Zuma’s ‘Deurmekaar’ Presidency – A President with No Power

Lindiwe Mazibuko MP

Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Today, President Zuma came to Parliament to answer questions from Members of Parliament. This is an opportunity to not only for the President be held to account by the legislature, but also for him to provide leadership and vision for the country in dealing with the important issues of the day. The President failed dismally on both counts. South Africa, today, has a President in office, but not in power.

In response to my question on the reinstatement of Richard Mdluli, the President denied all responsibility for his reinstatement, passing the buck to the ‘departmental officials’ and the Minister of Police. He also failed to answer the question of whether Richard Mdluli is a fit and proper person to hold such a senior position in the SAPS.

The President is the Head of the Executive. It is unacceptable to for him dodge responsibility on key issues of state. Indeed, the ease at with which he pointed fingers elsewhere is indicative of a President unwilling and unable to take responsibility for the conduct of his cabinet, ministers and their senior officials.

President Zuma has shown himself to be either unable to act, or simply unwilling to do so. South Africa is rudderless.

This was again evident in his response to my question on whether he will ensure that investment arms of political organizations, such as the ANC’s Chancellor House, will not be granted tenders during the course of the infrastructure upgrade programme. Instead, he argued that politicians should not be disadvantaged from doing business with the state, and that it was not “illegal”.

The high levels of corruption in state procurement require a clear directive that politicians should not benefit from state resources. They also require a President who understands the ethical role that politicians should play in procurement by not abusing their positions of power for personal enrichment.

President Zuma has failed to do this.

In the Western Cape, the DA-led government has passed legislation prohibiting employees of the state from doing business with the provincial government. Mr. Zuma should have announced that he would do the same. Instead, he justified a major cause of corruption in South Africa today.

South Africa needs leadership. South African people need a President who is able to make tough calls, and act in the bests interests of all citizens. Today what we got was silence, a lack of accountability, and no indication that the President is really in control of his own government.

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