Dear President Zuma …

President elect Jacob Zuma has his work cut out for him if responses from Mail & Guardian Online readers are anything to go by.

Readers responded in droves to its call for suggestions about what Zuma should tackle once he ascends to the presidency this Saturday.

What was remarkable about many of the suggestions was their tone. They offered congratulations before addressing Zuma as a man they apparently felt they knew personally.

Respondents said they were concerned about the education system, Zimbabwe and service delivery. Many wrote from the Eastern Cape, saying they had no houses, water and sanitation, or electricity.

Innocent Ndlela wrote that ”strategies are only achieved on paper” and that the wider public did not experience them.

”I need to see all heads of departments doing monthly visits to the state’s service areas, for example, hospitals, schools. The current state service in the hospitals is a true shock.”

With a cheerful ”Hi, Mr President,” Jeanette, a government employee, said she would like to see local government performance improved.

”The problem with the municipality is that our bosses hire people on the basis of friendship and family members, not experience, dedication or determination.”

Ntutuzelo Tsotsi said he was one of those South Africans ” who are hoping for a better life, as [has] been said for so many years”.

Tsotsi, from Transkei, pleaded with Zuma for development in rural areas and said the community had been promised electrification that had not materialised.

Vusumzi Vusie Mema, from Butterworth, said that since the arrival of democracy the former Transkei had been neglected and that many skilled people had moved to Gauteng or the Western Cape.

Mema suggested to Zuma that companies should be encouraged to invest in the Eastern Cape, to create jobs. He also said that the region has beautiful beaches, and called for resorts to be established to attract investment.

Johannes Lehutjo of Midrand, who addressed his letter to ”Baba Msholozi”, said he and his family had been on the waiting list for an RDP house since 1996.
”Your rise to the presidency has revived our hopes of at least enjoying one fruit of our democracy — [a] roof on top of our heads.”

He said it was time MPs put their makarapas [safety hats] on and started to deliver services to the ”people who braved the chilly weather, persevered the long queues to make their mark on the ballot papers”.

Bheki Mthethwa told Zuma to ”enjoy his presidency”, adding that he should concentrate on serving the people of South Africa and the world.

”I will be in Union Buildings on Saturday to see you with my eyes taking that oath. We will support you all the way. In fact one term may not be enough, but ANC will decide.”

Dineo Maserah thanked Zuma for lifting visa restrictions on Zimbabweans.

”No doubt many people like me who love to live in Zim but love to shop in South Africa are very ­grateful that we no longer have to go through the traumas of visa applications.

”I think you understand that if Zimbabwe comes right, it’s a boon not only for Zimbabweans but for South Africa, because you’ll no longer have a ‘Little Bulawayo’ in your backyard.”

The M&G will deliver the letters to the Union Buildings next week

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