ANC leadership race: The type of leader SA needs


Johannesburg – With the ANC’s 54th National Conference set to start on Saturday, economists have shared expectations of what characteristics would make for a good leader.

The six ANC candidates include Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu, Zweli Mkhize, Mathews Phosa and Baleka Mbete. But the race comes down to the two front runners, former African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Scenario planning and market expectations have priced in a positive outcome for the economy if Ramaphosa takes the crown, while other analysts believe a win for Dlamini-Zuma will lead to more of the same policies we have seen under President Jacob Zuma.

“A win for Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma would be bad for economic prospects as there will be more of the same [policy]. Our best hope is if Cyril Ramaphosa is elected – it seems he would turn things around for the better,” said Professor Jannie Rossouw, head of the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences.

He explained that a win for Dlamini-Zuma would result in a negative market reaction.

One of the priorities of the next ANC leader, according to Rossouw, is to root out corruption. “The next leader must act decisively against corruption and charges must be brought.”

Rossouw said this should not only apply to government, but the private sector as well. “If corruption in Steinhoff is identified, then the former CEO Markus Jooste should also be charged,” he emphasised.

Rossouw believes the biggest challenge following the ANC conference is to ensure that national elections in 2019 remain free and fair. “President Jacob Zuma must not also steal election results from under our noses in 2019.”

But economic strategist at Argon Asset Management Thabi Leoka believes it’s not about who wins, but rather whether the candidate will implement policy.

The winning candidate should be bold and able to take tough decisions, “even if it does not please everyone”, said Leoka.

“[It should be] someone who puts the country first and not the party first. Historically we see if you put a particular party first, it leads to bad decisions and the inability to do anything,” she said.

The next leader should be able to understand South Africa’s “multiple” problems and solve them quickly.

Speaking on transformation in particular, Leoka said the next leader should know how best to transform the country without damaging the good which has already been achieved.

Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa is of the view that “ethical and moral” leadership is needed.

“We will need a leader who will prioritise the interests of our people and place politics and politicking on the back burner.

“The leader will also need to prioritise good governance and restore confidence in state institutions,” he highlighted.

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