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 not unusual for powerful political entrepreneurs to launch self-serving, acerbic attacks on the black middle class for daring to comment unfavourably about the ruling elite. It is also common for the same politicians to launch racially charged attacks on so-called white capital while accepting back-handers in the form of lucrative business opportunities from the same purported enemy. They use their proximity to power in the ruling party and the state as a lever to gain access to these opportunities, while fooling the public into believing they are in a war on behalf of the poorer classes. In short, the convergence point of political, business and social interest of the elite is nothing more than a marketplace in which influences get traded for personal gain under the guise of social consensus. This situation is unsustainable and needs to change if this country is to achieve the level of the cohesion required to make great strides in social, scientific and economic development. – Zongezo Zibi in Business DayBACK TO TOP