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.
I obviously don’t know whether in fact there is a plan to slap Ramaphosa aside, say after he has helped the ANC to victory in 2014. However, I would be entirely unsurprised; just as I would be unsurprised if we are witnessing such a “slapping aside” of Zwelinzima Vavi. What do Zuma, Zuma and Sisulu have in common that they don’t share with Vavi and Ramaphosa? The first three were immersed in the exile and prison culture of the ANC, of the bitter war of survival, where myriad decisions were made in the deepest secrecy and then defended with one’s life and sometimes with the lives of others. These were decisions of war councils and political military committees and often dealt in life and death, and routinely involved breaking many laws that had nothing do with Apartheid and political repression. When you have stood together in such an enterprise and never baulked and you’ve kept the faith – you might be trusted with the undoubtedly distasteful task of keeping ex-president Jacob Zuma safe from prosecution – “For the Movement comrade, for our country”. – Nic BorainBACK TO TOP