Mbeki must 'walk the walk, talk the talk, regardless…

2008-06-28 00:00

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” George Orwell could not have been more correct when he made this statement in his bestseller Animal Farm. I do not think he realised that (or if anyone realised that) when he made the statement, he was way ahead of his time in a lot of ways.

When president Thabo Mbeki fired Jacob Zuma in June 2005 following Judge Hillary Squires’ guilty verdict in the Shabir Shaik case, Mbeki had made it clear that he was not going to accommodate individuals who had clouds hanging over their heads in his administration. The fact that he had fired Zuma sent a strong message that no one would be immune from his wrath and his line of fire.

By his actions, he underscored the message that South Africa, unlike other African countries which had been granted independence from colonial rule only to become more corrupt, was going to be the ray of light that the world had been waiting for in this so-called dark continent.

Now, fast-forward to June 2008. Mbeki this past week renewed the contract of suspended national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who is suspected of receiving money from alleged drug kingpin Glenn Agliotti, for a year.

When Mbeki was asked about his lack of action against Selebi after he had learnt about the allegations, he said he could not risk the negative impact this would have on the government. This is a clear indication that Mbeki has lost his co-ordinates on clean governance and exemplary leadership. What expulsion could have had a bigger impact than that of the deputy president of the country, unless he was saying Selebi is more important than Zuma?

In another shock move, Mbeki had suspended Scorpions chief Vusi Pikoli, the man who secured the Selebi arrest warrant and SAPS offices search warrants, destabilising the Scorpions in the process — something that has worked to Selebi’s advantage, no doubt.

We recently heard that allegations against Selebi may be thrown out because of a technicality. Perhaps Mbeki decided to keep Selebi in government because he is not a threat to him or his position. After all, Zuma has proved to have a way with women. In Zulu, we say unogazi (he has appeal, sweet and warm blood). Perhaps he would have most, if not all, women in the Cabinet eating out of his hand. Zuma would steal his thunder and blow his bubble. I can only wonder how much of Mbeki’s decision-making was influenced by the shoes Selebi got Agliotti to buy for Mbeki as it was alleged in a Sunday newspaper scoop.

Mbeki needs not only to talk the talk, but also walk the walk, regardless of which

animal has fallen foul of his governance

principles.

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