They say hindsight is 20/20 and, if one listens to former president Jacob Zuma looking back at his nine years as head of state, it was a rousing success.
But ordinary South Africans would beg to differ.
In an op-ed published via his Twitter account, Zuma railed against his successor Cyril Ramaphosa’s description of the period between 2009 and 2018 as “nine lost years”.
Zuma pointed to the roll-out of anti-retrovirals after the incoherent policy and Aids denialism under the presidency of Thabo Mbeki, which for years caused the unnecessary deaths of millions.
Zuma also pointed to the provision of “more than” 4.5 million government-subsidised houses, 17 million people receiving social grants and more than R1 trillion invested in national infrastructure programmes between 2009 and 2014.
While Zuma’s government was extending the reach of the government, South Africans as a collective were getting poorer.
In 2009 South Africa’s per capita gross domestic product stood at $5831 (R79500), it would increase to $7976 in 2011, buoyed by a successful Fifa World Cup and positive capital inflows stemming from the tournament.
But since then South Africa’s collective income has been on a steady decline to $5 280 in 2016, which coincides with reports that up to R350billion left the country in the form of capital outflows for the 18 months between January 2016 and July 2017.
Similarly, South Africa’s GDP growth has been hovering at 1.3%, which is not enough to create the jobs we so desperately need.
He made no reference to the hollowing out of key state institutions that laid the groundwork for corruption to flourish without any consequences.
During Zuma’s first term Parliament was reduced to a rubber stamp chamber, only roused out of its collective slumber when legislation was challenged in court
For the past couple of weeks we have all heard how one company syphoned off billions of rands.
You won’t hear Zuma boasting about the South African economy because he did more than any of his predecessors to destroy it.
The Zondo commission of inquiry is giving us a glimpse into Zuma’s tenure as head of state and it’s certainly not a good story to tell.