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Anton M. Pillay


The incarceration of the former South African President Jacob Zuma on charges of contempt of court sparked mass looting, destruction, and damage to a staggering economy attempting to navigate through Covid-19-related repercussions. Early estimates reveal that the initial damage report bill is a R50 billion knock on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The level of orchestration behind the attacks alludes to state-sponsored violence, given Mr Zuma’s loyal sympathisers within the intelligence community and in the African National Congress. This research postulates that Mr Zuma’s political rhetoric served as the main inciting factor behind the destruction. Indeed, comparative analysis shows how many post-independence/liberation leaders have invoked a language of debt by virtue of their role as independence/liberation heroes to justify dismal governance records. What are the key features of this language of debt?

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