Apr 20, 2012
SA’s leadership crisis reaches beyond the political realmBack
Mangaung|Nedbank|South Africa|Jacob Zuma|Julius Malema|Richard Mdluli
© Reuse this
Is the manner in which the ANC is responding to the Malema challenge going to divide the ruling party more than it does the ANCYL, or is the end nigh for Malema and other leaders of the Youth League? Anyone who has definitive answers to these questions is either a liar or lacks a proper understanding of the fluidity and, therefore, the complexity of the balance of forces, support and scandals in the ruling party. What we must bear in mind is that the ANC leadership is responding to a range of challenges that are not limited to the Youth League and Malema challenge. The ANC is faced with the task of managing a range of negative perceptions about its capacity to lead.
First, there are perceptions that the Malema matter has caused divisions in the party and that these divisions extend to the top leadership structures of the party. Attached to this is the perception that some leaders of the party are behind Malema and, therefore, have aligned themselves with forces within the ANC and the ruling alliance that want to unseat President Jacob Zuma at the Mangaung conference of the ANC.
Second, the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that the Democratic Alliance does have locus standi in relation to whether the April 2009 decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to withdraw charges of corruption against Zuma can be reviewed. In short, we cannot rule out the possibility that, if Zuma is re-elected in Mangaung, at some point after his re-election, the country might face a constitutional crisis if the Constitutional Court finds that the NPA deision was indeed unlawful.
Third, suspicions that some decisions, such as the decision to reinstate police intelligence chief Richard Mdluli, are part of the President’s strategy of self- preservation.
Fourth, some are of the view that the ANC is becoming a threat to our constitutional democracy. The concern arises from decisions by the party and government to review the judgments of the Constitutional Court and the SCA. The suspicion is that the ANC seeks to castrate the judiciary.
Further, there is a growing chorus of voices in civil society and big business that are critical of what is seen as a lack of leadership in the ANC and government.
In fact, in an unusual move, Reuel Khoza, in his capacity as Nedbank group chair- person, wrote at the end of March: “South Africa is widely recognised for its liberal and enlightened Constitution, yet we observe the emergence of a strange breed of leaders who are determined to undermine the rule of law and override the Constitution.” Before I continue, two questions arise: Are the words ‘liberal’ and ‘enlightened’ not value laden? When did this ‘strange breed of leaders’ emerge? In other words, is Khoza not arguing from a particular ideological and political vantage point, and are his views broadly representative of business sentiment on national issues and lack of leadership?
Unfortunately, the ANC, in its response, betrayed a lack of both thought and leader- ship. The secretary-general of the ruling party, Gwede Mantashe, argued: “Reuel Khoza must sell Nedbank and not venture into something he doen’t know.” In a radio interview, Mantashe insisted that Khoza was blaming his lack of success as a business leader on others.
Lamentations of lack of leadership by business leaders tend to invoke mixed feelings in me. I have no doubt that South Africa is poorly led. This is not to suggest that the lack of leadership betrays a lack of leaders. All I am saying is that we seem to have serious talent when it comes to choosing the wrong people as leaders. There is, as a result, a disconnect between our national strategic goals and the individuals we deploy as leaders in key areas of national life.
That said, statements about lack of leadership sometimes bemoan the absence of a particular kind of leadership, that is, leaders who fail to promote our narrow interests. The challenge of leadership in South Africa is for leaders to be able to transcend the narrow interests of key social partners, or anatagonists, such as big business and big labour. My contention, therefore, is that our crisis of leadership has a reach wider than the realm of politics.
I have deliberately said very little about what is likely to happen to the political fortunes of Zuma and Malema. The challenges of leadership, poverty, unemployment, the possibility of class and racial cleavages and that of deepening the democratic experience of citizens call for effective leadership across the board.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Aubrey Matshiqi News
Article contains comments
Updated 2 hours 27 minutes ago The African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) board of directors on Wednesday approved a $20-million trade finance line of credit to be provided to housing and habitat company Shelter Afrique (SHAF) to boost the availability of trade finance instruments to small and...
Updated 2 hours 33 minutes ago South African construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R) on Wednesday said the proposed acquisition of the outstanding shares in Australian company Clough had been implemented, making Clough a wholly owned subsidiary of the group. M&R, which previously already held a...
Updated 3 hours ago French nuclear vendor Areva has welcomed the publication of the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) update report, notwithstanding its proposal that the integration of new nuclear capacity should be delayed and scaled back, or even abandoned entirely should the...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
Projects in Progress - Second Edition (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s second Projects in Progress supplement considers some of the major project developments under way, including high-profile energy and transport projects, as well as a few of the lower-profile public and private developments. What remains apparent is...
Water 2013: A review of South Africa’s water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2013 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Canadian Mining Roundup for June 2013 (PDF Report)
The June 2013 roundup includes details of the development of TSX-V-listed Aldridge Minerals’ flagship Yenipazar polymetallic project, in Turkey; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s renewal of Cameco’s uranium mining licence pertaining to the Cigar Lake...
This Week's Magazine
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) has introduced a 4x2 derivative of its Pajero Sport sports-utility vehicle (SUV), which will give it access to a substantial slice of the full-size SUV market, where it will compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Chevrolet...
South African Energy Minister Ben Martins has affirmed that the government wants the country to be globally competitive in the nuclear sector. "Our responsibility has always been ... to ensure that, in nuclear energy, South Africa can compete with the rest of the...
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) president and CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann describes the new S-Class as “a special place to be”, with the car creating a sense of “wellness” once you are seated inside the German brand’s flagship model. It is difficult to argue...
Water scarcity and water-quality issues are broadly recognised and understood in most political, business and civil organisations in South Africa, but solving water issues will require wide and continuous action in catchments and municipalities by organisations and...
Work is well under way on the R212-million Imvutshane dam, 30 km north-west of Stanger, in KwaZulu-Natal, which is a key link in supplying people in rural Maphumulo with a reliable source of safe drinking water.
Next ArticleWas the ANC sold a dummy during Codesa?