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Wed Dec 07 20:16:48 SAST 2016

Don’t count on Zuma transforming much

Bruce Gorton | 2014-05-26 14:57:16.0
President Jacob Zuma raises his glass at a victory rally of his ruling ANC in Johannesburg.
Image by: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS

President Jacob Zuma has pledged to make transforming the economy the focus of his second term.

This is a bit weird, considering that economic transformation has been an ANC policy since before 1994, and one of the factors in Mbeki’s downfall was the perception that economic growth wasn’t benefiting the poor.

The thing that got me though, was the following statement made by Zuma, “We have made some progress in changing the ownership of the economy but much work must still be done."

Sure, about R250 million worth of the economy transformed into an upgrade for Zuma’s house, complete with fire pool and what I can only imagine is one swanky chicken run.

But I don’t think that is exactly the transformation everyone hopes Zuma is talking about.

Under the government’s own figures, in the five years Zuma has been in power the percentage our top bosses who are black, has gone from 20.3% in 2009 to 19.8% in 2013.

I could well imagine the Mbeki administration turning around and asking, “What do you mean we?”

And of course there are the usual platitudes about how we will tackle corruption, but frankly at this point I doubt it, not least because of how Zuma’s government is taking the public protector to court over her report, rather than actually doing anything about the corruption she uncovered.

This is the same standard pattern we’ve seen for a few years now – the protector finds something incriminating on Zuma or one of his cronies, the press gets outraged, the ANC gets busy claiming that she didn’t have the jurisdiction required to investigate it while muttering about those “white-owned newspapers.”

We saw it with the IEC, we’re seeing it with Nkandla, and we will continue to see it when Zuma is long gone.

The fact of the matter is that over 60% voted for the same corrupt government figures we have had for the past five years.

Sure the ANC's majority is slightly reduced, and they didn't get the 2/3rds they wanted, it is still over 60% of the vote saying "We're okay with all of this."

And so long as that is the case, not much is going to change.

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