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.
This is President Jacob Zuma ‘s strange republic at work, a place where politics trumps principle, the reputations of the state and its officers are of little account and where no price is too high to pay for the re-election of Mr Zuma as head of his party this year and of the country in 2014. Is the president laughing at us? The police force leadership is in tatters as his man, Lt-Gen Mdluli, acquires new powers at a dizzying speed — one day it is control over VIP protection (all the police who guard ministers and can thus tell him who they’ve been seeing), the next he becomes the only policeman in the land able to sanction a wire tap. – Business Day editorialBACK TO TOP