It is now three years under the presidency of Jacob Zuma. We therefore cannot avoid the question: is South Africa better?
We ought first to focus on Zuma promises, before we reflect generally on other matters of national importance.
In his early days as president, Zuma identified job creation as an area of priority. Given our grave unemployment situation, his emphasis was understandable.
But has Zuma created jobs? In the beginning, Zuma was bold to throw concrete numbers in the sky: 500 000 jobs per annum, 5 million jobs in the next five years, etc.
The problem arose when wishful thinking collided with facts. Zuma’s job creation promises were made in the midst of a crippling global economic recession.
In the first year of Zuma’s presidncey, more than a million South Africans lost their jobs – while Zuma was dishing out unrealistic promises.
Of late, Zuma’s government seems to be waking up to reality; promises of jobs are no longer accompanied by hard numbers.
Infrastructure development is now the buzzword. This is in the context of a downwardly revised economic growth forecast of 2.7% in the current financial year. That the global economy is far from recovery is a fact.
On matters beyond economics, there aren’t signs that three years of a Zuma government have put South Africa in a better shape.
How many cabinet reshuffles have we had in three years? While spin doctors would have us believe that this is a sign of a leader committed to improving performance, instability in government is the true outcome.
Under Zuma, governance in some provinces has come to a halt – to the extent that the national government has had to take over. All this took place even as Zuma’s office boasts a new ministry of monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring and evaluating what?
Even after our saviour, Thuli Madonsela, forced Zuma finally to fire a suspicious minister of public works and to suspend a cow-boy police commissioner, allegations of corruption in government tenders continue to decorate front pages of newspapers.
We should remember that Zuma is an alleged criminal. Should we be surprised, therefore, that since he took over state power, the criminal justice system has almost totally collapsed?
In addition to our current Chief Justice, we have an NPA led by an acting head – after the courts declared our president irrational. The police also look like a movie, with Richard Mdluli staring. Scary – not so?
The circus has stretched to the intelligence community, leaving the pubic in a state of disbelief. Forced resignations in the intelligence abound.
In the realm of foreign policy, South African travelers and diplomats now have the difficult task of explaining why our president does not stop accumulating wives.
While Zuma must be credited for securing South Africa’s membership in BRICS, benefits thereof remain an allegation.
Not long ago, we all woke up to the embarrassment of Zuma’s failed attempt to install his ex-wife as chairperson of the AU. What, exactly, was he trying to do?