Former Intelligence operative and Minister Ronnie Kasrils recently released a book that gives interesting insights into President Jacob Zuma.
Titled, A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma, the book explores the tumultuous years that saw Zuma overthrow and replace Thabo Mbeki, the ‘state capture’ report, his relationship with the Guptas and much more.
While the book is called a "A Simple Man", Kasrils says that Zuma is more than that. He says Zuma has an enchanting enigma that draws people in, something that aids his quest for power. This quest is something Kasrils believes Zuma craved since childhood, throughout his exile into his presidency.
Kasrils says when you look closely enough, you begin to see through Zuma, but it is his charm that gets people, including powerful and intelligent people hooked.
Zuma is a riddle to man people, to everyone to start off with, because there is this very engaging, charming persona. But then you begin to think, there's something strange, there is a puzzle within this man - and that is where the enigma factor is.— Ronnie Kasrils, Former Intelligence operative and Minister
There is a belief that Zuma is a symptom of of a larger problem within the ANC and that his presidency arose out of Thabo Mbeki's reign. While Kasrils says there are elements of this, but Zuma dealings are a clear distinguishing factor.
Kasrils likens Zuma's dealing to the Faustian pact, where one sells their soul to the devils disciple Mephistopheles for power.
Zuma is the Faustian to the Mephistophelian Gupta brothers.— Ronnie Kasrils, Former Intelligence operative and Minister
While Kasrils says that both Nelson Mandela and Mbeki also compromised during their presidencies and negatively effected the country in some form or another, Zuma's compromises takes things to a different level.
I don’t believe that their compromise or Faustian pact was this deliberate one with Zuma sitting down, say with the Guptas, and they say 'Mr Zuma, you must put so and so with the treasury, so and so in energy and so and so in intelligence' and he says 'yes sir, what do I get?'— Ronnie Kasrils, Former Intelligence operative and Minister
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on 702 : "Zuma's ambition and charm helped him rise to power" - Kasrils