Zuma: The best and the worst thing that has happened to South Africa
So with Mangaung done and dusted and President Zuma being quite pleased about himself and the outcome of the conference, I can only but wonder what is going through Zuma’s mind.
He has been re-elected and it seems that he “purified” the party from all his enemies, but where to from here President? There are a number of obstacles that must seem like a giant mountain to overcome. First of all he still has this cloud of corruption hanging over him and the DA is very persistent in getting their hands on the tapes that may or may not help Zuma from the President’s office to jail. How will the dancing President dodge this bullet. Will the tapes disappear or “be stolen” or will they be altered?
There is still the issue of him financing his private home with tax payers money and the amount we are talking about is no small change. A cool 200 million rand to be precise. How will Zuma tackle corruption in his administration and the party if he himself can’t point a finger? The arms deal issue is still circling like vultures over his head and the Nkandla issue like a hungry pack of wolves just waiting for the earliest signs of weakness to grab onto something and not let go. I am sure these issues alone will keep me up at night, I wonder how Zuma is coping? If he is by some miracle prosecuted and found guilty, how will South Africa react?
Another aspect that has marked Zuma’s time in office so far has been ongoing service delivery strikes, the education system seemingly to fall apart as we struggle to even deliver text books, unrest in the mining sector which I believe is far from over, the almost certain passing of the secrecy bill (which will see us move even closer to a failed state), the ongoing corruption which seems more evident under Zuma’s reign and cadre deployment (the single most destructive policy this country has seen). All the above mentioned has done little to unsettle Zuma within the ANC formal structures. But what damage has he done to South Africa?
I am of the opinion that although Zuma is probably the worst things that could have happened to South Africa, he is probably the best thing that has happened to South Africa. When he took over from Mbeki in very dramatic circumstances he was aided by the Youth League and a very outspoken Julius Malema who has since then find himself in the wilderness. Cosatu is also being alienated with governments handling of the e Toll saga which Cosatu is dead set against. Since 2009 we have seen South Africa not move in the direction we want as Zuma promised us. With his cabinet doing absolutely nothing and no one taking accountability for the mess SA finds itself in today we are on a downward spiral and will struggle to get out of. We have a police force that nobody trusts, we have crooked politicians that steal money meant for us, we have teachers not being able to work because there are no electricity, no school buildings and no textbooks, we have a failing health care system that see people give birth on sidewalks and unrest in our most important sector which provides foreign investment and jobs.
I can’t see Zuma getting us on the right path if he hasn’t done so already, or at least give us signs that he intends to do just that. So the spiral continues and who knows where it will end. With apartheid causing more harm now as it is being used as a scapegoat by the ANC for all their short comings, they are keeping South Africans divided along racial lines and the haves and the have-nots. Young, poor, unemployed people in this country are almost at the end of their frustration. What will happen if they do reach the end? In this regard Zuma has been the worst things that has happened to South Africa. There is light at the end of the tunnel though.
With the Youth League demanding economic freedom by nationalisation of the mines and the reserve bank, more aggressive land reforms and youth employment, they are putting a lot of pressure on Zuma to lead them from poverty to what was promised by the same party in 1994. True freedom in the form of economic freedom. Little has come from all those promises. In conjunction we have seen a rise in the popularity of the DA, the official opposition in South Africa which has been seen in the past as a “white” party just as the ANC has been seen as a “black” party. If we can take the municipality election results from a couple of years back, you can only draw a conclusion that the time of these perceptions is slowly giving way to a more mature outlook on our young democracy. Voters are slowly getting fed up with all the lies they are being fed.
The DA is working really hard in previous ANC strongholds and has been improving the lives of poor South Africans. So they are visible in these areas where the ANC only seem to visit during election times. The face of the DA is also changing with young Lindiwe Masibuko and kie making their presence felt and voices heard throughout 2012. Couple this to the alienation of the Youth League and Cosatu as well as a considerable part of the ANC in its formal structures, the only conclusion from all this is that South Africa is growing up as a democratic country. People will voice their opinions at the poll. I am sure we will see a fall in the ANC’s popularity. If those voters will have the nerve to vote for a “white party” will have to be seen in due time, but I can’t see the ANC getting more than 60% of the vote at the next general election which is in 2014. That in itself is still a lot of support, but another terms of the ANC after 2014 with Zuma at the helm will see that 60% majority shrink considerably come 2019. So Zuma is good for something after all. He will through his corrupt, inept and totally jovial way, mature South Africa’s democracy. I just wonder what will be left of South Africa after another 7 years of ANC rule.