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.
If the ANC’s critique of liberal democracy was accompanied by attempts to deepen democracy by, for instance, decommodifiying electoral politics and access to the courts, enabling participatory budgeting, supporting independent community media and encouraging independent popular organisation, its position would be credible. But given that its critique of liberal democracy is being accompanied by a shift in power to securocrats rather than popular forces, and repression rather than opening, its opposition to liberal democracy can only be understood as anti-democratic. – Richard Pithouse on the The South African Civil Society Information Service website.BACK TO TOP