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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

Lots of power, but he's still a regular guy

By unknown | May 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Let me state that I love President Thabo Mbeki to bits.

Let me state that I love President Thabo Mbeki to bits.

Notwithstanding the man's spectacular blunders, he is a visionary who has made an immense contribution to Africa's development.

Whatever his faults - and they are many, including his stubborn nature, aloofness and contempt for the media - there is no doubting his contribution to the development of Africa.

I could not help but be bowled over by his intellectual prowess whenever I met him or heard him speak.

Enter Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. I knew the new ANC president only from what I had read about him.

Like many journalists, I never thought he stood a chance against Mbeki in the race for the ANC's top job.

Zuma's propensity for saying and doing the wrong things made him manna for journalists' and cartoonists' poison pens. Many of us failed to separate the man from the caricature, hence our disbelief when he trounced Mbeki in Polokwane. Now we're having to play catch-up, trying to understand the enigma.

We set out to do that and asked for an interview in mid-March. Our efforts were rewarded with an appointment on Wednesday.

The man I met this week was nothing like the bumbling buffoon depicted by the chattering classes. He came across as a consummate politician, and oozed power and confidence without being over-bearing or intimidating.

The self-taught Zuma is equally comfortable among kings while remaining a regular guy at heart. This makes him a natural politician. This would stand him in good stead as state president, especially in a country with as many diverse competing interests as ours.

He has been criticised for talking socialism to the trade unions and capitalism to business, clouding what he might truly stand for. Nevertheless, he manifestly feels deeply and passionately about the plight of his people.

He still has seemingly insurmountable legal hurdles to clear before ascending to the country's top job. But that does not seem to deter this clearly driven man. Does he have to be everything to all people? Well, the masses love him and that's what counts at the polls. - Thabo Leshilo


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