South Africans seem to have mixed feelings about the newly elected ANC president, Jacob Zuma. While some trust him as much as Eskom, others hero worship the chap. But what Activate really wants to know is how Rhodents feel about him.
Since I spent practically my entire second year doing in-depth research on Mr J Zuma for my sociology research project about his rape trial, I was extremely shocked, to say the least, when lo and behold I read that he was the new ANC president. The man who had proclaimed to the world that he took a shower to prevent contracting Aids, although at one point in time he was the National Aids Council president. Not to mention, the same man who is currently facing corruption charges. I really couldn’t believe my eyes. Aren’t South Africans the same people who like mocking us Zimbabweans for the mess that our country has gotten into? You would think that they themselves would at least elect someone whose recent claims to fame do not involve rape or corruption. I mean, does SA really want to start slowly heading down the same path as Zim? Except they knew that Zuma is of questionable moral fibre from the get-go. I guess time will tell when the presidential elections come round and we see who South Africans have decided is a fit and proper person to lead their country for the next few years.
Melinda Sango, 4th year LLB
There are some who say they will leave the country if this man becomes president and there are even groups on Facebook bent on stopping him from taking power. But what is it that scares everyone so much about a Zuma presidency? Is it the politician or the man? Are we more concerned about the moral fibre of our leaders than the policies they bring to the table? Let’s take Jacob Zuma as our case in point. Questions such as poverty, crime and the death penalty were swerved or otherwise bungled by Mbeki but if national newspaper reports are to be believed President-elect Zuma would take a harder line on these issues. It seems to me that we struggle to separate the personal from the political and that after the rape and corruption allegations Zuma has faced we are left with the image of a man who will take a shower in a time of crisis before placing his purportedly greedy hands in our nation’s cookie jar. We must remember that he is thus far an innocent, albeit naive man who has been elected to lead his party through a free and fair vote. While many of us may hope that he will be found guilty in his looming corruption case we must let the law and ultimately democracy run its course. I’m not saying that I’m a Zuma fan, far from it in fact. What I’m saying is that if come 2009 Zuma is still legally permissible for office, let’s judge Zuma the politician. If he fails to deliver as president then he will be held to account. The fact that we will be ushering in our 3rd democratically elected leader in 15 years while our neighbours have suffered under Uncle Bob for the best part of 30 years is reason enough to be proud of our democracy. My conclusion? Don’t go booking your flight to Perth just yet.
Lloyd Meikle, 3rd Year Bjourn