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Zuma lexicon

Zuma lexicon
BBC News - World

With just days before South Africa's scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma steps down as leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC), we look at how the controversies around him have influenced the way South Africans express themselves.

Here are our top 10 phrases which have become part of the vocabulary since President Zuma became ANC leader in December 2007.

1) State capture

The Collins dictionary defines this as "the efforts of a small number of firms (or such actors as the military, ethnic groups, and kleptocratic politicians) to use the state to their advantage through illicit, non-transparent provision of private gains to public officials."

In South Africa, it specifically refers to the allegation that one wealthy family - the Guptas - has bought its way into the most influential organs of state, via the president and his family.

For example, former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said he was offered a bribe of 600m Rand ($45m; £34m) by one of the Gupta brothers, Ajay, in order to accept a promotion to finance minster, in exchange for removing key Treasury officials from their posts and advancing the family's "business ambitions".

Mr Jonas also alleged that President Zuma's son Duduzane, a business partner of the Guptas, was present at the meeting.

Ajay Gupta denied the meeting took place. President Zuma and his son have also denied all corruption allegations.

The phrase was named 2017's Word of the Year by the Pan South African Language Board, a statutory body which promotes the country's official languages.

"We are happy with the choice as it echoes a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse," its chief executive Mpho Monareng said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if state capture becomes one of the defining words of our time," he added.

2) Zupta

Popularised by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Zupta is a blend of President Zuma's surname, and that of the Gupta brothers ( Ajay, Atul and Rajesh).

The merging of the two names suggests an improperly close relationship, with their interests so intertwined that they are one, although both families this suggestion.

3) White Monopoly Capital

This term is used to describe the dominant role or unfair advantage that white-owned businesses have in the South African economy, to the detriment of the black majority.

More than 20 years after the end of the racist system of apartheid, white South Africans still earn around a fifth more than what their black counterparts do.

The redistribution of agricultural land taken from black people whilst the country was under white rule has been painfully slow. And about 95% of the country's assets are in the hands of 10% of the population.

But the phrase has become synonymous with murky goings on in government, after a now-notorious campaign by UK-based PR firm Bell Pottinger on behalf of the Gupta-owned firm Oakbay.

The PR agency was accused of operating fake twitter accounts in a racially driven campaign against critics of the Guptas, President Zuma and his family.

It was alleged to have used the term to target President Zuma's opponents, accusing them of being agents of "White Monopoly Capital" - in other words, representing the interests of white people.

Bell Pottinger was ejected from the UK's public relations trade body when the scandal came to light, and soon afterwards went into administration as some of its top clients abandoned it.

4) Radical Economic Transformation

When South Africans talk about "transformation", they mean correcting the inequalities created when the country was under white minority rule.

The term "radical" emphasises the need to accelerate the process of putting economic power in the hands of black people, and land redistribution.

Whilst it has been official ANC policy since 2012, it is alleged that Bell Pottinger deliberately pushed the term to suggest that the scandal-hit president was under attack from "White Monopoly Capital" because he wanted to bring about "Radical Economic Transformation". Mr Zuma's critics were, in this way, painted as being less committed to tackling the past injustices against black people.

5) Nkaaandla

The term should not to be confused with Nkandla, the president's private home which was at the centre of controversy over a multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded upgrade, including the building of a swimming pool which officials described as a "fire pool" in a desperate attempt to justify it as security-related expenditure.

Nkaaandla, said with a nasal intonation, is a word to ridicule people who appear to be fixated about corruption allegations against President Zuma.

It came into being when the president mocked the way opposition leader Mmusi Maimane pronounced the name of his rural homestead. It is now used to imply that or refer to a person who has "sold out".

Original Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42307052

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