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ANC flays Ginwala

2009-12-06 21:12

Johannesburg - Frene Ginwala's comments on salary hikes for government officials display "astounding" and "blinding pettiness", the office of the ANC chief whip said on Sunday.

The office's spokesperson Moloto Mothapo was responding to a media report in which former national assembly speaker Frene Ginwala criticised President Jacob Zuma's approval of certain salary increases for government officials.

"Today's statements in the Sunday Times by...Ginwala, in which she berates the decision by President Jacob Zuma to approve the 7% salary increase for public office bearers, is gravely regrettable."

Mothapo said Judge Willie Seriti, who chairs an independent commission for the remuneration of public office bearers recommended that goverment salaries be increased by 8%.

"President Zuma turned it down as he felt it was excessive...

"[The] President's sensitivity to the current economic climate was lauded by many in our society...

"Whatever drives Ginwala...to see poor leadership out of this political boldness remains a mystery.

"Her blinding pettiness is indeed astounding," said Mothapo.

Leading by example

Ginwala told the Sunday Times that the failure to reign in ANCYL leader Julius Malema and accepting salary hikes were signs of the poor quality of leadership shown by Zuma and his government.

Given the recession and high levels of unemployment, Zuma should not have granted salary increases to his officials, the former National Assembly speaker told the newspaper in an interview.

"Look at the level of political leadership in this country. It's not very good. How many of our leaders lead by example?"

In 1995 former president Nelson Mandela announced salary cuts in his administration, and, more recently Thabo Mbeki refused for years to take salary increases when he was head of state.

This lack of leadership manifested itself in allowing ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to insult "older people", such as Mbeki, ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former education minister Naledi Pandor.

"When he (Malema) was speaking the way he was, a number of people stopped me in the street and said: 'How do you allow that boy to speak to elders in this way?'

"If he was engaging in political debate in the national executive committee, no one expects him not to speak his mind. But publicly... you could still put the ideas across with some respect for your elders. Now that is where we are running ourselves down," the paper quoted her as saying.

Following the storm around the appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions, she said she "fully" stood by her report which was critical of Simelane's handling of Vusi Pikoli's suspension.