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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma eschews books. Which is unfortunate because if he paid them more attention, he’d be able to learn much from the icons of his trade. Like the US’s greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, who is credited with the wisdom that it is “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Zuma’s insistence that he was right to catapult backbencher Des van Rooyen into the Finance Ministry is embarrassing. Up there with his awful off-script rendition the night he fired Van Rooyen’s predecessor Nhlanhla Nene. Despite the R500bn hammering global investors gave the country’s currency, stocks and bonds over Nenegate – and the permanent “Zuma discount” which remains – SA’s President continues to rail against those who criticise his appointment of Van Rooyen. The latest salvo, claiming Van Rooyen is better qualified for the position than either incumbent Pravin Gordhan or the respected Nene beggars the belief of any rational being. But whatever else he might possess, rationalist is clearly not Zuma’s strong suit. Perhaps the humiliated king of Nkandla is lining the nation up for another special surprise? As long as he stays in the Presidency, anything could happen. Remember, this is the man who told a live national television audience that Africa is not only the biggest continent (into which all others would fit) but the only one not divided by a river. And truly believes the guff he was spouting. The Nile, at 6 853km, is the longest river in the world. Denial is not a river in Africa. – Alec Hogg
By Genevieve Quintal, News24