Khaya Dlanga

Zuma finally decides to lead (maybe)

2012-02-15 09:10

Khaya Dlanga

Last week’s State of the Nation Address was president Jacob Zuma’s best to date. For the. First. Time. No one was. Ma. King. Fun of. His speech making. A. bilities.

It was evident that he had actually sat down and rehearsed it for hours on end. He didn’t break words he wasn’t supposed to break. Although a lot has to be said about his abilities to read Zulu. He even stopped licking his lips and hasn’t given us the finger in a very long time while fixing his glasses. For some time now, I believed that when he gave us the finger, he was subconsciously telling us what he thinks of us. Or he was saying, “You ninjas are f***ed.”

He was even comfortable enough to make jokes and also strayed off speech several times during the address. My favourite joke of the night was when he said that Bafana Bafana always plays but never qualifies. That brought the house down. Of course he still struggled with numbers, which surprised me. Considering the number of wives and children he has, one would have thought numbers came easily to him.

At one point he even made a fat joke. I don’t think Khulubuse Zuma, his nephew, appreciated it though.
Indeed, compared to his previous speeches and to the one he gave at the ANC’s centenary celebrations, we were looking at a very comfortable president. His former rival, Thabo Mbeki, received even louder cheers than he did when he was introduced to the crowd.

Why the sudden comfort, some may wonder? Well, the president no longer has to deal with his migraine, Julius Malema. It is one he created - something I addressed in a precious column called Zuma-nkenstein’s monster. Zuma has now been forced to destroy his monster.

The obliteration of Julius Malema by the Chairperson of the National Disciplinary Committee Appeal’s (NDCA), Cyril Ramaphosa, all but left him on the side of the road convulsing, left to die. The president had every reason to be comfortable. Malema appeared to have been successfully squashed, therefore, his position as president of the ANC going to Manguang was assured for the first time.

It appears now that Zuma is willing to lead. He does actually want to be president. It seems he has come to realise that the job of being president is a serious matter and will be treated it as such – now that self-preservation is no longer part of the agenda.

The speech incorporated a lot of ideas proposed by the National Planning Commission chaired by Trevor Manuel. For the very first time since his presidency, there seems to be a plan for the country. It has taken him three years to get to this point. We can’t afford to have a learner president for three years though, despite the good things that came out of his speech.

Since a presidential term lasts five years and a second term is not always guaranteed, three years is a very long time to learn to be president. And we do applaud him for finally getting on his job. Of course all this could be just appearances. We will wait and see.

Just a few days ago, he made some disturbing statements in regards to the Constitutional Court. He wants to review its powers. Again, this is a sign of the president’s discomfort about his own position. The DA has challenged the decision by the then National Prosecution Authority head to drop the corruption charges against Zuma in court. Again, the questioning of the powers of the Constitutional Court reek of self-preservation. Will the president stop governing and concentrate on fighting another battle, the Constitutional Court?

Just as we were applauding him for finally doing his job, he goes on to say some unfortunate things regarding the judiciary. He seems to have forgotten that we live in a constitutional democracy, not an executive one. His comments clearly stated that the only logical decisions that the courts make are the one he agrees with. Mr President, lead, don’t meddle.

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Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  state of the nation 2012
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