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Zuma doesn't read

By admin
27 September 2013

President Jacob Zuma's weakness is that he reads too little, political analyst Richard Calland said on Thursday.

"It's not that he can't read, it's that he doesn't read and he doesn't read the proper stuff; he doesn't read Cabinet briefs, he doesn't read stuff that is the meat and drink of modern, sophisticated government," he told the Cape Town Press Club.

"It is not easy for one to have such disrespect of our president. The truth is we have a leader who encourages that... and who is, in many ways, the embodiment of anti-intellectualism."

He said Zuma's predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, was the opposite and read everything, possibly too much for his own good because he paid too little attention to advisory voices around him.

Mbeki's knowledge of important documents had, however, inspired confidence in the Cabinet.

"Cabinet ministers were constantly on their toes because they knew that they had a boss, a chairperson of Cabinet, who had read at least as much as they did, if not more and knew their briefs as best, if not better, and that kept them on their guard."