February 10, 2008


Not a long walk, but a short step, to disaster (Feargal Keane, 10/02/2008, Daily Telegraph)

Two years ago [Jacob Zuma, next in line for South Africa's presidency] was acquitted of raping the daughter of a family friend. Mr Zuma told the court that he had unprotected sex with the woman despite knowing she was HIV positive. But he said that he had taken a shower afterwards to reduce his chances of infection. Mr Zuma is a former head of the country's anti-Aids campaign.

Yet to the poor in the townships, squatter camps and rural locations he is a hero. Zuma walks among them as one of their own. He is the unschooled Zulu boy who herded cattle on a hillside, the guerrilla fighter who served time with Mandela on Robben Island. Above all, he is the prophet of better days ahead. The promise rings louder than any doubts about his character.

The incumbent, President Thabo Mbeki, may have presided over steady economic growth, but that means little if you are among the millions without proper homes or work. A study by South Africa's Institute for Race Relations found that the number living on less than a dollar a day had more than doubled since the end of apartheid.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Mbeki has been a disaster, but no one will admit it. In addition to the terrible economics, South Africa is now probably the most dangerous non-terror 2nd world state. The violence is much worse than Latin America, and law enforcement has pretty much become a rear-guard action.

Posted by: ratbert at February 10, 2008 9:29 PM