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Mon Nov 24 02:05:42 SAST 2014

South Africa does have leadership: Zuma

Sapa | 15 November, 2012 16:04
President Jacob Zuma in parliament. File photo.
Image by: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

The claim that there is no leadership in South Africa "is totally out of order", President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Replying to questions in the National Assembly, he said the leadership in the country could be divided into many categories - in political parties, in government, and society.

Zuma was responding to Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota, who said South Africa needed leadership urgently, and leadership for society had to come from government.

"Right now, the country is in turmoil; the levels of unrest and civil disobedience are climbing every day."

Workers' lives were being lost every day. There were conflicting messages coming from ministers.

Some were encouraging workers to do "things that are lawless and so on", and in the process more jobs were being lost instead of built, he said.

"Our situation is going to be become completely untenable. Extraordinary conditions and circumstances require extraordinary efforts on the part of leadership," Lekota said.

"And I want to ask the question, Mr President, why are you so quiet? Why do we not see decisive leadership on your part?"

Zuma replied that leadership should not be "selective".

"One of the interesting things is a definition of the leadership of this country.

"Now, I don't know what do we have here in this parliament. Whether these are not leaders of their own parties.

"And the pertinent question, what do they do in this House to give leadership to this country as representatives of the people, the public. Now why then should the question be selective? Is this not a leadership? Are you not a leader?" he asked.

"This call, that there is no leadership in this country, is totally out of order. There's a leadership in this country which you could divide in many categories. In political parties... there's a leadership in government, there's a leadership in society.

"That is why when Marikana happened the leadership immediately moved in, the church, the traditional leaders, the government," he said.

Zuma dismissed the claim that Cabinet ministers were sending out different messages.

"I have not heard my ministers conflicting on these issues. They've been going to address the issues, as they pertain to their very specific portfolios, ever since we've had the strikes. They've been there."

In response to African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe, Zuma denied knowledge of efforts to make the Western Cape "ungovernable".

Meshoe said there had been "calls for the Western Cape to be made ungovernable, and we have not heard the president respond to that".

"So my question to the president now is, in the light of what is happening, particularly now in the Western Cape, what is the president saying to those who are perpetually and continually using violence and the loss of property when they are striking, and also what is the president saying about this call to make the Western Cape ungovernable?" he asked.

Zuma responded: "I've not said anything about people who talk about the ungovernability (sic) of the Western Cape. Well I don't know what it means, exactly. Absolutely.

"Unless you unpack it to me, what it means, because it might mean either protest because of the very harsh conditions here, which is happening throughout the country.

"I don't know what it means. If you unpack it to me I will be able to make a very intelligent comment to you," he said.

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