Jacob Zuma answers questions during an on-air news conference in Johannesburg in May 2006 in this file picture. Zuma, in a news conference a day after being acquitted of rape, apologised for having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman, but denied that he had harmed South Africa’s Aids prevention programme. Zuma was acquitted of raping a 31-year-old Aids activist and family friend.
DURBAN - AS CYRIL Ramaphosa ascended to the highest office in the land on Friday, a political analyst warned that South African presidents should not be given free rein of state resources.

Asked what lessons to take from the tenure of former president Jacob Zuma, Somadoda Fikeni, said: “Never defend an individual over the principles of the organisation. You would rather defend the principle of the organisation. The leaders must adjust to the principles of the organisation, not the other way around.”

Zuma, who resigned this week, had over the years survived eight motions of no confidence brought in Parliament by opposition parties.

Fikeni cautioned Ramaphosa, as he inherits a divided party, to unite the fractured ANC and desist from serving any of the factions that have nagged at the party.

There is speculation that Ramaphosa will soon reshuffle his Cabinet.

“Sometimes the people who are not in factions work harder and respect their work. Second, we must have a transparent mechanism of assessing performance, which must be publicised so that everyone can tell where a department or a minister is faltering.”

Fikeni also called for strengthening the capacity of the state-owned enterprises which have been crippled by corruption that has been unearthed by the portfolio committee on state capture in Parliament.

There should be no friction between any sitting president and the Chapter 9 institutions, he warned.

“This creates uncertainty regarding the role of such institutions. While these institutions are part of government, they are completely independent.”

Fikeni, who had been following the country’s presi- dents since Nelson Mandela in 1994, said he would remember Zuma by his singing, his charisma and the theatre that unfolded in Parliament.