President, Manuel most fancied

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

President Thabo Mbeki and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel have come out tops in a survey that asked South Africans what traits they wanted in their head of state.

Most respondents said they wanted a truthful president with moral integrity.

ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma came a distant fifth behind businessmen Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale in the AC Nielsen study, which looked at political figures who best exhibited the characteristics of a president.

The study was commissioned by Reader's Digest South Africa to determine which presidential personality traits and values South Africans admired.

The report will appear in the November issue of the Reader's Digest.

It polled a representative sample of 2464 adults in urban areas around the country.

The survey said ANC political figures believed to exhibit presidential characteristics of truthful and moral integrity had found that Mbeki and Manuel best fitted the bill, with the president just pipping his finance minister.

Respondents were asked to rate 20 qualities important for a president to display. Never hiding the truth, meaning what they say, having moral integrity and admitting mistakes all rated above 80 percent in importance.

So did the ability to delegate, being a genuine intellectual, holding consistent views, reaching decisions by consensus and speaking diplomatically.

Mbeki topped the list with 64,1 percent of respondents stating that he very or quite strongly exhibited the characteristics of a president.

He was followed closely by Manuel with 62,9 percent.

Ramaphosa scored 50,7percent, followed by Sexwale at 50,3percent.

Only 45,7 percent of respondents felt that Zuma very or quite strongly exhibited the characteristics of a president.