Political analysts have warned that the mooted reality show could open up Jacob Zuma to further scrutiny and criticism from his enemies. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Johannesburg - As South Africans gear up to get up close and personal with the family of former President Jacob Zuma through their mooted television reality show, political analysts have warned that the show could open up the former head of state to further scrutiny and criticism from his enemies. 

Television producer Legend Manqele confirmed that he was shooting “a season of something” on the Zuma family in Nkandla, with several posts on Twitter showing Manqele and his crew at Zuma’s sprawling Nkandla homestead.

Other shots by Manqele were with the mother of Zuma’s youngest child Nonkanyiso Conco, through whom the family would be introduced to South African homes by way of the reality show.

However, political analyst Thabani Khumalo said that if he was Zuma’s advisor, he would have advise the former president to go to his Nkandla homestead, herd his cattle and live a private life and forget about the spotlight because it would lead to more controversies.

“Even on Twitter, lately, since the judgment in his court case with Derek Hanekom, he has been inactive. I think it’s time for him to enjoy a private life because the more he puts himself on this public platform, the more he exposes himself to criticism from his enemies and the people in general,” Khumalo said. 

He added that Zuma already had a lot on his plate with his corruption case, the state capture commission and the defamation case brought against him by Hanekom and should instead focus on those instead of opening himself up to further public scrutiny.

“Even his tweets were making headlines, each time he posted something it made headlines and it’s the same case this time around. This thing will draw a lot of attention to him. He should instead be relaxing at home enjoying a private life and addressing the controversies he’s facing from his time in office,” said Khumalo. 

He said that those controversies should be enough to keep him preoccupied and that this latest movie to have a reality TV show could hurt him.

Another political analyst Ashwin Desai said that for a former president to be a part of a reality show demeans the office of the President.

He said that this was because “usually when people leave office, whether they are Thabo Mbeki or Nelson Mandela or Barack Obama they tend to be quite circumspect in the way they conduct their public affairs”. 

“A reality show is a complete antithesis of that and one wonders also whether it will really be a reality show or an artificial show ... will it be a fake show, will it be a show of pretence? They call it reality show but once there are cameras in a place, there’s immediately a lack of reality that takes place. It almost feels like an Alice in Wonderland scenario ... down the rabbit hole into a world of make believe,” Desai said. 

He said that South Africans already know the world of Jacob Zuma, from his visits to the Guptas Saxonwold compound to the firepool in Nkandla “which is actually a swimming pool” and that this reality TV show talk was just another episode in what is a bizarre time in the country’s history. 

Political Bureau