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.
It is my contention that the ANC’s leadership crisis is greater at a collective level than it is at individual level. To some extent, the failures of an individual leader can be mitigated by a strong collective. Such a collective can be useful even when an organisation is in the middle of a golden period of leadership because it can defend the membership against the imperious tendencies of a capable and popular leader. We saw an attempt to do this in 2005, when the national executive committee of the ANC called on Zuma and Mbeki to craft a joint solution to what was becoming a bruising battle between their supporters in the months following the axing by Mbeki of Zuma as deputy president of the country. Their failure to craft such a solution precipitated another element of the leadership crisis — the collapse of the leadership collective and the open political warfare that followed. It is in this context that we must understand the battle for Mangaung. – Aubrey Matshiqi in Business DayBACK TO TOP