Do South Africans Deserve the Leadership They Get?

2012-05-13 19:55

As suspended National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele entered the hall, throngs of ANC delegates at the party’s provincial conference in KwaZulu-Natal gave him a rapturous welcome. Forgotten were the reasons for his suspension – he was the party’s hero.

How he has come to occupy such a popular position amongst the party’s faithful is a mystery to me.

Julius Malema, too, has been held in high esteem by ANC youth league members. He is labelled by his supporters as a fighter for social justice, for the poor, for the dispossessed. His lavish lifestyle and his financial dealings belie such labels – yet he too is put on the pedestal by supporters of the ruling party.

What is it about South Africans that we hold in high esteem such “leaders”?

What is it about South Africans that we keep voting for a party which promises a “better life for all” when the lot of the average South African is deteriorating by the day together with essential services?

What is it about South Africans who use their precious vote to elect a leader as flawed as Jacob Zuma?

Let us be frank. In a healthy, well functioning democracy such leaders do not stand a chance of getting to power, leave alone hanging onto power. Who can forget former US President Bill Clinton almost being impeached for having oral sex in the Oval Office with an intern? What do our leaders need to do in order to for the South African electorate to vote the other way?

Understanding this loyalty on the part of the majority of the electorate for the party which delivered them from apartheid, has allowed the ANC to become arrogant – they literally can get away with anything. Until this attitude on the part of ordinary South African voters change, I am afraid we will be stuck with this corrupt government for some time.


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