Academic calls for new leaders

2012-11-26 00:00

SOUTH Africa needed a new generation of leaders, academic and former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Professor Njabulo Ndebele told the DA congress yesterday.

Ndebele, who said it was the first time he ever addressed a “political rally”, told the almost 2 000 DA delegates in Boksburg: “South Africa cannot afford to have a gap in which we have a generation that has no courage”.

He added: “If there is a generation that once had courage but has chosen to throw it away, that generation of leaders must be replaced.”

Njabulo, who admitted that addressing a political gathering “frightened” him because his independence has kept him “aloof from such emotive things”, said political parties should never try to “elevate” themselves above a country.

“There is not a single party that can ever be the equivalent of a country,” he said.

“We belong to South Africa first and then to our different private affiliations. It is from such affiliations that we can then exert a public impact.”

He said since President Jacob Zuma had come into office and increasingly there was “scant regard for rules” in the game he was playing.

Ndebele said: “A plethora of challenged appointments, commissions of inquiry and a busy, underfunded public protector, are clear signs of an absent referee, who is not in the field of play.”

One of the good things of Zuma coming into power, however, was that there was more participation of ordinary citizens in government, he said.

The “commotion” caused by the game Zuma was playing “may be the true source of democratic energy,” he said.

“In commotion, everyone moves, and one movement creates another, and more movement is created, and we all move in an expansive kind of way.”

He said rulers might be frightened by this new “energy”, but “wise and able leaders learn to work with such energies”.

The DA’s two-day congress ended yesterday.

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