The beginning of a new year and with only a few months before the general election is an appropriate time for South Africans to look to the future.
Following the loss of our spiritual leader, Nelson Mandela, we stand at a crossroad and now have to elect leaders we believe will bring us hope and security.
Unfortunately economic prospects do not look bright. Infighting among unions with each attempting to outdo the other by demanding ridiculous wage increases has combined to dash hopes of more investment as long as the uncertain situation prevails.
The free-falling rand has also scuppered any hope of improvement in daily life as import prices soar – think of the cost of fuel, a driving force in the economy. And the rise of confidence in the economic prospects of major Western countries such as the United States and United Kingdom make South Africa a less appealing place for investors.
But the immediate issue before the election is political and its uncertainty is now having a devastating effect on confidence both locally and internationally. We are part of the global economy so how people perceive SA is of great importance to our economy.
It is good that there is a healthy political opposition to the ruling party as they can, to a certain degree, make our leaders more aware of their responsibilities. But the present turmoil within the ruling party has to be settled one way or another fairly soon. Presently it is muddled government on a day-to-day basis with little to no positive plans in place.
The Democrartic Alliance has proved itself to be a threat in some areas of governance but is still far short of being anything other than a thorn in the side to the ANC. The ANC will win the election in 2014, of that we can be certain. But it will not do so with any conviction if it continues in its present state.
The current leader, Jacob Zuma, faces increasing opposition to his leadership within the party. The recent heckling at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Johannesburg was a public display of the growing disappointment in his style of leadership, lack of direction and lack of confidence. And within the Party there is a growing and powerful sentiment emerging of dissatisfaction at his ability to lead going into the election. His name is now indelibly linked to scandals such as Makandla, Marikana and Guptagate.
It is becoming more apparent that President Zuma has outlived his usefulness and will have to go. As a result the ANC desperately needs a facelift which requires a new leader. The time has come for President Zuma to step aside for the good of the Party.
Make no mistake, the ANC is not in trouble as the ruling Party in South Africa. It still has huge support backed by decades of leadership during the struggle for independence. The country needs the ANC as much as it needs a strong and credible Opposition. But the Party has has become stale and uninspiring.
There are a number of names that spring to mind, well-known faces within the Party, people who could lead from the front.
Now is the time for positive change that will give new hope for workers, refreshed hope for employers, renewed hope for investors and new confidence for the people of South Africa.
What we need is a good 2014 filled with promise. We deserve that and for that to happen we need change.