9 November 2017

South Africa: Book Extract - a Simple Man - Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma

In his latest book, A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma enigma, RONNIE KASRILS, former head of intelligence for Umkhonto weSizwe and senior member of the ANC and SACP attempts to address a question he is repeatedly asked: How did Jacob Zuma, the freedom fighter, a man of the people, transform into a corrupt and disreputable figure? In this extract he reflects on a debate about Zuma at the SACP headquarters in July 2005.

We had gathered at Party headquarters in downtown Johannesburg for a regular executive committee meeting but since insufficient members had turned up the gathering was postponed. While we chatted over coffee, I suggested that instead of dispersing, we discuss the situation that had arisen over Mbeki's recent dismissal of Zuma as the country's deputy president on 14 June 2005.

The disgraced Zuma, who had never disagreed with Mbeki's policies, raised the spectre of a conspiracy against him hatched by "counter-revolutionaries", and his supporters seized that idea with alacrity. Those in the SACP and Cosatu opposed Mbeki on ideological grounds, and although some had personal reasons too, I did not lump them into the same group as those I characterise as crony capitalists. The fact that the...

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