I had expected to feel excitement and even elation. But by the time King Zuma finally announced the end of his reign, I felt no excitement, only sadness and relief. It reminded me of Richard Nixon’s resignation many decades ago.
Sadness at the decade that Zuma had stolen from South Africa and her people. Sadness at the millions of job and development opportunities lost, forever. Sadness at the wasted years of opportunity which he focused on building up a crooked empire and spending countless millions to stay one step ahead of a legal system that he steadily bent to serve his will. All the while he should have been attending to the development of our people and the economy.
End of an error
World-class cartoonist Zapiro put it best with a ‘cartoon’ captioned End of an Error.
I thought about Mbeki and his role in all this. How his desire to rule the ANC for a third five-year term had triggered an unstoppable ‘anyone but Mkeki’ tsunami of which the “facing imminent prosecution” Zuma had leapt to the head.
Clearly, we do have a great consitution. If it were not so, it would have collapsed years ago under the Zupta empire’s growing weight of corruption amd state capture. But my sense is that we only just survived that onslaught. A mere 100 votes could have swung the ANC Presidential election from Ramaphosa to another Zuma. I doubt the constitution would have survived that!
Less power to the president
I would hope that all parties could agree that the president (whoever he/she may be, from whichever party) has too much power and that these powers need to be reduced.
Parliament should play a greater role in key appointments: for example in the appointment of cabinet ministers and key players in the big state institutions. I would suggest that, in future. parliament should agree by majority to such appointments.
Change voting system – power to the people
Hand-in-hand needs to go a change in our electoral system. Proportional representation is a good system BUT the majority of MPs, say 70%, should be elected from individual consituencies and only the balance allocated to party lists in order to achieve proportionality to votes cast.
This way, most MPs will owe more allegiance to the voters of their particular consituency, and less allegiance to their political party. That, surely, would be a good think.
A big word of thanks is owed to all those who fought against corruption, whatever their party or organisation. However they fought, in public or behind the scenes, in politics, in NGOs, in media houses, in the churches, or as individuals. Especially those brave whisteblowers, and those leakers of documents, who laid down a trail for others to follow.
We owe them all a huge thanks for helping to save our democracy.
Good luck, Cyril
I wish Cyril Ramaphosa well. He has a huge task to perform: proving to the South African electorate that he has rooted out corruption from the ANC. But that corruption runs very deep – in many cases right down to the ANC branch member level.
And he will be trying to achieve this while corruption case after corruption case is played out every night on the television news. And key ANC player after key ANC player dons orange overalls.
And, all the while, expectations of him kick-starting the stalled economy are high. He needs to attract investment, successfully encourage job creation and economic growth, speed black empowerment; and resolve the Steinhoffian state of the government finances.
But at least, now, there is some possible light at the end of the Zuma tunnel of darkness.