Thu Oct 20 21:56:33 SAST 2016

Pundits do analysis on Zuma's pros and cons

By unknown | Jan 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Despite the possibility of eventually being found guilty and jailed on the corruption charges he faces, African National Congress president Jacob Zuma seems set to become the country's next president.

This possibility has raised debate among South Africans from all walks of life, who are asking what Zuma's presidency would mean for the country.

His supporters obviously believe he is the most suitable candidate. They (including Zuma himself) have dismissed questions about his suitability as mischief-making by his detractors and counter-revolutionaries.

Those who are uncertain of Zuma's suitability have raised questions about his moral rectitude.

They base their concerns on his public admission that he had sex with an HIV-positive woman young enough to be his daughter and who claimed that she regarded him as an "uncle".

Zuma's lifestyle, as revealed in the Durban high court, leaves much to be desired and has also been questioned.

It was revealed in court that Zuma lives far beyond his means and depended on individuals such as convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and KwaZulu-Natal casino mogul Vivian Reddy.

This has raised concerns about the prudence of choosing a leader so indebted to individuals for money.

Political analysts believe Zuma will make a better president than former president Thabo Mbeki because he, unlike Mbeki, believes in collective leadership.

"He is a humble leader who does not think he knows it all," says Sipho Seepe. "This augurs well for the country because he will consult with the other leaders.

Seepe believes Zuma is a man of the people who connects with the masses, who understands their needs and wants.

On the international front, Seepe believes, Zuma has already been accepted by both the business community and world leaders. He points out that Zuma has already hit the international scene by attending important forums such as the G8 summit.

Seepe rejects the notion that the international community will undermine South Africa be-cause it is led by a president with no formal qualifications.

"The world accepts and respects leaders who are democratically elected and have the support of their own people. Zuma is one such leader," argues Seepe.

But political analyst Prince Mashele warns that Zuma is a populist who still has to prove himself by delivering on his promises. He believes the next five years will be a test for both Zuma and the ANC when it comes to service delivery.

"This is because the advent of the Cope has provided South Africans with an alternative. The ANC's challenge is to ensure that it delivers, otherwise come 2014 and the party could find itself bleeding more," he says.

He also does not think Zuma's presidency will be good for South Africa's international profile.

"The reality is that at some international forums such as the G8, world leaders meet as peers behind closed doors without their advisers to discuss key issues.

"What contribution will Zuma make in such instances?" Mashele asks.


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