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The real Zuma - let's see him

Over the last few weeks we've been privileged to watch interesting election debates between the colourful Mitt Romney and the eloquent Barack Obama. OK - perhaps he wasn't his most eloquent during the second debate but the main thing was the decision on who to put their faith in was left up to the American voter. Obama seems to have won the third and last debate that took place earlier this week.
These debates give the public a chance to hear unrehearsed answers on various topics of national importance. They get to see just how these men react, in the flesh when put under pressure. And sometimes, as Obama discovered, it doesn't always work out so well.

During the recent British Tory Party Annual Conference in Birmingham, Prime Minister David Cameron was interviewed by morning presenter Eamonn Holmes of Skye Television. In an informal, friendly interview Holmes was able to question and sometimes challenge Cameron on topics that he felt concerned his viewers, from security in their homes to education and pensions. Again, without knowing what questions were coming up Cameron answered each and every one giving his views and informing the British public just what his party was doing for them.

Meanwhile, back in SA...

We're still not exactly sure even who the ANC candidates are for the all-important Mangaung elections are in December. We've heard that various ANC luminaries are backing Kgalema Motlanthe against Zuma, although Motlanthe refuses to comment on whether he will even accept the nomination. The names Tokyo Sexwale and Fikile Mbalula amongst others have also been bandied around. The latter, although he strenuously denies it, has labelled his leader 'politically bankrupt', which doesn't bode well for future working relationships...

International speculation on the future of South Africa has been mounting weekly, as reports of divisions and in-fighting are regularly denied by the party, even though international rating agencies and political analysts around the world are obviously aware of the effect this has on South Africa.

If you were an investor who had been looking at South Africa as a 'safe investment' would you still be interested? I don't think so. Firstly you would want to have clarity of certain issues, top of which would be a stronger declaration on nationalisation, as well as land reform and taxation not to mention what incentives would be offered for foreign investment?

So where's Jacob?

Just taking the current unrest with the mining and transport workers' strikes, including the horrors of Marikana into account, our economy has taken another major nose dive.

All this uncertainty and negativity is having a direct impact of all South African business, manufacturing, retail or our own media and marketing world.

Moody's showed their feelings by downgrading our government bonds, banks and even the Old Mutual Insurance Company. A serious sign of world views on those who govern our country!

The bottom line is: When do we hear from our leaders or leaders-in-waiting? Why hasn't President Zuma been on television (and not just the biased SABC) answering off-the-cuff questions to which we all want answers? He appeared to be stumbling over his words briefly the day after Marikana and in any event told us nothing we didn't already know.

When his challengers for leadership are officially announced, wouldn't it be wonderful to see them go head-to-head in a televised debate so that we can judge just who we have the most confidence in - even if we don't have a vote?

And what about inter-party debates? Wouldn't you just love to see him go head to head with Helen Zille? Or what about the irascible Mosiuoa Lekota, president of COPE as well as Dr Pieter Mulder of the Freedom Front? Who would come out the winner? At least we would have the option to judge for ourselves.

About Marion Scher

Marion Scher ( is an award-winning journalist, lecturer, media trainer and consultant with 25 years' experience in the industry. For more of her writing, go to her Bizcommunity profile or to Twitter @marionscher.
Tim Pinder
I don't think he would dare. He isn't capable of chewing gum and staying on the pavement at the same time!But great request Marion.
Posted on 26 Oct 2012 10:27
Patric Isaac
Nice debate indeed,from where i am my belief is ANC is afraid of themselves,the picture is the window they opened for branches to nominate their preferred candidate is of a major concern,the answer is if you are afraid of yourself how can you face the outside face,by this i am referring to the debate with any opposition parties while themselves they are afraid of their own image.Democratic processes is not what Africa believe on because the term itself is of unafrican,we will always have the tendency of power hungry as we are not open to future debate in Africa,coming to Zuma if we can recall what he said before he become the president," i quote,1 term is fine for me,now he is showing us the other side of the coin,if fo example he saw something that he must fix,he must challenge opposition parties to come to the table and debate about the national issues and for the party to say he deserve second term,soon his party will be closing the debate window period before branches digest exactly,i will like it in this way,if i have 15 dogs and i have to feed them all to create confusing amongs them i will just throw 1 piece to them knowing that only the big and strong one will get it,if ANC was prepared to promote democratic processes they themselves were supposed to open this debate around June,i rest my case.
Posted on 26 Oct 2012 14:56
Mark Jackson
Zuma would never appear in a debate, the ANC would never allow it, but do investors really care? I don't think so. Investors never cared about Apartheid, not until it became a political issue for them back home. The writer might wish otherwise, but I don't expect investors to care if South Africa slides towards dictatorship... they still invest in mines in Zimbabwe don't they?
Posted on 29 Oct 2012 15:12