Does the severe public criticism President Jacob Zuma constantly faces affect his psyche at all? Is his (literally) laughing it all off sincere or merely a way to seem strong when inside he’s struggling; like most mortals would? Is he bothered by being called a “broken man” to his face, like Mmusi Maimane did on Tuesday during the Sona debate?
What is going through his head?
“During his rape trial he was definitely more rattled than he is now,” says Jacob Zuma’s former aide and Associate Editor of The Daily Maverick Ranjeni Munusamy. “By the time of his corruption trial he was more confident of his defence and didn’t show signs of nervousness or panic.
“After the events of last August, and what’s happening now in Parliament, signs of strain are beginning to show. Stinging rebukes by Julius Malema but, particularly Mmusi Maimane, will definitely have an impact on him,” says Munusamy.
Does Jacob Zuma genuinely think he did nothing wrong?
Munusamy thinks Jacob Zuma sincerely believes he did nothing wrong regarding his homestead in Nkandla and honestly believes the criticism concerning it is misplaced.
“However, Mmusi Maimane’s speech in Parliament – saying Jacob Zuma is a broken man presiding over a broken society - was about much more than Nkandla,” says Munusamy.
Munusamy says that Jacob Zuma relished his popularity and enjoyed the adulation back when he became the President. “You can see in the way he works a crowd that he enjoys being popular; he loves it! So the barrage of criticism coming at him constantly must sting him.
“Jacob Zuma will not open his eyes to people’s criticism,” says Munusamy. “It’s up to the ANC to call him to order and force him to apologise.”
Listen to the audio (below tweet) for more detail or watch the video below that (Jacob Zuma's laughter comes up at 0:49).