Monday, December 14, 2015


By Subry Govender President Jacob Zuma has overstayed his position in office. His latest decision to replace the newly-appointed Finance Minister within a space of five days is a clear indication that he is not skilled enough to continue to hold the highest position in the country. The return of Mr Pravin Gordhan to the Finance Minister's job may help the Rand to recover and for the economy to start an upward swing, but does this explain why Nhlanhla Nene was fired in the first place last week. Nene was doing an excellent job during the past 18 months but to be kicked out unceremoniously and replaced by a relatively-unknown cadre is beyond comprehension.
All allegations are that he acted at the bequest of the chairperson of the SAA Board, Ms Dudu Myeni. It's not known what relationship he and this lady enjoy? During his term of office, after taking over from Thabo Mbeki as head of the ANC and then after becoming President, he has stumbled from one disaster to another.
He came to power after his "hangers-ons" at that time, including Julius Malema and his crowd, shouted Thabo Mbeki out of office at the ANC conference at Polokwane in 2009. I was there covering the conference for the SABC and I can tell you that Malema and his cohorts (now Economic Freedom Fighters - EFF) behaved like thugs and hooligans. He was elected to the highest office in our new non-racial democracy after Kgalema Motlanthe, who acted for a while after Mbeki was booted out of the President's post, was not given an opportunity to continue as President. Besides running around the world to attend international functions and events as head of state, Zuma's presidency so far has been clouded in controversy, mismanagement and below par performance.
The bloody Marikana massacre when police mowed down nearly 48 protesting miners, his laughing in parliament, asking "who came first, was it the democratic country or the ANC?" and other gaffes, the greatest tragedy for the country was that he stuck to his claim that he did not ask for the near R250-million upgrades and development at his Nkandla homestead. As a President he should have known what was going on in his own backyard but he claims that he did not know about the security upgrades and the extras such as the chicken run and swimming pool (dubbed the fire pool). He said he was not going to pay back some of the money as requested by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.
(ZUMA'S 250-MILLION RAND BONUS) The sacking of Nene led to the tumbling of the Rand to its lowest level since our dawn of democracy in 1994 and the downgrade of our country to almost a "junk" status. Zuma, since he stepped into office, has not been held in high esteem, especially in Western Europe, where we largely get our investments from. Infact, whenever I spoke to my colleagues at Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany, they used to just crack jokes about Zuma's status as a leader. They couldn't understand how a President, leading a modern economy, could continue to have as many as five wives and mistresses. They could not understand this situation even though he claimed his "tradition" allowed him to have many wives. When I first interviewed Zuma in 2008 at a time when he was trying to fobb off the allegations that he was being funded to the millions by Durban businessman, Schabir Shaik, I gained the impression that he was being deliberately targeted by Mbeki and his men. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But now I realise that Zuma is not only a cunning, shrewd and brutal leader but a person who has no clue about how to be the President of a developing state and at the same time a modern economic country.
(Professor Barney Pityana)
(Professor Ben Turok)
(Barbara Hogan) Since his sacking of Nene in the first week of December 2015, numerous calls have been made for Zuma to step down immediately and for him to return to Nkandla to retire in peace. Among the well-known people include Professor Barney Pitayana, a former Chancelllor of UNISA and a former Black Consciousness leader; Professor Ben Turok, who was a struggle stalwart during the days against apartheid rule; Ms Barbara Hogan, another struggle stalwart; and 100 academics who wrote a personal letter calling on Zuma to step down. Whether he will drive into the sunset on his own free is doubtful at this stage of his second term in office. He is only in his second year of his second five term as the country's Chief of Staff.
(Dr Albert Luthuli)
(First President Nelson Mandela)
(Walter Sisulu)
(Oliver Tambo)
(Govan Mbeki)
(Robert Sobukwe - late PAC leader)
(Steven Bantu Biko) But one thing is clear, South Africa will not return to the glory days that followed when we gained our freedom in1994 until he is out of office. What a sad commentary for a country who regularly celebrate the lives of leaders of the calibre of Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Steven Bantu Biko, and other greats who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. The cries of South Africans for change cannot be ignored. The ANC must act now and tell Zuma politely that his time as President has ended and he has been recalled. The ANC's values and principles of the struggle years must once again be the characteristics of the new cadres who are now in government. Whether the ANC will listen to the concerns of the people is another matter altogether? The ANC must save us from being reduced to the status of a banana republic. - ends (Subry Govender/December 14 2015)

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