Jacob Zuma was absent in times of need in his role as president.
When the #Feesmustfall campaign was at its peak, or when xenophobia threatened to really get out of hand, Zuma was always slow to act and address the crowds. It was felt that had he acted swiftly during these crises, the pain, anger and hatred may not have spilled over.
Had he showed he cared about the concerns of the people he was sworn in to serve, these violent protests would never have dragged on for as long as they did, and taken such serious turns.
So, President Cyril Ramaphosa dropping everything in the United Kingdom and returning to deal with issues in his backyard gives South Africans reason to be optimistic.
Ramaphosa, in London at the Commonwealth summit this week, arrived in the country yesterday to deal with violent protests that have rocked the North West capital Mahikeng, and now spread to the surrounding areas.
The president was locked in a meeting with the party’s provincial leaders and alliance partners last night in a bid to resolve the issues at hand.
Looting and destruction of property, and clashes between protesters and police have been the order of the day since Wednesday as demonstrators barricaded roads and set vehicles alight as they demanded the resignation of Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Neighbour Botswana shut some border crossings, while hospitals in the area were closed. The protesters are calling for jobs, housing and an end to corruption. A number of people have been arrested, while one person has died in the violent protests.
While there’s no immediate end in sight in the North West, at least a hands-on president bodes well for the people of South Africa.
Let’s hope a solution to the protests is found soon.