The easiest gauge of the performance of a South African leader is the rand, that bellwether of all things risky in the global sphere, and also of the political and economic climate in the country. On December 18 2007, when Jacob Zuma took over the presidency of the ANC, the rand traded at R6.90 to the dollar. Today, as delegates decide on the party's leader for the next five to 10 years, it trades about 94% weaker, at R13.41, not far off its weakest level on record. Now it's only fair that I compare Zuma's performance with that of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, who over his decade in power saw the rand weaken 42%, a record muddied by the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Bros, which triggered a global recession. It was a recession that inaugurated the presidency of Zuma. I'm sure that Zuma's defenders will this weekend be arguing that the economic gloom that has clouded the country for more than half his term has not been of his doing. Global factors have all converged to depress ...

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