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.
Either Mr Zuma and his executive are being deliberately obtuse to obscure their real intentions and attitude towards the independence of the judiciary, the doctrine of the separation of powers and the supremacy of the constitution, or the Presidency is in desperate need of advice from an experienced constitutional lawyer. The latter possibility — that Mr Zuma simply does not “get” the constitutional democracy concept and has failed to surround himself with people who do — cannot be excluded, despite the fact that the political party he heads was the primary driver of the process that led to the writing of the constitution. That internationally acclaimed document’s main authors were, and remain, sympathetic towards the freedom struggle and the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) stated goal of transforming SA politically, economically and socially to shed the vestiges of apartheid. There is therefore no shortage of constitutional experts in the tripartite alliance who would be happy to provide guidance on such matters, yet senior party leaders keep making statements that appear to question the core principles on which our democracy is based, and the executive keeps acting in ways that leave the Constitutional Court no choice but to overturn its decisions. – Business Day editorialBACK TO TOP