into his tax affairs.
The sun did not set peacefully on his presidency and his call to make “America great again” is overshadowed by the wrongdoing that will be his legacy.
Nkandla came under a spotlight, the state was sold to the highest bidder and looting and corruption in the Zuma years came to the fore.
The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was appointed by the president in 2018 – the year Zuma’s presidency ended, but published in the Government Gazette during his tenure.
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Now that he is ordered to appear before it, he calls into question its conduct and the people on the commission.
Again, if ever there was any good, it is diminished by the bad.
And so we are forced to ask ourselves: how did these two men rise to power? Were we so blind that we let charisma preside over political intelligence and ability?
The White House is still the US Capitol, yet in Mar-a-Lago a leader resides.
Mahlamba Ndlopfu is SA’s official presidential residence, but a disruptive power seems to be gaining momentum in Nkandla.
May we learn that charisma in power can be a dangerous tool.
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