Zuma and the presidency: telling it like it is.

Author:Mzekwe, Toots
Position:THIS MONTH'S PRIZE LETTER - Letter to the editor

Thank you for the balanced reporting you brought to the issue of Jacob Zuma, his presidency of the ANC and the probability that he will be the South African leader following our elections next year (Emergence of a People's Champion, African Business, February 2008 issue).

I have to say that I have been truly shocked at the way the domestic South Africa media has responded to Zuma's victory in the ANC presidential elections.


Much of South Africa's business press has described Zuma's ascendancy to the ANC's leadership as some kind of national disaster. Perhaps it really needed a reputable pan-African publication like African Business to bring some perspective to the whole succession issue and also to recognise that Zuma is really a man of the people.

Unlike the incumbent South African president, Thabo Mbeki, Zuma has consistently reflected the aspirations and concerns of the ordinary man in South Africa. The problem with Mbeki is that while he may have been intellectually prepared and groomed to take power, he consistently displayed an arrogant and aloof attitude with the ordinary public.

It is true that South Africa's elite--mainly the wealthy whites and coloureds but increasingly a powerful black middle class--just loved Mbeki. That was because he did so little to redistribute wealth, to narrow the yawning gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Instead, he seems to have believed in the trickle...

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