President Jacob Zuma’s term in office has undoubtedly been marred by a string of controversies that came with a barrage of criticism from opposition parties baying for his blood and a public baffled by the countless storms besetting his presidency.
Whether it be his purported well-heeled friends, the Guptas, brazenly landing their chartered plan at a national key point, the Waterkloof Air Force Base, the Nkandla-gate debacle that has come to dominate our political discourse, or the ultimate intrigue – allegations of state capture.
Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga says Zuma doesn’t take criticism personally; in fact, he reckons ‘number one’ appreciates that it all comes with the “territory” of being the president of the country.
Ngqulunga also said Zuma hasn’t yet met with the Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela for an interview into allegations of state capture she lodged a couple of months ago. However, plans are in place for them to meet soon.
So how does Msholozi seemingly emerge unscathed from it all?
“The president is a politician … if you assume a position of leadership in a country such as South Africa, with a history with the challenges, it would be expected that there would be some criticism.” said Ngqulunga in a radio interview with Talk Radio 702.
He says Zuma is “an open person” who learns from his mistakes and has the country’s interests at heart when he carries out the responsibility of leading the nation.
“Part of it, it’s personal, but we have to understand it within the context of the position that he holds. I mean if he were just Mr Zuma sitting somewhere, people wouldn’t pay attention to him as a person.
“They pay attention because of the position that he holds. The most important thing for the president is that he does the right thing for the country. If there are some statements that get made, they are made in good faith, not because there is some malicious intent.
“He has a responsibility of leadership, he understands it that there are some people who are going to criticise him for some of the things that government does and he understands that completely. If there’s something to be learnt from the criticism, he is an open person. I mean, to learn from the mistakes that have been made and his important focus is to move SA forward,” he said.