Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Zuma Circus Back in Town
Well, as the Zuma Circus rolls back into town (Pietermaritzburg town to be precise), brace yourself for another few months of rabid support for the populist. Beyond that, prepare yourself for one of the defining moments of our nascent democracy's history. This trial is going to tell us a substantial amount regarding the maturity of our government and the strengths and weaknesses of the society we have all created. It's also going to give us a bearing of whether or not we need to prepare to have Jacob Zuma as a presidential candidate.

With this in mind, I was interested to see the first inferences of Cyril Ramaphosa's prospective presidential campaign. Ramaphosa would undoubtedly make a more efficient, more business-friendly president, but he will have to do a lot of campaign work to overturn the perceptions amongst the broader voter base that he is both out of touch with the rural voter and is as far from being labour-friendly as possible. He undoubtedly has the struggle credentials, but as the M&G quite rightly points out, there is a perception that he had turned his back on government to pursue big wealth in business. In a country where most live in poverty, this can only be an albatross on his back.