Former president Jacob Zuma’s early release from jail can be attributed to “incompetence and lack of statecraft” by incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa, according to political expert Prince Mashele.
Mashele expressed these views while discussing Zuma’s release from prison on medical parole during an interview with the SABC on Monday.
He said it was an open secret that certain appointments made in key security institutions were still held by those in support of Zuma, something he labelled as the ‘art of statecraft’, by the former president.
“I do not understand, and I am shocked about president Ramaphosa’s ignorance when it comes to statecraft,” said Mashele.
“Zuma was a smart man when it comes to running the state. He knew how to populate the institutions of state with his supporters and people who do his bidding.
“The way he appointed people into critical positions… people who occupy those positions are still sitting on the parole board, commissioners of prisons, and everyone in the security cluster who is critical in the process that would facilitate the release of someone like Zuma was appointed by Zuma.”
Mashele said that he was doubtful that Zuma was so ill that he could not see through his 15 month sentence for contempt of court, going as far as making an example about Schabir Shaik.
He said that it would not be farfetched to think that certain people were used to influence the decision to grant Zuma medical parole given the nature of circumstances.
Mashele said this all boils down to Ramaphosa’s lack of understanding “statecraft”, and key appointments in State Security positions like that of Arthur Fraser to the commissioner of correctional services, despite his alleged shady links to corruption.
“He (Ramaphosa) didn’t want to throw the man (Fraser) out of the state intelligence. He wanted to keep him close within the state. That was a supposed logic on the part of the president, but it was a terrible mistake to make, because that is a powerful position.”
He explained that Zuma’s parole placed him in a favourable position to continue with his Stalingrad tactics, in further delaying the prosecution in his alleged corruption trial.
“From a logical point of view, remember he (Zuma) did not appear in a court of law because the doctors said he was sick, so when he is released on medical parole it means that he is not capacitated to stand before the court, so he can sit in Nkandla and enjoy a cup of coffee and claim that he is gravely ill. It appears now that he has a legitimate pretence to sit in Nkandla and refuse to appear before court.
“Zuma now has complicated the business of the state and all of this by the way comes back to the competence of the state, and who is the head of the state? It’s our current president Cyril Ramaphosa.”