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.
Nene’s firing sent the disturbing message that the rural barons were dominating the ANC. They have reportedly chosen the heads of the ANC women’s and youth leagues and its KwaZulu Natal leadership — now they could ignore a two-decades-old understanding in the ANC that the credibility of the finance ministry was more important than factional battles. But concern that the Treasury was in the hands of all-conquering patronage politicians united opponents on the left and right because it was clear that economic policy was not at issue, but whether the barons could get their hands on public resources.BACK TO TOP