●Dinner with ANC president – Jacob Zuma
[This could be a load of old cods wollop – have no idea if it’s a joke or what but here it is any way – received via email]
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The setting took the form of an informal dinner at Terry’s home. There were around 35 guests representing a wide range of local and international interests. Terry had asked everyone to send him the questions they wanted to ask. Jacob Zuma did not want to know what the topics were in advance.
Terry summarized the questions and put them to Jacob Zuma in a concise and clear way.
1. General observations.
* Zuma spoke in a thoughtful and measured way and never moved off the subject other than to give some background to better explain his views.
* Zuma came across relaxed and comfortable. There was an air of normality about him.
* There was an assurance that there was no media present and that nothing he said that evening would be reported on
* There is a crisis.
* If Zanu-PF had won the election the results would have been declared.
* Historically Mugabe has been allowed to get away with ‘murder’ in the past. Referred to the Fifth Brigade shortly after Independence as well as the quiet ‘disappearance’ of Nkomo and other potential opposition over the years. Strange that the International community allowed him to get away with this for so many years.
This may have affected the way he continued to behave.
* Partially defended Mbeki in saying that as a mediator he cannot be seen to be taking sides and that he had to express the view ‘agreed to’ by the SADEC leaders. The meeting was supposedly heated with plenty of dissension amongst the members attending.
* MDF showed willingness to work with Zanu-PF as they have no experience in governing. Appears to be a strong military group (includes head of police and head of army) stopping Mugabe from negotiating with MDF. He was prepared to!
* Scare tactics of what happened to Charles Taylor and possible ‘revenge’ by the MDF have been used by this group to scare Mugabe.
* Government and the ANC are working behind the scenes.
* There is no leadership crisis nor is there any ‘in-fighting’ that will cause a split in the ANC. The media are largely responsible for trying to create something that isn’t.
* There is healthy debate within the ANC regarding future policies.
* The ANC works in such a way that the leader must carry out the policies set be the ANC. There are review mechanisms in place to ensure that the leader and his cabinet are doing what they are meant to be doing. The ‘style’ of leadership will vary from one leader to the next, but the principles remain the same.
* In Mandela’s time, reconciliation was the priority.
This was not Mandela’s policy, but the ANC’s.
* Mbeki was given the economy and the re-building of the economy as a priority.
* Mbeki and his cabinet are constantly under review as to whether they are carrying out the policies of the ANC.
* The priorities being set for the next leader are likely to be different. Education and Crime were mentioned.
* At no stage did Zuma assume or suggest that he would be the next leader.
* Crime has become a top priority item within the ANC.
* They are starting from the bottom up with street committees and discussing how best to deal with the problem.
* He accepts that the judicial system and the prisons are a problem.
* A bigger budget is required for the Police to be able to cope with the problem. Policemen need to be paid a better salary in order to attract the best and in order to stop the temptation of bribery.
* There is a skills crisis and RSA needs to keep every skill it has.
* There is an active campaign to bring back SA skills back to SA.
* The question of defining ‘rare skills’ is under debate.
The idea would be to make these skills fall outside the BBBEE and black empowerment requirements. A welcome statement.
* Some important skills (medical, nurses, educators, police)
need to be better compensated.
* There is a future for South Africans of every colour in SA.
* This will become a top priority item.
* Better salaries for teachers are required.
* There is no question that a future SA will require the education system to allow everyone to have at least basic skills.
* In order for our country to prosper the proper social infra-structure is required i.e. schools, hospitals, social workers, etc.
* Government cannot solve the problems facing the country on their own.
* Greater co-operation is required between business and Government.
* In order to do so, they need to plan the future together, hence his mention of a pact between them. The media pounced on this and tried to cause friction between Cosatu and Zuma.
* Labour comes into it and they need to be part of the planning of the future.
* A way has to be found to create a formal means of communication between the various Church bodies and Government. The results of such meetings must be fed back into Government and help to form future policies.
* The Church does have role to play and must be included in the overall planning of the future.
General Conclusions One cannot be sure that Jacob Zuma will be our next President. Despite the ‘cloud’ (and Zapiro’s showerhead) hanging over him, he came across as a very caring and likeable individual. He is a good communicator and comes across as someone who really cares. There are no pretensions (he told us he had no schooling) but there is no doubt that he is an intelligent man.
For the first time, we had someone painting a picture of South Africa in which we and our children all have a place. There was no denying that many challenges face us, but at the same time a quiet determination that we as South Africans have what it takes to overcome these challenges.
Should Zuma become President, he will have a very different style to Mbeki. A better communicator and an able leader.
I felt a lot more positive about the future after the meeting and would be happy to have Jacob Zuma as our next President.
* There was an assurance that there was no media present and that nothing he said that evening would be reported on [so how come its been circulated – moral of the story? Get it in writing and have yr attorney with you – really, how are 35 people not going to talk about it?]
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