Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

23 January 2013

South Africa: Where Is action Man When His Country Needs Him?

press release

I have today written to President Zuma calling upon him to demonstrate the leadership that his high office requires of him. He must immediately put a stop to the ANC's campaign to discourage investment and destroy jobs through aggressive and irresponsible language and conduct.

While Mr Zuma is busy selling South Africa as an investor-friendly market at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, his actions back home, and those of the party he leads, are working towards the opposite goal. While the government talks up investment abroad, the ANC seems intent on crushing it at home.

Indeed, just two weeks after his party deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa labelled him "action man", Mr Zuma's inaction on critical issues makes it clear that he is determined to prove him wrong.

This has particuarly been the case in the period following Mr Zuma's re-election in Manguang last month.

At a fundraising breakfast with private sector businesses, President Zuma stated that businesses which support the ANC will see their fortunes "multiply". Mr Zuma has to date failed to provide a clarification as to his statement, nor has he distanced himself from the prejudicial and insulting remarks made in his defence by ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu.

Mr Zuma has not taken any visible steps to address the on-going tensions between organised labour, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, and AMPLATS following the mine's decision to retrench 14000 workers. Instead of taking action himself, he has allowed ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe to take the lead. It is deeply inappropriate for a political party representative to fulfill the responsibilities of the government, and is further evidence of the unlawful conflation of party and state which continues unchecked under the ANC.

The reality is that the mining sector faces fundamental challenges which can only be solved through decisive leadership and clear, growth-oriented government policy. Even after the horror of Marikana, Mr Zuma seems to miss this point entirely.

The Presidency also remains unwilling to address the looting of public funds for the upgrade of ministerial houses, at a cost of R65 million to the public. The continued excessive and unwarranted expenditure on "executive perks", in the face of extreme poverty and inequality, demands immediate intervention from the highest office, along with an unequivocal commitment that no such waste will be tolerated. But given that the president failed to hold himself to this standard, continuing with a R250 million upgrade to his private home, it is likely that the silence will continue.

Just this past week, the ANC, ANCYL and ANCWL attacked FNB following their publication of a positive video campaign calling on South Africans to cooperate for a better future. The ANC's accusation that FNB is guilty of "treason" is not only deeply irresponsible but points to the increasingly unconstitutional attitude of the majority party. The fact that FNB felt forced to pull the video for fear of reprisals against the children is the most shocking indictment to date of the type of environment the ANC President has created in South Africa today.

As President of the Republic and leader of the governing party, Mr Zuma has the power and responsibility to prevent such attacks from occurring, and to take decisive action where necessary, to instill real confidence in the stability of our nation. If he is truly South Africa's 'action man', and is serious about attracting investment to South Africa, then the time to act is now.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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