President zuma must hit ground running

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

While millions of South Africans go to the polls today to vote for the party of their choice, the ANC government is already making preparations for the inauguration of the new president.

Invitations are being sent out for guests, including the media, to confirm their attendance on May 9.

Given the polls and the history of the country the man most likely to ascend to the highest seat in the country is ANC president Jacob Zuma.

So what will be in Zuma's in-box when he arrives at his office on Monday, May 11?

l Appoint his cabinet - This is the first most obvious task Zuma has to undertake. Unlike his predecessor, the new president does not have all the powers to appoint his cabinet willy-nilly. This is after the 2007 Polokwane ANC conference resolved that the other ANC leadership structures, such as the national executive committee, should have an input in appointing the cabinet.

"His cabinet will be a combination of personal preferences and input from the ANC leadership," political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi explained yesterday.

l He must come up with an implementation plan to turn the promises he made during electioneering into reality.

"Zuma must come down from sloganeering and come up with a business plan with realistic time-frames. He must do this within the medium-term framework that the government has adopted," says political analyst Kwandile Kondlo.

l Restructure the leadership of public institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority, the National Intelligence Agency, and Chapter Nine institutions [such as the Human Rights Commission and others].

Kondlo says Zuma has the difficult job of restoring the public's confidence in public institutions such as the NPA and NIA. He also has the difficult task of ensuring that he appoints people who are not regarded as his cronies, says Kondlo.

Political analyst Steven Friedman also believes Zuma must prioritise the restoration of the public trust in politicians - which is currently at a very low ebb.

"He must go to the grassroots and just listen to what people are saying. Normally during electioneering, politicians talk to people, but do not necessarily listen to them," says Friedman.

Matshiqi believes that one of Zuma's major tasks is to assure South Africans and the world that "South Africa is in good hands".