We need politicians who care‚ says Trevor Manuel

11 July 2017 - 21:34 By Katharine Child
Trevor Manuel. File photo.
Trevor Manuel. File photo.
Image: Times Media

To fix South Africa we need politicians who care‚ unlike the current leadership‚ says former finance minister Trevor Manuel.

Manuel was extremely critical of the current ANC leadership's corruption saying the "only reason they misbehave‚ is because there is no constraint on how much they accumulate."

Manuel was speaking at The Pretoria University's Gordon Institute of Business Science on Tuesday night alongside Nedbank CEO Mike Brown‚ and AngloGold Ashanti Chairman Sipho Pityana.

The former politician pulled no punches when he spoke of the corruption in the ANC.

He said to improve South Africa one had to ask: "How can we construct a political structure with men and women who care? That is the challenge. The role of the person who convenes that structure (the president] needs to believe in a caring government."

Manual said of his time in government "I have been privileged to be part of teams that care‚ teams that have been held accountable for their actions."

"Where heads of state pull you over and say I am not happy with what your[department] is doing."

He said the former government was different to the current one where the "order of the day was a head of state who demanded favours of people".

He also commented on the need for South Africa to grow an inclusive economy. Manuel said South Africa could create an inclusive economy by making leaders to account. Then he joked: "We don't even have a Public Protector who can go to court – without changing her mind."

He was referring to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's decision not to defend in court her controversial recommendation that parliament change the constitution in order to alter the SA Reserve Bank powers.

Pityana said it was the business community's job to stand up and tell President Jacob Zuma that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was not right for the job.

He said that Gigaba had been linked to the Guptas in the Gupta leaked emails and did not have the "confidence" of the nation or "integrity" to be minister.

In response to a question asking whether Manuel should have been President of South Africa‚ Pityana said:

"It is an indictment on our society –that [Trevor Manuel]‚ somebody comes from humble beginnings‚ who pulled himself up by his bootstraps.... acquitted himself in public very well‚ in desperate times doesn't qualify to [work in politics]."

"Instead we sit with a leader who doesn't know what he is doing"‚ said Pityana, criticising Zuma.

Pityana slammed Zuma for "continuing to surround himself with people who lack skills that the nation needs today."

He then called for ANC MP Makhosi Khoza to be the next president‚ saying she was prepared to risk her own life to stand up to corruption in the ANC and she stood for the ANC of the freedom fighters.