Fools and fanatics lead while the wise stall

It is sad to say, but South Africa is suffering from a serious lack of political leadership. Two Sundays ago, Cope spokesperson Palesa Morudi wrote a long article attacking the ANC for choosing a man who is facing criminal charges to be the face of its election campaign.

It is sad to say, but South Africa is suffering from a serious lack of political leadership. Two Sundays ago, Cope spokesperson Palesa Morudi wrote a long article attacking the ANC for choosing a man who is facing criminal charges to be the face of its election campaign.

While I wholly agree with Morudi, it struck me as rich coming from a party that, at that stage, was unable to make up its mind as to who will lead it. Cope, for all its pretensions, seems bereft of leadership that is beyond reproach.

Its entire leadership has been chosen by "consensus", which means that they were appointed by Cope's more influential members. Heaven knows what criteria was used.

The other day Cope went on another fishing expedition. They announced that Frank Chikane, the director-general in the presidency, would be its candidate for Gauteng premier. It did not matter that Chikane is not a member of the party.

The message sent is that none of the members in Gauteng are good enough for the job. And they claimed to have over 400000 members when they launched.

Cope should be aware that the media attention they are getting is not so much on the basis of them being better than the ruling party, but because they have breathed new excitement into a political scene that was getting moribund.

Much as the ANC can deny it, the fact that they will not hold a rally on the same day in the same area as, say Azapo, tells you that even they take Cope seriously.

Speaking of Azapo, one cannot help remembering the days when they elected a new leader each time it held a conference. It might have hindered continuity, but it surely created an organisation where the thinking and leadership was not left to an anointed some. The downside was that they lacked the glue that could hold Azapo together, resulting in the very many splinter groups.

The IFP is, in Mangosuthu Buthelezi, still parading an octogenarian who has led the party since he founded it in 1975. Like Zanu-PF's Robert Mugabe, only the grave will force the IFP to start thinking of a succession plan.

But the gravest concern is the lack of leadership in the ANC. While other parties can afford to have flawed leadership structures, the same cannot be said for the ANC. It is still a party that, on its brand alone, will return to power after April 22 and most likely again in 2014. It is sad when it cannot attract the best brains for its top job, choosing instead to unleash the likes of Julius Malema. It does not help that its leader, instead of leading, is indifferent when his party suffers a public relations nightmare in the form of Carl Niehaus or comrade ministers who supposedly speak in fake accents.

We have about 50 million South Africans, surely there are a few individuals who could rescue us from this morass.

Or is it a case so described by philosopher Bertrand Russell of "the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts".

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