Guest Column

What type of leader does SA need?

2017-11-19 05:51
President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma

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Omry Makgoale 

South Africa needs a leader who will place the interests of the nation ahead of narrow party interests, narrow slates, personal self-interest and factional interests.

The country requires leaders of integrity who are not muddled in corruption.

Leaders who can be trusted.

Does the ANC have such leaders at the moment? Or is there an ANC leader who can most closely meet these expectations?

Is it possible that such leaders can be chosen by the ANC branches at the December elective conference?

Such questions cannot be answered with certainty at the moment.

Nobody knows who will be elected.

We are all guessing, hoping that our preferred leaders will be elected.

But one thing is clear: Whoever is elected will have a lot on their plate, if they are to recover the ANC from the doldrums.

What worries one is that all seven presidential candidates have been part of the mess occurring in government, the mess in Parliament and at Luthuli House.

Can any of the candidates, if chosen, spring surprises and do the opposite of what they have been doing thus far?

There are no guarantees.

Under the President Jacob Zuma government, the Guptas took over the running of parastatals such as Eskom, Transnet, Denel and the SABC in front of our eyes, while ANC MPs kept silent.

In Parliament they defended the Nkandla compound saga, and tolerated the Guptas wedding entourage’s landing at national key point Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa provided said entourage with a police escort usually accorded only to heads of state.

When asked to explain himself, Mthethwa played ignorant, blaming subordinates.

Likewise, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula played ignorant. These are people of low integrity.

Can such leaders recover the ANC from the doldrums? Can the ANC self-correct under such leaders? The answer is no.

Yet ANC members might have to settle with the team of leaders available.

The December elective conference has to deliver a team of leaders who can be trusted to salvage the ANC from the mire of corruption and despair and give the nation hope and vision – a vision of South Africa free from clutches of the mafia state and rule by low-grade thieves, a nation where the rule of law will be respected by all, starting with the president of the country, the number one citizen leading by example rather than by the lowest common denominator.

A South Africa where ministers will be appointed by merit and for their integrity rather than by cronyism; where the directors of parastatals will be appointed, not according to their proximity to the Gupta family and other parasitic families, but according to their merit, skills and integrity.

What type of leader does the ANC need?

The ANC needs a leader with a vision for the country, not a selfish leader concentrating on the narrow interest of their family, his or her tribe or cabal, and who places the interest of the gangsters, tobacco smugglers and drug lords ahead of the interest of the country.

The ANC needs a leader who is exemplary in deeds, a leader who adheres to the policy document Through the Eye of the Needle.

The question is, do we have such a leader or this is just wishful thinking?

Above all, we need leaders who will pay taxes like all citizens of the country.

We should not accept George Orwell’s Animal Farm conditions, where some leaders are “more equal than others”.

This should not be accepted or tolerated in the ANC.

We can have all these wonderful wishes, but it all boils down to two factors.

The first is the internal ANC electoral process which has been corrupted and is riddled with bribery everywhere.

Money in brown envelopes in the boots of cars and general buying of votes with promises for lucrative jobs and tenders after the elections.

This is the sorry state of ANC internal elections processes.

The minimum that can be done to save the ANC is to ensure voting by secret ballot at the December elective conference.

All voters should be screened with metal detectors to ensure nobody enters the voting booth with any unacceptable item, such as a cellphone, camera or a gun.

Voting has to be done in a secure environment with adequate personal security and CCTV to monitor the process from the entry into the voting booth, voting and leaving the booth.

The stakes are so high that we cannot leave anything to chance.

In future, electing ANC leaders should also be done on the basis of one ANC member one vote, using a biometric system.

This will minimise the rigging of the elections and clean up the ANC.

Without democratic elections of ANC leaders, the slates and factions are here to stay.

The secondary factor is that, without the reform of South Africa’s parliamentary electoral laws, state capture cannot be prevented.

To treat the whole nation as one single, huge constituency, with all MPs dependent on the integrity of political parties in selecting party lists for their placing in the National Assembly and provincial councils, is to invite state capture and corruption.

If there is one merit in the Zuma presidency, it is to have proved this in front of the eyes of the whole nation.

Neither the ANC, the EFF, the DA or any other political party or coalition of parties can be trusted to govern honestly under these conditions, where politicians are the deployees of their party bosses and not the chosen representatives of the people.

Power must be shifted from the top to the bottom, from the political elite to the people.

And the only way to do this, as the majority in the Electoral Task Team pointed out as far back as 2003, is through removing the selection of 75% of MPs away from internal party deployment to the free choice of voters in the general election, organised in large multimember constituencies.

Each of these MPs will be individually known and accountable to local voters.

Trust the people, not the politicians.

This is the only way for the ANC to atone to the people for how it has failed them, and for South Africa to recover its moral integrity and self-respect.

Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  elective conference


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