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.
Having the auditor-general qualify audits due to poor accounting practice or a lack of attention to detail is always cause for concern but, if the political will exists, such things can at least be rectified by introducing new systems or through improved personnel management. The real problems come when governance is so poor that there is simply nothing to audit — where records are not kept, minutes of meetings and decisions are never made, employees are not qualified to do their jobs, and it is not clear who is responsible for anything. Such an environment of zero accountability is ripe for corruption and this is precisely the outcome that has resulted. It is no exaggeration to say that there are entire towns, and critical state departments, that are now in the hands of organised crime syndicates masquerading as public servants. Their sole aim is to loot, and creating a climate of general administrative chaos is an excellent smokescreen. – am Editorial in Business DayBACK TO TOP