A few months ago, author William Gumede described Zuma as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder — a set of traits defined by Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut as “including an exaggerated sense of superiority, a lack of self-awareness about the impact of their behaviour and having a disdain for others, who they devalue to validate their own grandiosity”. These people lack empathy, have a distorted sense of reality and are incapable of seeing anything from anyone else’s perspective. Narcissists like Zuma, Gumede argues, can’t accept responsibility and don’t care if they take down entire countries with them. The events at Nkandla, sadly for Zuma, only reinforced that perspective.
Malema is no innocent victim. But he has been punished for his role in expressing opinion, not in preventing others from having their say. He is punished for saying that Mbeki cares more about Africans than Zuma — not for storming a stage in 2010 to try to bully Justice Minister Jeff Radebe. He is sanctioned for remarks on Botswana that were crass and embarrassing but no threat to democracy in the ANC — not for driving his opponents out of a hall in Limpopo or ignoring a court order in the Eastern Cape. The message is clear: ANC members can bully and bend the rules, as long as they don’t criticise leaders or deviate from policy. This insistence that the problem is not unfair contest but contest itself will worsen the problem. – Steven Friedman in Business DayBACK TO TOP