Zuma up against it as he tries to steer through the storm - Times LIVE
   
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Zuma up against it as he tries to steer through the storm

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-09-26 00:12:38.0
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.

The Times Editorial: Our president faces a trying week. Jacob Zuma arrived home yesterday from the US, where his schedule included leading the South African team to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, attending the UN's high-level meeting on Libya, and receiving an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Texas Southern University, in Houston.

Let's hope he's feeling refreshed because a series of potentially momentous decisions - both for the country and for Zuma's future as leader of the ruling party - await his attention back home.

The president will, in short order, have to set in motion the inquiry to investigate the police headquarters leasing scandal and define the terms of reference of the judicial commission that will investigate allegations of corruption in the multibillion-rand arms deal.

Deciding whether to suspend his former ally, national police commissioner Bheki Cele, pending the outcome of the lease-deals inquiry, is likely to prove particularly taxing for Zuma. He will also have to find a palatable way of dealing with Public Works Enterprises Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, who was lambasted by the Public Protector for her role in the leasing debacle.

Then there's the small matter of making a decision about two of the country's spy chiefs who have fallen out with State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele - and deciding what action to take against Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka for his alleged breach of the executive code.

Lurking in the background like the proverbial elephant in the room is the ANC's disciplinary hearing against Julius Malema.

By dragging his feet in dealing with many of these issues, and then suddenly springing into action with one eye on the ANC's elective conference next year, Zuma has helped create a perfect political storm.

It remains to be seen whether he will be able to weather it.

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