Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Must be more from Zuma

Is he leading or following or just drifting?

This is the big question about President Jacob Zuma after his first 100 days as head of the South African state.

I must admit I just like Zuma. He disarms me. His humility and openness has brought a friendly personal tone to the presidency, in pleasing contrast to Thabo Mbeki.

On his political leadership, one view is that he is completely in control, quietly and skilfully managing the opposing factions with his alliance. His appointment of Gill Marc
us as head of the Reserve Bank is a measure of his shrewdness.

He deliberately doesn’t do much, following the wise path of masterly inaction. President Dwight D Eisenhower also seemed not to do much but was one America’s best presidents.

The other view is that he is not doing much because he doesn’t know what to do and, far from controlling the dangerous factions, they are controlling him. His appointment of Bheki Cele as National Police Commissioner shows he puts political affiliation ahead of professional competence.

His surprise nomination of Sandile Ngcobo as Chief Justice (which seems unconstitutional because he failed to consult the leaders of other parties) raises the fear that he is paving the way for the dreadful John Hlophe – because it seems Ngcobo will only be able to hold this office for two years.

On the proposed National Health Insurance, which would be calamitous for our health system, and the suggested nationalisation of the mines, which would be calamitous for our economy, Zuma is either silent or makes light-hearted remarks.

When his political hounds, such as Julius Malema of the ANC Youth League or Blade Nzimande, of the Communist Party, tug at their leashes, they seem to pull Zuma their way.

South Africa faces desperate problems of violent crime, failing education, Aids, disintegrating family life, catastrophic unemployment and an exodus of skills.

These require strong, clear policies and resolute action. They often require tough decisions to be taken. Zuma is good at pleasing special people.

His expensive 62-Minister Cabinet showed his gratitude to those who had helped him come to power. Unfortunately, so far we see from him little signs of the clarity, resolution and toughness that are needed to rescue South Africa from further decline.

Let us hope that these will come now that Zuma is comfortably settled into the highest office in the land.

3 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Some people just don't get it. He is being a good African Chief. Which means that he doesn't have to do anything but call the shots. Accordingly, everyone around him must service his needs. This is Africa - the poeple must provide service to the king, not vice-versa. All the whites out there waiting and calling for the ANC to start acting like this is a white man's democracy are in for a big disappointment. Duh.

Exzanian said...

Watch the Zuma puppet dance to his master's voice, Gwede Mantashe.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon 9:16. He is just being a Zulu chief - always "listening" to his people and then "deciding" what to do. It's plain to see but no one does. Let's see how far this approach takes him. I give him 2 years before it all collapses. Remember, he has to keep the peace and keep face until after the SWC2010. Let's see what happens after he doesn't have this pressure anymore.