Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
One consequence of such conspiracies and ructions, and the preoccupation with pure politics that they cause, is that a gap has opened up between the effective and the ceremonial parts of the Presidency. Mbeki and his crew used to form a bridge between policy and politics. Under Zuma, the practical and the symbolic aspects of the office have become increasingly divorced. The Presidency is in danger of becoming a symbolic institution, dedicated to projecting an image of a beloved national leader and obsessed with how the world looks rather than with how it is. If this continues, its practical work will increasingly fall away. The planning commission will plan and the monitoring unit will monitor. But ministers and premiers will do their own thing, oblivious to one another and unable to work towards a wider national good. – Anthony Butler in Business DayBACK TO TOP