Eish! What a year

2010-05-09 10:18

THE GOOD


A few years ago, the president apologised for having unprotected sex with an

HIV-positive woman and did the same recently when it became public knowledge

that he had ­fathered a child outside of wedlock with Sonono Khoza, the daughter

of Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza, who is a close friend of Zuma.

This was

despite the fact that he has three wives and a fiancée.


Most in the financial sector heap praise on the president for

appointing Gill Marcus as the first woman Reserve Bank governor.

His appointment

of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was also applauded and the president’s

recent disclosure that he had in the past taken four HIV tests with the results

declaring that he was HIV-negative earned him more kudos.

This was in sharp

contrast to former president Thabo Mbeki’s denialism stance.


In an interview with City Press last week, Zuma said he was giving

leadership to the country on the matter.


“We would want to fight the stigma. HIV is like any other disease.

There are diseases like diabetes, hypertension and so on. I think it’s important

that psychologically people don’t think HIV/Aids is a death sentence and by that

you remove the stigma,” he said.


“I thought it was important for me to make the announcement. Do

something that we have not done before as part of the fight and campaign against

HIV/Aids and, of course, I emphasise and am still emphasising that your status

is your confidential matter.”


His hallmark, his advisers say, is that the president listens to

people’s concerns.

THE BAD
President Jacob Zuma listens well and promises plenty, but he has not managed to match word with deed.

Zuma, unlike his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, spends time with communities, listening to their problems and explaining how his government will address their concerns. However, their problems never get solved.

A case in point is the ongoing battle between taxi operators and local municipalities over the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

After meeting taxi operators Zuma said their problems had been solved, but there is a growing threat to BRT drivers and commuters.

Earlier this year he also said he would convene an outside panel to solve the problems facing parastatals.

To this day the panel has not been ­appointed.

Most commentators argue that this is the problem with Zuma’s style of governance – a continual flow of promises that are never honoured.

This does not augur well for the president as he started governing the country on a bad footing.

His personal life, too, leaves much to be ­desired.

Last May Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille called Zuma “a self-confessed womaniser with deeply sexist views, who put all his wives at risk by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman”.

At the time there were already rape and fraud and corruption scandals hovering over his head.

However, he was acquitted of allegedly raping an HIV-positive woman, while the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew the fraud and corruption charges on the grounds that prosecutors had interfered politically with his ­cases so as to ensure he would not be elected as ANC president.

The low point of his Presidency was news that he had fathered a child outside of wedlock with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza, who is a close friend of Zuma’s.

This was despite the fact that he already has three wives and a fiancée.

The president’s failure to act against ANC Youth League president Julius Malema also added to his woes.

At last year’s June 16 celebration Malema, who is not a government official, spoke at the rally, which was organised by the government, blurring the lines between party and state.­

Zuma attended that event and saw no need to distance his government from the Youth League.

Then his appointment of Menzi Simelane last December as the new head of the NPA was not one of his best decisions.Simelane is now at loggerheads with prosecutors, who accuse him of wanting to demote them.

The NPA, one of the most important components of the country’s justice system, should be free from manipulation and interference.Zuma’s state of the nation address on February 11 was disastrous.

The president misread words, was unsettled and became the laughing stock of his audience.

The blunders did not end with the speech. Two months ago it emerged that he had failed to declare to Parliament gifts, benefits or financial interests held or received either by himself or his family members, as required in terms of the Executive Ethics Code.

Zuma has to lead the country, but unfortunately he is failing to do so.

THE CHALLENGE



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