Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma have a lot in common.

They are prepared to burn down democracy to keep themselves out of jail.

Donald Trump has undermined the elections he lost by claiming – with wild lies – that they were rigged against him.

Zuma, together with ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, this week followed the Trump playbook. 

Zuma is being asked to answer shocking charges of corruption involving him personally that have been aired at the Zondo commission.

He’s willing to say “stuff you” to the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, to prevent having to explain himself to the people of South Africa. 

The two paths ahead for South Africa have become clear – as clear as the splits in the ANC. On the one side Zuma, Magashule and probably Economic Freedom Fighters commander-in-chief Julius Malema. All with their backs to the wall; all facing investigation; and all willing to sacrifice the country to protect themselves. 

On the other, the rest of the ANC led by Cyril Ramaphosa, democrats in other parties, civil society, and – as polls suggest – most of the rest of the country.

The choice is a gangster state, or a state where the rule of law, and governing for the best interests of the people, still matters.

The problem with Zuma’s defence is that it is not Ramaphosa’s money that was stolen.

It is the money of the people of South Africa, especially our children. It is they who have been denied better schools and hospitals and jobs. It is they who will be paying off the debt incurred by Zuma’s cronies for generations to come.

If he has a reasonable explanation why is he afraid to go and present his side of the story at the Zondo Commission?

Instead of answering that question, Zuma is going to have tea in Nkandla with Malema, who is also keen to join this coalition of the corrupt.

We know the playbook and we have already seen glimpses of what is coming.

Zuma and his comrades will stop at nothing to save their skins. They will liken their opponents to apartheid monsters; they will claim that they are victims of a big conspiracy; and they will lie at every turn.

Their agenda is nothing less than to destroy the rule of law, without which we will be a country of gangsters.

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