Johannesburg - Failure to reign in ANCYL leader Julius Malema and accepting salary hikes are signs of the poor quality of leadership shown by President Jacob Zuma and his government, Frene Ginwala has told the Sunday Times.
Given the recession and high levels of unemployment, Zuma should not have granted salary increases to his officials, the former National Assembly speaker told the newspaper in an interview.
"Look at the level of political leadership in this country. It's not very good. How many of our leaders lead by example?"
In 1995 former president Nelson Mandela announced salary cuts in his administration, and, more recently Thabo Mbeki refused for years to take salary increases when he was head of state.
This lack of leadership manifested itself in allowing ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to insult "older people", such as Mbeki, ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former education minister Naledi Pandor.
"When he (Malema) was speaking the way he was, a number of people stopped me in the street and said: 'How do you allow that boy to speak to elders in this way?'
"If he was engaging in political debate in the national executive committee, no one expects him not to speak his mind. But publicly... you could still put the ideas across with some respect for your elders. Now that is where we are running ourselves down," the paper quoted her as saying.
Following the storm around the appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions, she said she "fully" stood by her report which was critical of Simelane's handling of Vusi Pikoli's suspension.