Zuma must lead, not be led by radicals

I was excited at the ousting of Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane. Mbeki lost favour for many reasons, including his quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe, Vusi Pikoli's suspension and Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's handling of Aids.

I was excited at the ousting of Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane. Mbeki lost favour for many reasons, including his quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe, Vusi Pikoli's suspension and Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's handling of Aids.

But Mbeki's successor Jacob Zuma failed the leadership test when he allowed radicals in the ANC and its allies to have their way in recalling Mbeki.

Zuma had sounded wise before the decision was made, when he advised everyone not to strike a dead snake but to use our energies to concentrate on the elections and so on.

But when the ANC national executive committee (NEC) met radicals won. Zuma should not have allowed arrogance, radicalism and emotionalism to reign over rationalism and wisdom.

I remember how Madiba showed statesmanship after the brutal murder of Chris Hani. When tempers ran high and the masses wanted revenge, he cooled people down and helped the nation contain their justified anger.

The fallout from Mbeki's recall, Mbhazima Shilowa's and cabinet ministers' resignations, and Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota's proposed convention could have been avoided.

Another worrying trend is that the SACP and Cosatu seem to lead the ANC by remote control. Whatever radicals feel hot about, the NEC endorses.

Zuma, people need leadership. Having listened to you for a while I think you could rise to the challenge.

DS Khoabane, Polokwane

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