26 May 2014

South Africa: Zuma Reloaded - Gigantic New Team, Ambiguous Mission, Same Mirages

Photo: Antoine de Ras/Sapa
Jacob Zuma is sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for a second term as president of South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.


The one thing President Jacob Zuma needed to do through the appointment of his new Cabinet was create the impression that he was starting his second term with a clean slate. There is certainly enough big news in the announcement to produce that impression - South Africa's first black African Finance Minister, a new ministry for Small Business Development, two separate ministries for communications and new occupants in most portfolios. Zuma is also sharing his office space in the West Wing of the Union Buildings with four new people - Cyril Ramaphosa, Jeff Radebe, Susan Shabangu and Buti Manamela. But is Zuma's second term going to be different from his dreadful first administration?

What must have gone through President Jacob Zuma's mind during his inauguration as he stood gazing through the bulletproof glass enclosure at the Union Buildings at the sweeping panorama of Pretoria? It would have been a big moment for anyone, having just taken the Presidential Oath of Office in front of a host of other heads of state, two of his predecessors, the political and business elite and his family.

He would have seen the South African flag fluttering in the breeze and smoke...

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