Thu Dec 08 16:21:37 SAST 2016

Malema is right, Zuma is not the president SA needs

The Times Editorial | 2012-07-02 00:37:07.0

The Times Editorial: It is amazing to watch the continuing fallout between President Jacob Zuma and his erstwhile best-boy, Julius Malema.

As the ANC gathered in Midrand this past week to discuss the party's future policies, there was one notable absentee at Gallagher Estate - Malema.

The former ANC Youth League leader obviously could not attend the conference because he has been cast adrift by the party.

But it was too much to have expected the young man from Polokwane to remain silent about the Midrand deliberations or Zuma (who once reckoned Malema had the characteristics of a future president).

How the mighty have fallen. And how bitter a young man he has become, lashing out at Zuma - who in some respects clearly played the father figure to him.

In an interview published yesterday, Malema vented bitterly, saying he was not convinced that the spy tapes - the controversial recordings that led to criminal charges against Zuma being dropped - ever existed.

He went further, telling the Sunday Times that Zuma did not have what it takes to be president and that the prospect of his serving a term was "scary and traumatic".

Of course, Malema speaks from a handicapped position, without the protective cloak of the ANC. He is an outcast, no longer the prince who could turn misfortune into fortune, as he did for Zuma.

And yet there is truth in what Malema now says. It is exactly what many South Africans feared to be the case when former president Thabo Mbeki was vanquished at Polokwane - that Zuma as a compromise candidate would not be good for the country.

Unfortunately, it is too late to turn back the clock. But what can certainly be avoided is to continue with a compromised candidate who has done little to move South Africa forward.

This country can ill afford another term of Zuma.

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