11 January 2018

South Africa: Jacob Zuma, the James Moroka of Our Time


JS Moroka, unwilling to risk losing both his life and his wealth, decided to turn his back on the ANC and his comrades.

Nelson Mandela, giving his political report at the ANC's 50th National Conference in Mafikeng North West 1997, decided to go off script towards the end. He juxtaposed advice to the newly elected ANC President, Thabo Mbeki, with a warning about the troubled 7th ANC President, JS Moroka.

JS Moroka had taken over as ANC President at a transitional moment of the struggle and had triumphed over a gifted President, AB Xuma. JS Moroka had been more accommodating of the more aggressive approach to the struggle adopted by the Youth League of Mandela and had supported the proposal for the Defiance campaign, which ultimately brought the country into a stand still.

The Defiance campaign inevitably led to the arrest of most ANC leaders, first among these Moroka as ANC President, Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others. When Moroka was arrested, however, his limits as a human being immediately reared their ugly head at the time his leadership was needed most.

By the standards of those days, Moroka was wealthy and the security apparatus thought they could capitalise on this....

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