Ginwala: I did not have only criticism for Zuma

Former parliamentary speaker Frene Ginwala did not only criticise President Jacob Zuma in an interview with a Sunday Times journalist, but also had some praise for him, she said in a letter to the newspaper on Monday.

Ginwala was responding to a report in the Sunday paper headlined, “Ginwala slates poor leadership”.

According to the paper, she “attacked Zuma’s decision to grant salary increases to government officials”.

Ginwala told the Sunday Times that the failure to reign in African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema and accepting salary hikes were signs of the poor quality of leadership shown by Zuma and his government.

Given the recession and high levels of unemployment, Zuma should not have granted salary increases to his officials, Ginwala told the newspaper..

“Look at the level of political leadership in this country. It’s not very good. How many of our leaders lead by example?”

This lack of leadership manifested itself in allowing Malema to insult “older people”, such as Mbeki, ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former education minister Naledi Pandor.

But Ginwala, in a letter to the Sunday Times that was distributed to Sapa on Monday, said her discussion with the journalist touched on many topics.

“The discussion with your reporter took place when we were in Tunisia at a meeting of Coda [Coalition for a Dialogue on Africa] which was discussing Africa’s Response to the Global Financial Crisis.

“I see no report of this meeting, though in response to a question your reporter replied that he was writing about the meeting,” wrote Ginwala.

However, in her letter, she does not deny referring to former president Nelson Mandela who reduced all government salaries for a year or former president Thabo Mbeki who did not take some of his increases.

“This was also in response to the discussions about the economies recommended in response to the financial crisis.”

Also, Ginwala said she did not have only criticism for Zuma.

“A report of the discussions at the meeting, had you carried any, would have included praise for President Zuma’s policies on HIV/Aids and in particular his statement that he had taken and would be taking an Aids test,” she said.—Sapa

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