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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City

Vote for MK = vote for Putin

Jacob Zuma's ample wealth from Gupta and Putin billions overshadows potential loss of presidential pension.

With billions from the Guptas and from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Jacob Zuma is not dependent on the R3 million a year pension he receives as an ex-president of South Africa.

However, he would forfeit the presidential pension if he were to take up a seat in the National Assembly.

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Therefore, the Constitutional Court ruling that he is ineligible as a candidate in the 29 May elections suits his already ample pocket. It also fits his enduring claim that he is being unfairly treated.

Alas, poor Jacob. The eternal victim is laughing all the way to the bank. He-heh-heh.

The Constitutional Court would not have had to rule in this matter if the Electoral Court had not bizarrely decided Zuma was eligible. The Electoral Court needs closer scrutiny.

How could they get it so wrong? Zuma benefited from an earlier error when his ally, former Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser, granted him medical parole in 2021, shortly after the July riots.

Concern about renewed violence is voiced in a 20 May nine-page Fidelity Business Intelligence report: “The Constitutional Court’s ruling … poses a significant risk of protests. This decision, coupled with Zuma’s strong support base and the historical context of demonstrations related to his legal battles, raises several concerns.

“Zuma’s loyal following, particularly within certain ANC factions and the uMkhonto weSizwe political party, might see the court’s decision as politically motivated, inciting protests.”

Political violence has been rife in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal before, during and after the 2021 riots. Indeed, the SA Local Government Association earlier this year raised the alarm about assassinations of councillors in KZN.

On Monday, the Global Initiative Against Transnational said KZN could become a hotbed of political assassinations after 29 May.

Who benefits from this? What do they aim to achieve? It is possible Russia is still taking an interest.

In a The Citizen column five years ago, I said South Africans should remain concerned about Moscow’s influence.

This was based on an agreement signed in 2014 by Zuma and Putin, for Russia’s Rosatom to build a 9 600MW nuclear fleet in SA.

ALSO READ: Elections 2024: What global elections this year mean for SA

A nuclear deal with SA may still be on Putin’s radar. Russia has a reputation for interfering in elections around the world. The US and China face similar accusations.

Last month, columnist Peter Bruce wrote: “Russian intelligence is working to influence the outcome of the 29 May elections… It is what they do. They may not even be that interested in the immediate result – the goal is to weaken our democracy and the confidence we have in it.”

Bruce writes that pitting Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa against each other “would be perfectly in consonance with the way they operate. They know Zuma won’t win and they won’t care. What they want is confusion and for our constitution to falter”.

Indeed, disdain for our constitutional democratic order was expressed by Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile, on social media platform X on Monday.

She wants MK to achieve a two-thirds majority, “so we can discard Roman-Dutch law and implement African law…” Music to Putin’s ears.

A vote for MK is a vote for Putin.