ANOTHER week, another humiliating confirmation of President Jacob Zuma’s lack of judgment. Not for the first time, he shares the shame with "Justice" Minister Jeff Radebe in having their appointment of Menzi Simelane as head of the National Prosecuting Authority reversed by the Constitutional Court.
Forget the private life. It’s the public life that’s so disturbing. A rigged dropping of corruption charges ahead of his first general election, the botched appointments of Willem Heath and a chief justice, the retention of the worst education minister in our history, the spending of more than R200m (so far!) of public money on his private home, the silence in the midst of the implosion of the mining industry and our standing as an investment destination and, without doubt, much more of the same to come.
Zuma, it must be said, never promised anything else. He never said he would lead the country. He said he would do what the African National Congress (ANC) told him to do. Sure, he also runs the ANC but that is by committee, so he is perfectly protected. JZ, as he often reminds us, knows his party.
This is a group of men and (a few) women who bring a whole new meaning to the concept of liberation. Luckily, they are so incompetent at almost everything they do that the country may actually be big enough to survive them.
There’s not much use complaining about the ANC. It gets to fill in its own scorecard. The delegates to its conference in December will represent only one in every 10,000 citizens. Someone else is going to have to make the case (of itself not difficult) for a reform of the way we vote that is more democratic and more attractive to the majority. It’ll happen. You can’t hide from accountability forever.
I’M NOT in the "fire the Springbok coach" brigade but, by his own standards ("we’re not building for the next World Cup, we’re trying to win every game"), he is failing. We were lucky to hold Argentina to a draw. Is it a Bulls thing that he seems fixated with the pack? Or that only flyhalves should kick goals?
He did the right thing by (finally) dropping Morne Steyn, but to throw all his eggs into the basket of an inexperienced Johan Goosen is just silly. To then start him against the All Blacks on Saturday with a bruised heel and give him the first kicks at goal was mad. Goosen played at least 15 minutes of that game in pain, so all we know about him after two starts is that he stands flatter than Steyn did (so would my granny), runs a bit with the ball (like most decent flyhalves), and passes to his centres (ditto). Patrick Lambie (there I go again) can do that. And so, we now know, can Elton Jantjies. And they kick goals better.
If the coach can’t start with the right 15, how does he finish with the right score? I know everyone is trying their best, especially the players, but come on! Bringing Lambie on with less than 20 minutes to play is just patronising. I didn’t see Zane Kirchner do a single interesting thing on Saturday, and I’m sure he was trying his best too.
SA WOULD be poorer without the Sisulu family. They have taken a load of pain in recent years with the loss of first Walter and then Albertina and, last week, Zwelakhe. He was a wonderful man and most people who knew him have a story to tell. I first met him on the Rand Daily Mail in the 1970s and I remember him roping me into a long road trip to near Tzaneen to find Mamphela Ramphele in her place of banishment at the time. She wanted to give us instructions on opening discreet bank accounts for foreign donors to her clinic.
Zwelakhe would have enjoyed the fact that she is still telling people what to do. He lent real class to the struggle against apartheid and he did it without forgetting he was a journalist.
The story is told of how, as head of the SABC, to avoid phone calls from then president Nelson Mandela for blanket TV coverage of Joe Slovo’s funeral, he simply left town until it was too late.
As ANC royalty, he rightly refrained from openly criticising the state of the party today, but I doubt he would have been much pleased.
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