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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.


By unknown | May 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zukile Majova

Zukile Majova

On the Monday afternoon of January 28 2008 a beaming Helen Zille emerged from a two-hour meeting with the then President Thabo Mbeki, saying Mbeki had taken her into his confidence.

The two met at the Union Buildings to discuss the state of the nation, rolling nationwide blackouts, and the prosecution of police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Zille, who had just been elected to replace Tony Leon as leader of the DA, told reporters Mbeki had opened his heart and state secrets for her.

News agencies quoted her saying: "His (Mbeki's) response was a very strongly stated commitment to the Constitution."

South Africans enjoyed the moment and many thought it marked the end of a long acrimonious relationship between the ANC and the DA.

It didn't last.

Jacob Zuma walked into our lives a week ago, in much the same way, preaching reconciliation and telling Afrikaners to feel at home.

Some in the media said they wanted to right the wrongs of the past and promised to judge Zuma on his performance in office.

The DA leader in Parliament Athol Trollip said the official opposition was looking forward to a working relationship with the president.

The Sunday Times headline screamed "A new dawn".

The honeymoon lasted a week.

And it does not look as if the dust is going to settle any time soon. As the feud rages on, Zuma has not uttered a word, and maybe he should not bother.

Millions of South Africans are hungry, they need jobs, they need shelter, they need to feel safe in their homes and they need a leader to make this country a winning nation.

The furore is a blight on Zuma's efforts to pull the country's reconciliation agenda back on track.

His supporters, and indeed Zuma himself, believe the millions who elected him to office are yearning for a re-run of the Madiba years.

In the face of this storm, Zuma must be wondering "what would Nelson Mandela do?"

But while President JZ is pondering how to rise above the chaff and noise, his bulldogs are out in the streets baying for Zille's blood.

For us as the hoi-polloi, this is a moment to sit back and do some introspection.

It is time to wonder how much our reconciliatory efforts have achieved when a group that is a national minority and happens to be a regional majority votes overwhelmingly, not in favour of the DA, but against the ANC.

I must add, the anti-ANC vote is also a vote against the rule of the majority in this country.

It is a loud statement about how some people still detest Africans and I submit this is informed by the idea that Africans, by virtue of being Africans, are inherently corrupt and unable to rule themselves.

This hostility is unfortunate because it does not only derail the country from its reconciliation agenda, but it also instils a mistrust of whites and coloureds in the minds of Africans.

They must think: "We laugh with these people, we work with them and embrace them as brothers and sisters while they have such a deep-seated hatred of Africans."

One can understand the vitriol coming out of Luthuli House and from ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe, but it is difficult to agree with his statement that Zille has "elevated herself from being a leader of the official opposition to being an enemy". It will open the floodgates for everyone to take potshots at Zille.

She is now fair game. And the ANC Youth League has already threatened to take militant action against her if she continues "to speak hogwash". We cannot encourage this.

Whatever the agenda of those who elected her, Zille should be given the space to get on with her job. But in this climate, Zille will not get much sympathy from ordinary people if the national government tries to frustrate her running of the Western Cape.

The unfortunate thing is that her loose tongue has denied the citizenry a chance to see how the ANC behaves as an opposition.

This would have given us a chance to see whether the liberation movement is prepared to relinquish power when defeated through the ballot.


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