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Former Nedbank chairman takes on Zuma

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Former Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza has ridiculed South Africa’s political leadership and President Jacob Zuma, implying that they imposed political solutions on legal matters.

Khoza, who angered ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in 2012 for calling the country’s leadership a “strange breed”, was at it again on Thursday at the Nedgroup Investments Cash Solutions Treasurers Conference in Illovo, Joburg.

He was asked to imagine himself as president for a day.

Khoza admonished Zuma for firing “an experienced finance minister (Nhlanhla Nene) and for no apparent rationale or reason replacing him with a nondescript someone (Des van Rooyen) of questionable experience”.

The effect Nene’s firing had on the economy in December last year formed part of the discussions.

Khoza went for the jugular, saying he would start by resisting being a polygamist, a direct swipe at Zuma who has four wives.

“One of the tantalisingly attractive things about being president is that you can choose to be polygamous, and as a polygamous president, you come and have R9 million because you have whatever the number of wives,” he said to gasps from the audience.

This was a veiled reference to this week’s disclosures that the Police Ministry had splurged R9m on luxury vehicles for Zuma’s wives.

Khoza said there was little one could do positively in a day but there was a lot of negative things one could do.

“You have the opportunity to fire a highly qualified and commendable person.

“On a more positive note, you can replace that dubious someone with a proper appointment (Pravin Gordhan) and stem the tide. So, if you do that in one day, you will have done something pretty phenomenal.”

Khoza said he would pause, reflect, introspect and reconsider his sense of destiny. And from that he would sketch a vision.

“I would make sure I start by ensuring that I have a deep understanding and appreciation for the country’s constitution, read it from cover to cover and make it very much a part of my life theory.”

Khoza said many people could not remember a vision that was more than two lines, therefore, he would summarise the National Development Plan (NDP).

“The NDP as we have it now is about four pages of fantastic poetry and that, typically, people don’t remember. I would seriously consider changing the electoral system because that’s where the fundamental flaw is.

“This thing of appointing people at a whim because somebody has called me president is not being representative. In the electoral system that we have nobody is held accountable.”

Khoza advocated for a “more representative constituency-based electoral system” that would give the citizenry a greater say.

He said the legal and regulatory framework would need to be a lot more business friendly because the turnaround time for small business in particular was painful.

“It took me seven years to build a school because of the many parasites squatting on the system with arms stretched to receive something they did not earn.

“I would also make sure I polish my ability to read and learn figures.

“I would also consult or work with leaders from all walks of life, even philosophers who would help me understand issues of ethics and morality.

“I would respect and adhere to the sanctity of separation of powers between legislature, executive and the judiciary. I wouldn’t try solving legal issues with imposing political solutions.”

[Source: The Star]
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