Dear Mr President,
I see a lot in the media about your first 100 days. Seeing that you gave yourself 8/10, I thought I would do my own rating. I hope you don’t mind I have chosen 10 key points and given you a score for each. [1 = Well done. ½ = could do better. 0 = Poorly done.]
1. New appointments: SOEs and Crime Fighting [1 point]
After 9 years of catastrophic leadership that has brought SA to the edge of bankruptcy, kleptocracy and a race war, it is refreshing to have a president who is trying to reboot the ANC and reset the compass to true north again. Your appointment of Pravin over Public Enterprises was my favourite. The clean-up operation of Eskom, Transnet and SAA has begun well. I hear Lebeya will give the Hawks their claws back. We look forward to the next 1000 days as these bear fruit. Well done and keep going.
2. Fraser and Abrahams – compromises, calculations or convictions? [½ point]
Well done for removing that Zuma keeper, Arthur Fraser, from the State Security Agency. We’ll give you some credit there for acting swiftly. However, instead of putting him being behind bars you put him in charge of all the jails! Why did you compromise this one? Does he know too much? Shawn Abrahams still head of the NPA for 1,114 days and counting – seriously? I understand you may be calculating your next move with court cases all over the show but please make this end soon. We need you to act from conviction and we need to see more convictions as the rule of law is restored. For too long number one was above the law, now we need to see that no-one is above the law.
3. Winning the SARS War [1 point]
Some more credit your way, though, for suspending Tom Moyane. We hope that you will win that SARS War soon. Oh, and please find some good work for Pillay and see if you can get Dramat out of that early retirement deal for his silence. Not sure if Van Loggerenberg still wants to help, but you can give that man a Bells.
4. Restoring confidence: economy and investments [1 point]
Well done for restoring some confidence in the economy and for saving us from further downgrades even though we are still mainly at junk status. Your 5 year investment goal to attract $100 billion is a masterstroke. I am glad to hear that the World Economic Forum wants to bring 100 business people to South Africa for a round table on investment. We have to overcome unemployment if we are to find our way back to a higher road again. Stay focussed on this.
5. State capture Commission of Inquiry a bit slow off the mark [½ point]
The deadline set by the former Public Protector for the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to be established expired over a year ago. Maybe it is better late than never. So, thank you for appointing Judge Raymond Zondo and getting those wheels turning albeit slowly. This is going to define your Presidency. We remember well that you occupied the 2nd highest office in the land for the past 4 years and in the ANC for the past 6 years while your boss was looting away and you either turned a blind eye or appeared powerless to do anything about it. We don’t buy your story that only the GuptaLeaks opened your eyes last year. We know how much you knew and when you knew it. From Vytjie Mentor in 2010 to Mcebisi Jonas in 2015, the whistle-blowers were all around you. If you need to jog your memory read Pieter du Toit’s neat summary in HuffPost yesterday. This is now your mountain to climb if you are to regain your moral fibre and prove to us that you did not sell your soul in those dark years. Redemption is possible. [½ point]
6. A walking president in touch with the people [1 point]
In your very first speech you moved our hearts with the words of the late Hugh Masekela when you called us to say “thuma mina” – send me. We have been trying to do what you said, lending a hand and saying here I am send me too wherever we can. Respect to you too for how you cut your investment roadshow short to come back to intervene in the recent crisis in the North West Province all about that man Supra. That is a president in touch with your people. When you are in touch you can be a super man. I also love the way you walk at 5am so often in different communities. You are our walking president. You seem to be walking your way into the hearts of many citizens and not just the ANC supporters. Keep walking, sir.
7. How about a walk in Marikana? [0 points]
Why have you not yet taken a walk in Marikana. Visiting this community, where one of the greatest tragedies since Sharpeville took place, needs to on your urgent agenda. When you walk there, take Julius and Mmusi with you. Take the police commissioner. Take some non-party political community leaders, union leaders and church leaders too. Keep the politics out. Take some mining bosses too. Acknowledge the grievances, the injustices and commit to put them right. We are watching this space.
8. The ANC Premier League [½ point]
Well done for ushering Supra Mahumapelo into early retirement but the jury is still out whether you will be able to break the back of the ANC Premier League. We note with interest that Ace Magashule and David Mabuza hold two of the four most powerful positions in the ANC. Is the CoI into State Capture going to sift them out? We saw how close the race at Nasrec was and how you may have had to compromise to appease the factions? A word of advice – break the back of that league or you will forever be having to watch your back.
9. Land reform – we’ve got to get this right. [½ point]
Ok, so you have got us talking and debating about the land issues. We need sustainable land reform and we needed it yesterday. Land restitution has failed dismally. There are so many do-betters here. Please let us not have another High-Level Panel on this or a Commission of Inquiry. We need progress. Get the right advisors who love this country, who want to see it healed of the divisions of our past and who understand land and economics. Please stop the electioneering. Land is important. Lets think about the next 20 years and beyond, not just the next election. I see you are trying to clarify that Section 25 of the Constitution does not inhibit aggressive land reform, but your policy is still too vague. Its fuelling land invasions and political opportunism. Get the private sector involved. Get COGTA to draw up a charter with all municipalities, civil society and the private sector to address the apartheid spatial divides. Lets look at the urban issues separately from the agricultural and rural issues. Help us to find the right road in these complex issues. [½ point]
10. Our democracy has taken some serious knocks [0 points]
Civil society, brave journalists (like the SABC8 and AmaBunghane et al) and the judiciary have been making some valiant stands for our fragile and young democracy fighting for media freedom, the rule of law and independence of key state institutions. But its your turn now Mr President to defend our democracy. One of the things that worries me the most is this culture of violence and intimidation manifesting acutely in the politically motivated killings across our broken land but especially in KZN. Just last weekend we heard of another tragic round of thug killings of politicians in KZN and Mpumalanga. This is a massive concern. It is widespread. Mobilise a national crack unit to undo this web of deceit and bring down political gangsterism. Teach us how to raise just causes creatively and protest non-violently. Get the media on board. Show us how to accept defeat when we are out-debated or out-voted in a ward. Give our people freedom to campaign. Intimidation and intolerance are a real threat to democracy. Help us root them out of our culture.
If I add up your scores, I give you 6 out of 10. If that sounds harsh please remember that I am not rating you against your predecessor. Its time we raised the bar to a reasonable standard once again. South Africa deserves better. Mr President, with the right people around you, you can get to your 8/10 and even 10/10. You can do it, sir. After all this has only been your first 100 days.
Thuma Mina – here I am, send me.