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Fri Nov 28 15:21:58 CAT 2014

Mandela-style leadership discarded for self-enrichment

The Times Editorial | 09 November, 2012 00:05

The Times Editorial: Call the tabling of a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma yesterday in parliament a stunt, but frustrations about the direction this country has taken have reached boiling point.

Opposition parties, some of whom might not be around after the 2014 general election, know they do not have the numbers to impeach Zuma. They clearly know that most ANC MPs are unlikely to cross the floor and support their motion of no confidence.

But instead of lambasting the parties for wasting our time, we should sympathise with them.

South Africa today is faced with a number of challenges that need, if not a miracle, a ruling party that is bold and visionary.

Our problems do not lie with Zuma alone but with a party that fails to demand the best from its members.

The problem is also an electorate that continues to support an electoral system that disempowers it.

Now the politics of the stomach and tenders have taken centre stage. Even politicians who in the past stood in the front to challenge the unjust apartheid system are today defending the worst of our leaders.

No matter how useless you are as an MP, you are guaranteed your job as long as you support a winning ANC slate.

So we need to sympathise with the opposition parties because the space they operate in is skewed against them.

As long as our electoral system empowers political parties, as opposed to voters, to decide who holds office, a majority party will dictate terms for us all.

Whether Zuma is impeached or not, South Africa should be concerned that the high leadership standards set by former president Nelson Mandela while in office have been discarded.

To measure progress, or the lack thereof, one needs an effective gauge.

In South Africa it seems the leadership-measuring instrument has been stolen.

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