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.
Yet the ANC’s own “Second Transition” document acknowledges that there are worrying signs in the country, which can only be attributable to weak leadership. The documents quote the National Planning Commission’s indicators of “societies in decline” relevant to South Africa today: “rising corruption, weakening of state and civil society institutions, poor economic management, skills and capital flight, politics dominated by short-termism, ethnicity or factionalism, and the lack of maintenance of infrastructure and standards of service.” The implication therefore is that only the ANC is allowed to debate the state of the nation and anyone else who attempts to do so must be beaten into submission. It is a tactic Mantashe’s arch nemesis, Julius Malema, mastered – to insult and ridicule anyone who dares to have a different view. – Ranjeni Munusamy in a Daily Maverick column about the ANC response to remarks made by Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza on the state of the country’s political leadershipBACK TO TOP