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Walking in Mandela’s footsteps

George Curry | 1/6/2014, 11:20 a.m.
PRETORIA, South Africa – It’s not easy walking in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, the nation’s first democratically elected president. ...
George Curry

Last week, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the country’s largest trade union and a traditional ally of the ANC, called for Zuma to resign and announced that it will not support the ruling ANC in next year’s election.

The pressure for Zuma’s resignation continues to build.

According to a poll released Dec. 15 by the Sunday Times, slightly more than half (51 percent) of registered ANC members believe Zuma should resign from office as a result of a scandal involving his home in Nkandla.

Zuma’s critics acknowledge that the dissatisfaction with the president has as much to do with disappointment at the slow rate of progress over nearly 20 years of freedom, including the Mandela years, than Zuma individually.

A report last year by Statistics South Africa showed that over the past decade, annual earnings of Black households increased by 169 percent to 60,613 rand (approximately U.S. $6,644) while White household earnings over that same period rose by 88 percent to 365,134 rand (about U.S. $40,927).

Official unemployment is nearly 25 percent. If you add discouraged workers no longer actively seeking work, the figure is 33 percent.

The Economist noted, “… the gap between rich and poor is now wider than under apartheid.”

South Africa is learning the lesson that other countries around the world, including the U.S., are being forced to accept. It’s one thing to criticize government as an outsider, It’s quite another to assume power and make fundamental changes.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com.