Fresh air balloons scope of debate

After months of rather unconvincing denials, business tycoon and ANC stalwart Tokyo Sexwale has finally openly confirmed his availability for the ANC presidency and, by extension, that of the country.

After months of rather unconvincing denials, business tycoon and ANC stalwart Tokyo Sexwale has finally openly confirmed his availability for the ANC presidency and, by extension, that of the country.

It is particularly instructive that Sexwale says if he does enter the race - we think it's a fait accompli - he'll do so because he believes in the task the ANC would want him to perform.

His statement that he will never pander to tribalism, regionalism and racism but rather work to build "a good South Africa, [where] we go forward with what we have started" is important indeed.

It goes to the core of what has been lacking amid the hot air and acrimony that has characterised the ANC succession debate in the public arena so far.

One can be forgiven for thinking the most important issue when it comes to deciding who should lead the ANC and the nation starts and ends with the personalities of Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki.

Such an emotive milieu has left little room for discussion of substantive issues as to what type of leader the country needs given its historical challenges, priorities and abilities, both domestically and globally.

It is about time the debate focused on who can be trusted to unite South Africa based on the values enshrined in its constitution, make it prosper and garner respect in the world.

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