Who’s at SA’s helm?

2010-10-10 10:07

South Africa seems to have sailed on without a captain for the past four days while ­President Jacob Zuma “took time off to rest”.

While Zuma was resting, ­deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe was in Vietnam, South Korea and North Africa on state business.

A statement issued on Tuesday by Zuma’s spokesperson, ­Zizi Kodwa, said he had “taken time off to rest from Wednesday, October 6, until next week”.

Earlier, Zuma’s ­office had issued a diary ­detailing his public appearances, which included a ceremony to ­receive the credentials of foreign diplomats at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

As a result of his time off, Cabinet ministers honoured some of Zuma’s public engagements.

Does this mean there was ­neither a president nor an acting president to run the affairs of state as no one had been sworn in to do so?

Not so, said Zuma’s office.

His office denied that the ship was captainless while Zuma was “out of circulation”.

It said there was no need for an acting president as Zuma, who resumes his public duties today, “was not on leave” but had just “taken time off from public engagements”.

Lakela Kaunda, deputy ­director-general in charge of ­Zuma’s private office, said even when the president was on leave, his support staff moved with him so that he could perform his ­administrative duties.

“We were not supposed to ­announce his time off. The reason we did so was that he had public engagements and there would have been questions about why he didn’t arrive at events,” Kaunda said.

She explained that Zuma did this “all the time” and said an acting president was only appointed if both Motlanthe and Zuma were out of the country.

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