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Donald Henderson
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Time for our leader to dig deep

28 May 2014, 15:11

The African National Congress would appear to have achieved most of what it expected, a clear majority to rule the country as it deems fit. The question now is where do we go from here?

Having made the usual grand promises of solving all the problems for all the people, President Jacob Zuma and his newly-elected government now have to be seen to be delivering. At least that is what most of SA's citizens expect, it is just hoped that the Government realises the enormity of the problems that have to be tackled.

Unemployment is rife throughout the country and is the prime source of much misery. It is also a cause of another major dilemma that spreads the misery, crime which has become symptomatic of all that is bad in our society. These two euphemistically referred to as problems are not new but appear to have been, for one reason or another, swept under the carpet for decades. But they are critical for the country's development and require the attention of every member of government in all departments.

The economy is another area that our dear leader appears to be particularly shy and nervous about. Granted he may know little, or care little, about its management but that is why he has experts in financial matters in government willing and able to put their collective skills together to tackle the problems within our ailing economy.

One area where his intervention in desperately needed is in the five-month-long miners strike in Rustenberg which is costing the country billions of rand. The mining companies are losing and the miners are losing but still it continues. The only people benefitting from the crisis appear to be the union leaders who are living a life of wealth.

A battle for membership between the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM) and the new kid on the block the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union(Amcu) began the strike and Amcu took the battle to the mine ownership over a long-held grievance of sharing mining wealth. Now it has reached the stage where the wealth has been scattered and no one benefits. The strike has been allowed by a neglectful government to deteriorate into outright violence against anyone and everyone with workers trying to return to work being attacked, beaten and in some cases killed. The terror of outright gangsterism now reigns on the platinum belt and people live in fear. Overall, the country is on the brink of recession as a direct result of the lost revenue because of the strike.

Newly-elected mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has promised action and he has visited the miners union and mining management and has promised to find a resolution as a “priority”.

Perhaps recognising government's ignorance of the issues he earlier said that “what is needed is to find out what the issues are that are holding back a resolution”. Better late than never but he arrives at a time when it is reported that recently arranged talks between the union and management have already broken down which would indicate that someone there is not serious about ending the strike.

President Zuma, this is your opportunity to step down from your ivory tower and stamp your authority on the warring parties. Visit Rustenberg. Talk to the miners. Talk to management. Bang your fist on the table and tell them to get back to work. Threaten them and tell them that we have all had enough of their senseless fighting that threatens our economy.

Is it possible that there is some real leadership in our presidency and that he will personally take action? Don't hold your breath.

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