Wor­ries over another Zuma as SA leader

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE VERVE - Rev Maudu Morudu

THE ANC is un­de­ni­ably in an in­tractable sit­u­a­tion with re­gard to its next pres­i­dent after Ja­cob Zuma.

The heat of the suc­ces­sion de­bate is so high be­cause the party’s 54th na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber is char­ac­terised by some­thing un­usual – the gen­der is­sue.

Those who are wait­ing for bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­ery this year are prob­a­bly go­ing to be for­got­ten by the ANC-led govern­ment since the fo­cus is on the party’s lead­er­ship bat­tle.

It has been the ANC’s modus operandi that any per­son who is the deputy pres­i­dent be­comes the pres­i­dent.

Nel­son Mandela was the ANC’s deputy pres­i­dent when Oliver Tambo was the pres­i­dent. Mandela sub­se­quently be­came the party’s pres­i­dent.

So it was with Thabo Mbeki and Ja­cob Zuma – they were both the deputy pres­i­dents be­fore they were pres­i­dents.

It was ob­vi­ous for all those who were deputy pres­i­dents that they would as­cend to the pres­i­den­tial po­si­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, the sit­u­a­tion is com­pletely dif­fer­ent this time for Cyril Ramaphosa.

Gen­der had never been an is­sue in the ANC un­til lately when it be­came a se­ri­ous topic. Pre­vi­ously the ANC spoke about the pres­i­dent, re­gard­less of whether the can­di­date was a man or a woman. The is­sue is dif­fer­ent to­day. The party is di­vided. For ex­am­ple, the ANC Women’s League is vig­or­ously calling for a woman pres­i­dent, hence Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is its pre­ferred can­di­date.

Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma are so far the main con­tenders for the ANC’s pres­i­dency.

I’m op­posed to those who are claim­ing that South Africa is “now” ready for a woman pres­i­dent. What makes the coun­try ready now and why wasn’t it ready for a fe­male pres­i­dent since 1994? Can it be that no fe­male mem­ber was suit­able ex­cept for Dlamini Zuma?

It’s known that Pres­i­dent Zuma backs a fe­male pres­i­dent and is be­hind his ex-wife as­cend­ing the throne. This can sim­ply be in­ter­preted to mean that he’s den­i­grat­ing Ramaphosa and us­ing it as a way of dis­cour­ag­ing his ef­forts to get the ANC’s top po­si­tion.

I say this be­cause there are those who be­lieve that Zuma is a crowd-puller for the ANC. It means that he wields enormous in­flu­ence within the party and for him to openly sup­port hav­ing a fe­male pres­i­dent is also a way to in­flu­ence and strengthen sup­port for his ex-wife.

Per­haps it would have been good for Zuma as the pres­i­dent of the party to re­main silent and sus­tain im­par­tial­ity on the mat­ter.

Nev­er­the­less, pol­i­tics is a game of its own and he’s aware that should his ex-wife be­comes the pres­i­dent, he may be given a govern­ment po­si­tion ei­ther in­side or out­side the coun­try.

Even those push­ing for ei­ther a male or fe­male pres­i­dent are con­fi­dent that they will be given a piece of the pie once their pre­ferred can­di­date be­comes the pres­i­dent.

Surely Dlamini Zuma is hav­ing a more ex­ten­sive po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in govern­ment struc­tures than Ramaphosa. I don’t agree with those who say she’s us­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence as a phe­nom­e­non that en­ti­tles her to be the next pres­i­dent of the ANC. That’s an il­lu­sion.

Po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship is more about qual­i­ties than ex­pe­ri­ence, re­gard­less of whether that per­son is a man or a woman.

Mandela had no ex­pe­ri­ence in the govern­ment be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent. How­ever, be­cause of the qual­i­ties he pos­sessed, he emerged as one of the most ex­cep­tional pres­i­dents in the world, and is ad­mired and re­spected posthu­mously.

Whether a man or a woman, the ANC needs a leader with good qual­i­ties.

Come De­cem­ber, let a leader of that cal­i­bre be­come the ANC’s pres­i­dent. Temba, Ham­man­skraal

NEXT IN LINE? Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, right, and then deputy pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe with Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left. Zuma is back­ing his ex-wife for his own po­lit­i­cal agenda, says the writer.

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